IT Best Practices

What Football and IT Organizations Have in Common

Is running an IT outfit really like leading a football team to Super Bowl glory? Of course it is! Larry Bonfante for CIO Insight is here for your half-time locker room pep talk.  The theme of this ‘fire and brimstone’ lecture: IT is a team sport.

My Football Analogy

There are 30 seconds left in the 4th quarter. The score is 24 to 28 and your team is 4th and goal. As a quarterback, do you try to maximize the glory by making a fancy pass play that could risk your team the game, or do you take the humble rout of letting a running back take it over the opposing team’s offensive line? It’s your call. But remember, a good quarterback (like a good CIO) does not play for attention and publicity; they play to win. And winning is the job of the team (in this case, an IT project team).  Like a winning football team, a successful IT outfit must play both offense and defense. Bonfante gives the play-by-play:

Defense is ensuring that you have the operational excellence required to develop the credibility needed to be viewed as a business partner. This, in turn, enables you to be proactive and play offense by taking prudent risks to drive the innovation engine and find ways to leverage information and technology to serve as a difference maker for your business.

Additionally, a good quarterback (err CIO) takes full accountability when things go wrong, and does not take all the credit when things go right. Recall what you might hear the QB say to the press after a big win: “Well, you know, I think we all played a great game today. The whole team was on fire…” etc. The point is that members of a great IT organization are willing to set aside personal glory, to ‘take one for the team’ as the saying goes.

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