Index of Articles
Socializing a Concept (9/15/2012)
 as a Capability Enabler  (12/1/2012)
NCTA ThinkTech Conference (9/15/2011)
Leadership vs. Management (6/1/2011)
Project Management Objectives (3/21/2009)

Socializing a Concept (9/15/2012)

I read an article in InformationWeek by John McGreavy titled "The Problem With Social Collaboration On IT Projects".

The article caught my attention because it presented a perspective on two issues which I (and probably most other IT executives) are wrestling with right now:

Reading his article might provide a little background for my thought process after reading it.

Why is it that his opening statement ""Socialize" is one of the über-buzzwords of the day." almost stopped me in my tracks? Every management discipline has the concept as its foundation. From the Winning Ways Organizational Development teaching to the Project Management Institute (PMI) methodologies and almost every other process implementation or process improvement definition includes at its very foundation, the concept of Socializing or Getting Buy-in.

The truth is, that we really want this concept of socialization performed if the change will impact US, but don't see the value of this type of investment when the change will impact THEM.

Stop and think about what you would want to know, or what you would want your team to know, about the next change that will be implemented that affects you. It is most likely the exact same type of information that your business partners would want to know about the next change that you implement that will affect them.
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 as a Capability Enabler (1/1/2012)

For an organization to be successful, each functional unit has to be strategically aligned, and operate transparently as an integral whole. As individuals, we each have our own aptitudes and capabilities that should contribute to the goals of the organization. For efficient operations, we group like capabilities into teams, such as: The purpose of  is, and has always been, to improve efficiency of the other teams.

IN THE BEGINNING,  was purely a financial support organization. Computerized Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll and General Ledger were our original offerings. A computer can perform many of the manual tasks such as tracking invoices, sending statements, printing checks, etc. much more quickly than can be done by hand. But don't forget, that before the advent of computers, all of these tasks WERE performed by hand.

As the cost to acquire and operate computing platforms decreased, it became easier to justify using them to provide efficiencies in other functional areas.

When the functional areas wanted to introduce technology, it all too often became an emotional decision, rather than an efficiency decision. Spending $1,000,000 to save $100,000 per year was a bad decision, and the responsibility for that decision was transferred to  Management.

This transfer of responsibility for making the decisions about cost, risk, and management of technology separated the benefit from the cost, and eliminated the value. These decisions, and the costs associated with the decisions are the sole responsibility of the functional units implementing technology solutions to improve their efficiency.
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NCTA Think Tech (9/15/2011)

I had the opportunity to be a panelist at the North Carolina Technology Association's (NCTA) Think Tech conference in Charlotte, NC.

The topic we were discussing was Advanced Manufacturing.
I thought I would share both the questions and my responses.

  1. How is technology driving efficiency in manufacturing from process to product? (e.g. cite an examples of how you currently use technology to gain cost savings, improved process efficiency, and reduced waste)
    1. Sales data from Customer Point of Sale systems enabling better demand planning and more accurate purchasing decisions
    2. Better/more timely information about global inventory positions enabling better demand planning
    3. Data sharing enabling alternate production planning in advance of potential disasters (Hurricane Irene), as well as after an actual disaster, such as last year's flooding in Nashville
  2. How is technology improving visibility and analytics of data from the shop floor to the top floor? And, what impact is mobility having on the shop floor?
    Enabling integration of shop floor to back office systems. Using customer order information to directly control the operation of the shop floor equipment
  3. How are software, simulation and utilizing social environments helping companies/industries bring better products to market faster?
    As a consumer product industry, rapid customer feedback is probably the biggest recent innovation. Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) allow us to "play" with our customers and get instant response.
  4. At NCTA's 2010 Annual Meeting & Outlook for IT, Gartner called 3D printing one of the hottest tech trends. How has the emergence of 3D printing impacted product development and accelerated the innovation cycle?
  5. How is your company addressing the need for product and process traceability throughout the product lifecycle from Idea to Delivery?
  6. What are the key components to execute efficient and sustainable production operations?
    1. Commitment
    2. Measurable Processes
    3. Monitoring
    4. Manage Exceptions
    5. Integration of data from
  7. One of the strategic global trends is integrating the supply chain. How does manufacturing impact this trend? The supply chain starts with the vendor and ends with the customer. Manufacturing is the
  8. As consumers continue to be incentivized to move towards the purchase 'green' products and as 'green' anything grows in popularity....how are you contributing to sustainable manufacturing and sustainable innovation?
    Hydrogen fueled forklift trucks in our larger centers
    Energy efficient lighting
    Heavy use of recycled materials (primarily paper and plastic)
  9. What are the three top global trends that you see effecting manufacturers in the next2-5 years?
    Mobility

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Leadership vs. Management (6/1/2011)

At its simplest level, Management has to do with the hierarchical structure of an organization and your position within that organization.
Leadership has to do with your ability to motivate people to achieve your vision, and is completely independent of your position within an organization.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember, is that as your career advances, you need to continuously improve your capability in both areas.

Your ability to Manage, both people and organizations, includes skills such as:

Your Leadership skills however, will significantly impact your ability to execute your management duties. As a Leader, you will: As you look at those people that you consider to be great leaders, think about what they do that makes them appear that way, and try to emulate those behaviors.
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Project Management Objectives (3/21/2009)

The purpose of Project Management, as a discipline, is to provide a framework for enabling change in an organization.

The Project Manager is all too often expected to simply ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget and in scope. This will only work if the organization is willing to perform the overarching management processes such as ensuring the project will actually provide value for the organization, before the project is "turned over" to the PM. Entire process diagrams have been created that are intended to ensure that the PM performs these tasks consistently, and utilizes specific predefined processes for:

These frameworks become the totality of the work involved with a project, rather than the minimum standards.

The success or failure of a project is not just dependent on the final delivery or implementation. The requestor(s) perception may be that the project was a failure for a lot of subjective reasons, even if the product delivered met their original requirements. A project management methodology should heavily stress the importance of managing the user expectations during the entire life cycle of the project.

The ability to communicate effectively is the single most important trait a Project Manager can have.

The major obstacles to successfully completing any project include:


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