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CIO Wisdom: Best Practices from Silicon Valley

CIO Wisdom: Best Practices from Silicon Valley

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Foreword by Dean Lane The research for this book began more than 30 years ago and is based on the experience, learning and real-world practices of more than 18 people who currently are, or have been, in the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). The combined knowledge, expertise and skills have been leveraged on individual chapters as well as groups of chapters to ensure practical information that can be easily understood. The concept or idea behind this written work began about a year ago, when I had cause to reflect on all of my experiences as a CIO (both good and bad). What were my successes, failures, frustrations and accomplishments? One of my revelations was that we (the IT industry) had not communicated clearly enough what it is that we do. Quite to the contrary, many lower level IT professionals cause greater frustration by promoting the thought that they are magicians who work on black boxes. To help bridge the chasm, I decided that a book, of CIOs, by CIOs and for CIOs was indicated. I first floated the concept past War Department 470-;the supreme authority in all the land ...my wife. She normally tells me to keep my day job and get back to work, but this time she thought it was a capital idea. I first presented my idea to several long time friends who also happen to be CIOs. I was cautiously optimistic that they would like what was then the young concept of a CIO book , but I did not expect the enthusiastic response that I received from my colleagues. The reception to the idea was overwhelming. In a matter of days, I had 15 stakeholders in this book. The collective brain always being better than a single unit, caused us to add and delete more topics/chapters. We also modified the definitions of some chapters and added, deleted and combined topics. Everyone signed up to write a chapter, and teams formed around certain topics that required greater attention. It had only been a matter of weeks and this quite knowledgeable group of people had taken over the book. I was relegated to the role of providing leadership and, of course, writing my own chapter. I knew this to be an honorary position ...you try to lead a group of 15+ CIOs and push them in a direction. First there was the discovery phase that each author went through to thoroughly understand their topic and outline what would be included, and what would not. The true leadership came from the sub-groups, like the Technical Architecture team who spent numerous hours together and with others to ensure a pure message. The collaborative effort was also demonstrated by those who wrote individual chapters like Types of CIOs , combining and ripping them apart before producing their final product. Importantly, where there was strengthening required, the smaller groups would combine chapters, as in Planning and Setting Priorities. Everyone completed their assignments to their committed dates. We only had one chapter actually fall off the map, due to a physical illness. The topic being too important to ignore, saw one author writing a solid six pages and working with other authors to incorporate it into the book. The story surrounding the book gets much more interesting. None of the authors were on a quest have their name(s) attached to the actual chapter that they wrote. This is because of the collaborative efforts associated with this book. Three people have served as lead authors reviewing and providing feedback on individual chapters. Many jumped in to help another author who got busy at work and might have missed a deadline. Still others have rewritten sections and incorporated them into other chapters. To give you the essence of these authors, is to tell the story of how we decided what to do with the proceeds from the book. I was sitting next to one of the authors at our regularly scheduled monthly meetings. He suggested that we create a scholarship fund for disadvantaged students who wanted to pursue a career in Information Technology. This was, perhaps, the most satisfying part of my experience with this book since every author, without exception, was quick to endorse this idea... without question. 100% of the proceeds that any author receives will be donated to the scholarship fund that we have established. This book has been a collaborative effort right from the beginning, when I sat down with a CIO to review a list of the top 20 topics/chapters, up to and including this forward... that I asked a different CIO to rewrite. Have no doubt that all members of the team, beginning with modifying the list of chapters, have had input the entire way, up to and including the Book Title and how the author's name would appear. CIOs more than any other executive cannot perform his/her job without being collaborative. This book was the epitome of a collaborative effort. The strength of this book is due to the ego-less collaboration of these CIOs, my colleagues, ...most importantly, my friends.