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Digital Disruption and the Future of PPM

And just like that, six years flew by! Just kidding. I wrote a blurb for a team newsletter recently and thought I'd share it here.

PPM careers are entering a forced evolution: In 10 years, Gartner predicts traditional project management will be performed by artificial intelligence, smart machines and IoT - which sounds exciting unless traditional PM is what you do.

Within the IT industry, we refer to technology as having occurred in three “platforms” or eras: first, the emergence of mainframe computing in the 1950s, followed by client server, relational databases, local area networks and PCs beginning in the 80s, and a third era, beginning in the 2000s of cloud, mobile, social and big data technologies. (There’s no consensus yet on what defines “fourth platform” technology, but it’s likely to include artificial intelligence, grid, Internet of Things and other innovations TBD.)

As technology has evolved, our models of IT management and service delivery have shifted incrementally to…

Bill Gates and our future...

I recently saw film footage of Bill Gates back in 1990 explaining what we would come to know as The Internet. He knew. We didn't. But five years later? The whole world had changed. I finished grad school in Austria in 1995 and found my first job in Dallas on a website called occ.com. It later changed its name to monster.com.

As a child in the 70s, I read a storybook about a family in the future where the kids attended a virtual school. The book explained how the kids saw their teacher through a monitor which would swap over to show them their reading material and assignments. Sound familiar? It's how my niece did 7th grade last year.

Fortune has done a couple of pieces on Bill Gates' investment in online education - specifically in the Khan Academy. [See: "When Sal Khan met Bill Gates," October 2012, and "Bill Gates' Favorite Teacher," August 2010.] A century ago, high schools commonly offered rooms for boarding students. The proliferation of publi…

Why the yahoos at Yahoo are wrong...

The announcement this week by Yahoo CEO Marrisa Mayer that remote workers must now sit in a Yahoo office to work has unleashed a firestorm of criticism. [See the WSJ's "Yahoo Work from Home Edict Fires Debate".] On one hand, Mayer is correct that there are times when face to face interaction eases collaboration and certainly it's easier for Old School type managers to 'manage' employees they can observe. If the parking lot is full and everyone is busy typing something, then we must be productive, right?

Maybe not.

PRODUCTIVITY
Research continues to show that productivity increases when employees work from home. Offices are noisy and distracting with Bob's Monday morning quarterbacking and Sue's coordination of lunch plans. And - sorry but I chuckle pointing this out - isn't the face-time argument a moot point if your company has more than one office?!?!?!? Ultimately, employees will be collaborating via email, instant messages, audio and videoconf…

Why you got laid-off...

Lay-offs are so common in today's landscape that my children play pretend games where one kid is said to have been laid-off or another is the boss and gets to say, "You're fired!" Maybe we owe some of that to Donald Trump. Either way, it's curious vernacular for the kindergarten playground.

It got me thinking about the constant churn of cuts-and-more-cuts we have seen in the IT industry since the late 1990s and everything I have learned about who lands on The List and why. Here's what I can share with you...

First, we should clarify that getting laid off is not the same thing as getting fired. In a lay off, you receive a severance package and reassurances that it's not you, it's me (or rather us). When you're fired, your employment is abruptly terminated because your employer feels you did something really bad. Maybe you did, maybe you didn't, but either way, you got to walk out the door with the security guard.

I'm here to talk about lay…

Transformation: The ubiquitous, synergistic paradigm that IBM got right

Please note the title is intended with some humor... see last post.

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Within the world of IT services, the rampant explanation for HP's struggles to successfully integrate their Enterprise Services organization (EDS) into the corporate mother ship is that hardware companies just don't understand services. (See eWeek: Why Most of HP's layoffs will be on the Services side.) And yet... IBM did it.

IBM... Grumble. Grumble.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, in which case IBM's head is likely about to burst. When they launched IBM Global Services in the mid-90s, Big Blue completely redefined itself as a global provider of end-to-end IT solutions integrating hardware, software and services. Lickedy split, they were the global leader - and at consistently fat margins. It was a staggering hit for EDS, the company that invented the IT services industry. When HP bought EDS in 2008, bumping into the coveted Top 10 o…

Transformation: The ubiquitous, synergistic paradigm blah blah blah

Having grown up in the world of IT services, I regularly fall victim to the use of Dilbertisms (as captured here in Business Buzzword Bingo). In my world, you really can say transformation, ubiquitous, synergistic and paradigm in the same sentence without garnering a chuckle from your audience. Some of my favorite buzz words include:

Right size - fire a lot of people under the auspices of having more people than work to be doneBest shore - fire a lot of people in wealthy countries and replace them with a few people in poor countriesShift left - fire a lot of expensive, highly skilled employees and replace them with inexpensive, less skilled employees who are expected to cover the same workOptimize - cut costs (code for fire a lot of people)Leverage - do the same volume of work with less people but tell them it's easier now because everyone will do the same thing the same wayWhiteboard (used as a verb) - write down what you're thinking... on a white board
So when my friends ask …

Yes. It is a risk!

As a heavy user of LinkedIn, I was disappointed to read headlines yesterday about the Russian hacker who stole 6.5 million passwords. (See CNNMoney: More than 6 million LinkedIn passwords stolen.) The first thing I did was change my LinkedIn password. It took a whopping 1 minute of my time. Imagine my dismay today as I read this article on Mashable telling you about a secure Web site where you can enter your LinkedIn password to see whether it's one of the ones that was stolen. And if it was stolen? Then you should change your password.

