May 272010

Company size: 600 employees and 4 offices in the United States
BM: What have been the keys to your success?

CIO: It helps that I came from a business applications background. I started here and not on the plumbing side. Naturally, I have had to deal with the core business requirements, and I have leveraged this into an ability to really drive home projects that are critical in nature. Before becoming the CIO here, I was a consultant and I simply seized an opportunity that presented itself to me. I don’t think that this opportunity to be the CIO of a 600 person company would have materialized if I didn’t have the major applications roll out success that I mentioned earlier.

I am big on ‘danger zone’ management. I want to know these resource constraints fast- so that I can staff and solve the problem before it ripples too deep into the project. A common problem that exists with many projects is when the vendor adds Project Management into their proposals, we as CIOs try to rip this out and say, “You can do this for free,” or “the engineers on site can do the PM’ing.” Internally this is a trap as well, since we can ask our technical resources to do Project Management work that they just are not going to do or are not going to do well. We are being asked to do the same number of projects with little changing on staffing. This makes it difficult. I am always interested in learning how Mid Market companies deal with this since I know that I am not alone.

Another factor that I have found very useful is the IT Steering Committee. The IT Steering Committee has been useful for me to educate and build consensus around IT initiatives. I have to really fight for consistency with having this meeting because it can be easy for others on the Exec Team (in particular the CEO) to let it fall off the schedule. He does realize the value of it, but I definitely need to be a squeaky wheel in regards to this.

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