Divestiture means keep silent

Divestiture, Merge, acquisition… words that are added to some of the activities that a customer comment to you. You receive it as a business as usual, but you have to know that you probably are one of the guys that only have listened about it.

When this happens, the first thing that has to go to your mind is: be quiet.

The second thing is ask to the person that is commenting you the deal about how secret is the deal, about who you can talk to about it, and what is the communications plan to the managers, employees…

The third thing to do is to make calls and write e-mails. Make questions, retrieve information and always forget to explain why you are required to have that information. For sure, calls are better than e-mail.

The fourth thing is to try to limit the #people that knows the deal and it should be closed to zero.

Well, I am not discovering the wheel and I’m not inventing anything new, but these simple rules when they are broken, make the life of the people broking it impossible.

In the industry I work there are Non disclosure agreement, and if you fall in this trap, then you are out of the game.

Cobit, a way to track decisions

COBIT is seen by some IT people as a new trend and something we all should have in our organizations, bla, bla, bla…

But, who promotes COBIT or other governance models? The answer is easy: The business.

They are fed up of spending money on IT transformations, changes of provider, investments on pilots, and any other friki ideas the IT guys have.

Business knows the dependency they have of technology, IT is not a secondary department anymore, and this makes that the IT strategy is part of the governance model of the company.

Time to market cycles of products and solutions continue becoming shorter and shorter, so there’s no chance for spending resources and miss market opportunities. The company moves and IT has to follow the move.

And what about innovation and new fresh ideas? They have to be there, but in a governed way, supported by a strong business cases.

Governance models is not a trend, is a need for IT to really behave as a core unit of the company.

One of the main uses of Cobit is to track decisions and business cases. Business is not stupid and they now have a way to see changes of opinions.

For instance, IT decides to go with a provider, they spend million dollars on a transition and 1 year later they find that the new provider sucks.

They are willing to came back to their old provider, that is still there, and that suddenly it was not much bad as they initially described.

What does IT do? They are going to continue with the existing provider, or they will bet to go to another new provider, but they will never will come back to the old one, even if it makes sense.

Why? It’s a political decision, to comeback to the old provider means to recognizes to the business that they were wrong on the strategy; and this is something that is not going to happen.

Animal Trail, Sierra de las Nieves

Ayer estuve corriendo la modalidad corta de este trail (23 kms) que transcurre por la sierra de las Nieves, en Málaga.

El recorrido es precioso, casi todo el tiempo debajo de árboles y por senderos, genial para no iniciados, ya que las cuestas son cortas y el desnivel se reparte a lo largo de toda la prueba; no hay una gran subida o algo parecido.

El día acompañó con una mañana fresca de primavera sin nada de calor.

Distancia: 23.00 km
Tiempo: 2:51:54

Animal_trail_2014

Liar’s Poker

The right book for the right time and the right place. A book that is written in a very direct way with ironic sense of the descriptions and that keeps to engaged till the end, perfect for a 9 hours flight.

Liar's_Poker_by_Michael_Lewis,_W._W._Norton,_Oct_1989

Visiting NYC

Every time I visit NYC there are two things that are on my to-do list.

The first one is looking for shoes as here there are more options than at home.

The second one is to visit a book store and spend there at least 2 – 3 hours. In my bag there is always a reserved space for books and it is very difficult to me to make decisions about which books not to buy.

One book I was reviewing yesterday was “what is the color of your parachute?”. Now it’s in my mind, but yesterday it did not pass the last round.

The book basically talks about how to look for a new job.

One of the things I like from the book is the organized list of tips, and the concept of “the flower”, 7 concepts with the idea of having the main questions when looking for a change on a piece of paper. You basically have to reply to these questions in order of priority for you:

  1. What are your values, goals and purposes?
  2. What are the special knowledge you want to use on these organizations?
  3. What are your transferable skills that can be useful for them?
  4. The characteristics that the environment and the people should have.
  5. Essential working conditions.
  6. What is the level of responsibility and salary you want?
  7. Where do you want to work?

 

Tell me how you measure me and I’ll tell you how I behave

I have listened this sentence from a CIO with regards the behavior of his organization. He was complaining about how people forget to improve things and focus on do the things in the right way. In some way, when the individual targets are set, the people focus on them and forget about the rest of the things.

This is pure human nature, just a survival principle.

The situation commented was related to help-desk support where people have to attend customers. There basic ingredients of a successful service are the quality of the service and the time response. The right balance of these ingredients need to be adjusted to to fulfill the required volume of calls at the end of the week are key.

If you say to the people the target measures you have: number of calls for each week, or average seconds each call should have, etc you will find that so many of them will be able to reach the numbers in a very accurate way.

What to do then?

Define your metrics, define your targets, and measure.

Once a week do an extraction of the picture by person, and study the people who are out of the average:

  • Those who attended too many calls in a week.
  • Those who took so much time to attend the calls.
  • Those who took so much time to attend the next call (time between call).

Have a  1 to 1 meeting with the ones who were out of the picture (those who were out of the average figures you have measured).

And ask them what have been they doing last week, ask them about details of how the week was. Try to understand the reasons, do not accept excuses and repeat the message of the principles you have defined about “how to deliver an excellent service”.

And never, never: tell them how you are measuring them.

Open source Vs Proprietary software

I read some while ago this article about the use of “Open as a weapon“.

This article and its thoughts came to my mind during these last couple of weeks when there have been a couple of security issues happening more or less at the same time. I’m referring to Open SSL heart bleed vulnerability. and Microsoft IE security bug.

The question that came to my mind was the way of life of the organizations behind these pieces of software, and how that made the difference. There are 2 aspects to evaluate.

Time response, is the first one. Heart bleed was discovered and some hours later the solution was published for all the community. There were a quick reaction of the whole security chain in all organizations and in a couple of weeks, so many environments are safe against this bug. Microsoft took more time to find the solution for the issue.

First round: time response = OpenSource 1 – proprietary software 0.

Crisis outcome.

The reaction of the organizations related to Heart bleed was first to discredit open source; later when everybody understood that the solution was to make an update of the software because the solution was already there, nobody shouted anymore.

With the IE issue, the first reaction was, OK, let’s wait for the solution, Microsoft will find it. Once they waited enough time, some big companies that are so reluctant to promote changes, they were forced to announce that for extra-net navigation employees were able to install Firefox and Chrome!!!  The reason that always was given is: security is key for our organizations and we have to keep safe from software that does not guarantee the security. Suddenly these reluctant organizations change the direction of the things in a couple of weeks.

For me this change of direction is not a surprise, it was going to happen sooner or later. Again OpenSource have demonstrated to be an useful weapon.

Second round: crisis outcome = OpenSource 2 – proprietary software 0.