Oh my gosh.
It reminds me of this funny Belgian guy named Jan that I worked with years ago. He explained to me once that he had saved the number in his cell phone that you call if you lose your cell phone. I pointed out that if he loses his cell phone he will have also lost the number he needs to call.
"Yes," he said, pausing to consider the dilemma. "It is a risk."
Poor Jan. He's probably testing his LinkedIn password on th…

Too Big?

Fortune's article on HP's downward spiral is entirely too long and occasionally naive - but all in all, it is gripping. (See Forbes: How HP Lost Its Way: The Inside Story.) I cannot attest to the degree its true because - and I know this comes as an enormous shock - I didn't work directly with Mark Hurd when I was there. What I do recall from my two years at HP is the bad behavior that comes with cuts that are issued sans strategie and go too deep. It's unfortunate the spiral has continued for so long because HP - at least the services division - is stacked with enormous talent. I would like to see HP succeed for their benefit - and because I enjoy the competition between the big players. They're not too big to fail - nor are they too big to succeed. HP would have an exceptional value proposition (the market leader in providing a full end-to-end spectrum of integrated hardware, software and services solutions) if only they could stop tripping over themselves.

Unlik…

CEOs win every time...

The New York Times posted an article tonight with a photo of JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon looking rather pensive and heavy-hearted (See NYT: JP Morgan's Trading Loss is Said to Rise 50%). It got me thinking about the value a CEO really brings to the helm of a large corporation.

I worked for a company years ago that hired a CEO because he was "turnkey"(I'm just using the word of choice from all the press releases) thus promising to steer us in the right direction as he had with his previous employer. He came in with a whirlwind of half-baked awkward changes, pressed for signature on a really large and entirely unprofitable contract, and saw the stock price plummet before leaving with $35 million in severance.

It raise a question: What do we pay CEOs to do that is so magical no one else can do it? Or do it for less? We're such sticklers for corporate austerity - with this one glaring exception.

A recent Forbes article asks the same question (See Forbes: Shareholders R…

Best practices in blogging... No, really.

I am regularly asked for advice on the how-to's of social media from people/companies who haven't stopped to consider their intentions or desired outcomes. Before I will tell them how to develop a blog or a tweet sheet, I walk them back to the beginning: "Why do you want to use these social media channels? What do you hope to accomplish?"

Most companies have jumped onto the social media bandwagon like middle America jumped on CBs in the 1970s. Somehow we were all convinced we couldn't drive cross country without having a superficial conversation with a trucker on the same interstate. Fads pass.

So, is social media a fad?

Nope - not at all because there's a commercial benefit to social media (unlike CBs) if used correctly. And that's the key. Social media is inherently interactive. Most people do what I am doing and send their words out in to the ether without taking the time to follow these best practices:
You have to blog regularly - probably daily - to g…

Getting what you want...

I loved this post about the importance of being a good negotiator. (See CIO: 7 Career Tips to Help You Negotiate Better.) I had a wonderful manager early in my corporate career who responded to my request for a raise by coaching me through a proper negotiation. When she offered me the job - my first out of graduate school - I was so excited that I screamed, "Yes!!!" into the phone before she could finish making the offer. So when I requested another raise within a year of receiving a 10% raise, she knew my negotiating skills needed help. She could have simply said, "No," and I would have dropped it. Instead, she prompted me to get online and do my research - go find out what someone with my qualifications is earning on average in roles similar to mine. It helped me understand the relative decency of my current salary and go back to her with a more structured, concrete request. I got a 25% increase that time.

Now, we all know it's easy to make big jumps early in…

CIOs don't use Social Media

This article about CIOs and Social Media is a bit of a misnomer. (See CIO: Getting New Value out of Social Media.) CIOs aren't big users of social media. Somewhere deep in the layers of management, you'll find users of social media. That will change as today's adopters age into corporate leadership roles, but for now, rest assured your CIO isn't tweeting or following anyone - it's someone in Marketing Communications. Disillusioned? Oh, grow up. We all know how that works.

When I built out the social media strategy for the largest division of a global Fortune 10 company, my biggest challenge was selling everyone on targeted interactions. People who don't understand social media think there is merit in noise: How many tweets did we send about our trade show booth? How many followers do we have on Facebook? How many clicks did we get on that blog post?

These measures have some validity, but if ever the maxim quality over quantity applies, it's here. Corporation…

Quit sucking up all the bandwidth, dude!

The report out this week on Procter & Gamble's decision to block access to bandwidth sucking sites such as Netflix and Pandora really cracked me up. (See CNN: A new reason to stay off the Web at work.) I don't know why P&G's decision is newsworthy. Everyone is trying to address this issue. Last year, a client and I were discussing some network performance issues. In evaluating response times across their network, they identified heavy bandwidth users and the sites they hit most - and it was all non-work related. The individual utilizing the most bandwidth viewed tens of thousands of YouTube videos in a matter of weeks. So while an employee on Facebook and Twitter may be inhibiting their own productivity, the dude streaming media is slowing the operations for thousands of colleagues and/or end customers. That's a real problem.

I have maintained for years that the advent of the internet and the increasing ubiquity of mobile technology would blur the lines between…