Estimate rejection can be a good thing

Rui Silva has a short but sweet post on estimate rejection here.   I love his point that estimates must be “honest” because:

 When technical staff low-balls a project estimate, it denies the executives important information they need to make effective decisions, effectively undermining the executive’s decision-making authority. This results in diverting company resources from projects that are cost-justified to projects that aren’t cost-justified.

Hamel’s Stretch Goals for Management

I’m working through the pile of links I’ve accumulated.  Gary Hamel’s 25 Stretch Goals for Management caught my eye, if nothing else because I liked the challenge they attempt to address:

What is it about the way large organizations are currently managed that will most imperil their ability to thrive in the decades ahead; and given this, what fundamental changes will be needed in management principles, processes and practices?

Four goals caught my eye, the first three are pulled together by the last phrase “equip every employee to act in the interests of the entire enterprise”:

13. Develop holistic performance measures. Existing performance metrics must be recast, since they give inadequate attention to the critical human capabilities that drive success in the creative economy.
14. Stretch executive time frames and perspectives. Continue reading

Shiny, happy objects all around

My brother introduced me to the concept of the “shiny object” — the distracting, alluring thing on which the unwary fixate.  Seth Godin uses the concept to get us focused on our goals and milestones.

This post shows [again] why Seth is one of the wise marketing minds.  To the unwary, marketing is a kind of magic that can put a shine on anything or even polish a you know what

Many, of course, only sell that shine.  Seth reminds us to begin with the end in mind if we want it to be more than a veneer.

CIO job rotation and commitment to IT value

Great interview by Linda Tucci at searchCIO.com (here) with Richard R. “Rick” Roy, CIO at CUNA Mutual Group about his experiences as a line manager and how they’ve transformed his IT leadership approach.  This passage on a shared sense of urgency struck me:

I think the other thing in operations is the sense of urgency. In your customer service centers, the phone rings and you either answer it within your service standards or not; you either resolve the question within your service standards or not, or pass it on to another level of service.

IT operations has that flavor to it, but when you get over into the application development world, it typically doesn’t. They typically are working on projects that can span months, if not quarters, even years. Trying to drive that sense of urgency is probably the other big reminder for me as I have come back into the CIO seat.

Roy also hints at something PMOs need to do better: maintaining the same pace as the business.  A PMO needs processes that are nimble enough to keep up as the business responds to the market, competition, etc. by “adjusting and going perhaps in a different direction.”

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