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Musings about how organisations are constructed and how they operate

IT standards are failing SMEs

As published in Computer Weekly, a short piece by SBA's Steve Burrows about how the UK standards "industry" is failing the huge majority of businesses.

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IT Management for SMEs

As published in Computer Weekly, an article explaining why the IT management methodologies, standards, expectations and pressures placed upon organisations by the IT industry are inappropriate for many small and medium-sized enterprises, and what the focus of IT management should really be in those organisations. The text is reproduced below:

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Management Changes

A Generational Timebomb 

Most senior managers are aged. It goes with the territory, senior management / business leadership positions in large enterprises are rarely occupied by people under 45. Irrespective of talent it takes time to accumulate the experience necessary to repeatably make sound decisions, walk in the other mans shoes etc.  Over the past few centuries of industrial development this has been of minor significance, the pace of development and change is something that the more matured have been able to keep up with, but the rules of the game are changing.

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I sell Washing Machines - What do Your IT People Do?

Wearing another hat I am the IT Director of Vanilla Group, a UK-based organisation in the laundry equipment industry, including brands such as JLA, Circuit, Otex etc. When I attend business and social functions I am commonly asked "What do you do?", and I usually reply "I sell washing machines" (which enormously irritates my spouse!).

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Joined-up Enterprise - that's the CEO's job

In a recent article Neil Ward-Dutton reminds us that IT cannot change the nature of the business. Absolutely right. Business Engineers and Enterprise Architects like me can provide the vision, strategy, systems and processes to enable radical change in the way a business operates and functions, but of themselves the systems and the vision they are designed to implement are impotent. In order to change an organisation must desire to change, and this desire mush be created and driven down by the CEO. If the leader does not lead the people along the pathway to enlightenment the people wont get there by themselves. That's what leaders are for, we employ managers to look after the humdrum of daily business, consultants and strategists to shine the light on the pathway to improvement, but ultimately change comes from the top: no leadership = no change.

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Project Failures - I blame PRINCE !

In June the BCS published research work by Dr John McManus and Dr Trevor Wood-Harper into the nature and causes of IT Project Failure, failure being described as those projects that do not meet the original time, cost and (quality) requirements criteria.

Ultimately the authors attribute the major cause of project failure to inadequate pre-project due diligence - poor determination of requirements and poor design. This will come as no surprise to any student of IT projects. The major causes of IT project failure can be summarised as insufficient support from the business,  changes to the business requirements during the project, and under-estimate of project cost. All three are rife in IT projects and have well known causes:

Read more: Project Failures - I blame PRINCE !

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