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Interesting and Useful Links Mon 30 Mar 09

UK prison IT: Massive and 'spectacular' failure on IT Project Failures - a good lesson we can all learn from.

Seven Years... on AbleBrains showing the right way to leave a company.

My first 100 days as a business analyst [guest post] on Bridging the Gap between Business and IT regarding lesson on how to succeed

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Trainers or Knowledge Facilitators? Wed 25 Mar 09

Changing Our Approach Can Make A Big Difference

Last week I was listening to a story on NPR and it caught my attention.  It was about the Washington, DC school district and the things they are doing to improve things.  What caught my attention was a quote for a principal about the attitude toward teaching, specifically, "I taught it, they didn't learn it, it's on them." 

I made a quick post on this and didn't think much more about it.  As sometimes happens I was surprised to find this little post got more attention than I expected.  And as also sometimes happens I received a comment that is better than the post itself.  The post was via Facebook from blog designer, Dave Weiss and that's what I'd like to discuss in this post.

First, it would be good if you read the post in question that generated the comment to put things in context.  Go ahead, it's a short post, it won't take long.  I'll wait here until you get back.

Continue reading "Trainers or Knowledge Facilitators?" »

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Interesting and Useful Links Mon 23 Mar 09

Don’t do more with less, do less with more on Net Objectives blog regarding applying the concepts of Lean as we try to get more efficient during these trying economic times.

What's the amount of information we really need? on the Thinking Faster blog regarding the wealth of information we have available to us and how we use it.

Tough Times Requires A Strong Dose of Common Sense by "Nomadic CIO" on CIO.com ragading the importance of the true basics you need to remember.

How CIOs should think about business value in the McKinsey Quarterly, a thought provoking article (note: registration may be required) 

[Update 3/24/2009 corrected the link to the "Don't do more with less, do less with more" post.  Thanks to @Fibol for the heads-up about the error]

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Fluid CSS With A Sticky Footer Fri 20 Mar 09

Adventures In Programming

The title makes this sound a lot more interesting than it really should be but does describes my latest adventure in programming.  You may have noticed that my blog has a new format primarily regarding how the main column appears.  It is now a variable width or "fluid" column that varies with the size of the browser window to maximize the viewable area.

Back at the beginning of February I rolled out a new blog format with slightly wider columns and different font to help improve the readability.  At that time I really wanted to have a variable or fluid main column that adjusted to the available screen resolution.  Unfortunately at that time I didn't have a clue on how to do that so I set the page width to 1360 pixels and left it at that.

Continue reading "Fluid CSS With A Sticky Footer" »

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'I taught it, they didn't learn it, it's on them' Thu 19 Mar 09

IT's attitude towards helping our users learn may need some re-thinking

I heard a great story on NPR yesterday, "D.C. Schools Chief Turns To Rookie Teacher Corps".  It's about Michelle Rhee, chancellor of the District of Columbia public schools and what she is doing to improve the schools there.  It's a great story and worth listening to.

What really caught my attention was a section where they talked about the attitude displayed by some teachers:

Continue reading "'I taught it, they didn't learn it, it's on them'" »

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Cheap Vs. Quality IT Wed 18 Mar 09

Companies won't buy the lowest-priced IT services if they don't deliver quality.

Information technology always focuses on cost reduction, perhaps because we're so good at it. But even now, when every company is focusing on reducing costs, our expertise in this area may not be enough. People will still consider outsourcing IT and want to reduce IT even if we are the low-cost source.

Companies grew and kept IT in-house, originally for cost, control and continuity matters and because "they know how we operate." For the longest time it has been, "Here's what we want done, go do it and keep the costs down."

Continue reading "Cheap Vs. Quality IT" »

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Useful and Interesting Links Mon 16 Mar 09

A couple of interesting links on the issue of business and IT alignment:

As always security expert, Bruce Schneier has an interesting topic IT Security: Blaming the Victim

A couple of interesting and fun links that don't have much to do directly with IT but still well worth a look.

Pretty neat work and it comes from a 15-year old student on Techucation.  Some 15-year old has a great future ahead of them.

The Jetpack: An Idea Whose Time Has Never Come, but Won't Go Awayon the online Wall Street Journal.  I don't know about you but I'd certainly love to have one.

[Update 3/17/09 corrected the link on Techucation - Thanks to @tiger_kat for letting me know.]

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Saying Yes Wed 11 Mar 09

Should we say Yes more often; or do we say Yes too often?

Graffiti_yes_andy_welshSeth Godin recently had a great blog post "Looking for yes" where he contrasted his experiences at the post office and Fedex.  The post office personnel consistently looked for reason why they couldn't accept his package for shipment while the Fedex personnel recognized each issue but then went on to figure out a way to solve with the aim of making sure they could ship the package.  It's an interesting perspective on customer service.

Godin went on to say "I don't think it should matter whether or not you're trying to make a profit. If you're out to provide a service, or organized to deliver a product, then look for a yes. At every interaction."

Continue reading "Saying Yes" »

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Interesting and Useful Links Mon 09 Mar 09

Content Filtering on CIO Corner regarding the various responsibilities of IT and others in the proper use of the Internet.

Templates: Helpful or Hostage on B2T Training, a brief discussion on how templates can help and also hurt in the Business Analyst role.

Customer Service and Twitter on Survival Strategies for Techies an interesting discussion on the possible use of Twitter for customer service

Looking for yeson Seth Godin's Blog regarding looking for how to make things work rather than for reasons why it can't work.  A great article.  I plan on publishing a post on this topic on Wednesday.

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IT Needs To Add Value Wed 04 Mar 09

Even in a downturn, there are things IT can do to create value at companies.

Last week my daughter Allison was home on spring break. Eager to leave behind cold, snowy Michigan for warm, sunny Houston, she e-mailed me the day before she came home. One of the things she mentioned was the airline boarding pass she had just printed out.

Boardingpass Unlike the previous boarding passes she has received, this one included some new things. On it was a list of local Houston events and the weather outlook for the next few days following her arrival. There were also some ads.

Allison wants to get into marketing and immediately saw the beauty of this. The airline took an unused asset (the blank two-thirds of the page) and converted it to something of value--an events list and weather forecast for the traveler and a source of ad revenue for the airline.

I found this use of technology utterly amazing. My amazement wasn't with the technology; that's pretty straightforward and relatively simple. Rather, my amazement had to do with the fact it took the airline so long to apply this simple use of technology to create value. It could have easily been done long ago but wasn't. Perhaps the airline just thought about this, or perhaps it saw a competing airline doing it. The fact remains: they failed to initially capitalize on technology to add value.

Continue reading "IT Needs To Add Value" »

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