Archive for the ‘Career’ Category

Understanding the Technologies   Leave a comment

As you go along, you come across (and have to manage) “new” and different technologies. It may be data deplication and virtualisation. Or even stuff you haven’t managed before like ISA, VLAN’s and so on.

The thing with IT is that there’ll always be something new (even if its new from the perspective of something you haven’t managed, installed or advised on before). So as long as you have an open mind, a willingness to learn & a grasp on some fundamentals – it all should go well.

And so, there’s a new section in this blog – “Research and Understanding”. It covers some of the Information Technology infrastructure that I’ve had personal experience with.

Posted March 1, 2013 by terop in Career, Current Role, Research and Understanding

Books Read: “The Technology Management Handbook”, Dorf.   Leave a comment

In short, this is a major piece of work. It runs to around a thousand pages. It is quite comprehensive as it comprises essays by authors from a range of specialties.

The Sections are:
– The Technology Manager & The Modern Context
– Knowledge for The Technology Manager
– Tools for The Technology Manager
– Managing The Business Function
– Strategy of The Firm
– Core Relationships for The Technology Manager
– Global Business Management

What is of interest to me is the HR aspect of work. That is, the motivations we have and the design of our jobs.

The questions that must be asked concerning the motivation of technical professionals are:
– what energizes particular behaviours
– what directs or channels these behaviours
– how the behaviours are sustained/altered

Two things of note:
– we must create the kinds of job assignments, careers & work-related conditions that allow professionals to satisfy their individual needs
– the organization designer’s job is to select the least-managerially demanding organization that best fits the “design criteria” appropriate to the situation & strategy

Now, the theories behind all this are:
– cognitive models of motivation:
  – Maslow’s hierachy
  – Herzberg’s 2 factor
  – McClelland’s Theory of Needs
– motivation through design of work
  – equity theory
  – expectancy theory
– Hackman & Oldman suggest 3 task dimensions:
  – skill variety
  – task identity
  – task significance (important)
  – also: autonomy, feedback (weak in IT)
– socio-technical model of job design means that team covers breadth/depth/height of the work rather than individuals:
  – depth of expertise
  – breadth of functional tasks
  – height of leadership activities
– importantly in all of this, the trust & confidence in manager is crucial

This tome certainly covers the full gamut of technology management issues. Issues such as:
– economics & finance
– marketing
– decision and simulation methods
– and so on.

In all quite comprehensive. For me, its almost a must to have as a ready reference

What I would do – version 1.2!   Leave a comment

Now, five more posts on, here are updated action points.

1. Establish the IT Strategy, but as a “living document”
2. Expose people to ideas through networking, events, seminars, courses & the like
3. Provide ongoing professional development and mentoring opportunities to all
4. Setup a system that establishes, and rewards, an ongoing flow of innovation
5. Look for improvements in structural and social capital
6. Keep a forward looking “upgrade” agenda
7. Maintain contextual perspective (organisation, users, finance)

All in the context of servant leadership.

The quote which best summarises a valid, comtemporary & successful leadership style is this:

“Leadership is the discipline of deliberately exerting special influence within a group to move it toward goals of beneficial permanance that fulfill the group’s real needs.”

What I would do – version 1.1!   Leave a comment

So, what amendments to this list?

1. Establish the IT Strategy, but as a “living document”
2. Expose people to ideas through networking, events, seminars, courses & the like
3. Provide ongoing professional development and mentoring opportunities to all
4. Setup a system that establishes, and rewards, an ongoing flow of innovation
5. Keep a forward looking “upgrade” agenda
6. Maintain contextual perspective (organisation, users, finance)

All in the context of servant leadership.

The quote which best summarises a valid, comtemporary & successful leadership style is this:

“Leadership is the discipline of deliberately exerting special influence within a group to move it toward goals of beneficial permanance that fulfill the group’s real needs.”

Books Read: “Multiple Intelligences and Leadership”, Riggio, Murphy, Pirozzolo   Leave a comment

Excellent book on a key component of leadership: intelligence. But specifically looking at the different types of intelligence and their respective influences upon leadership effectiveness.

The domains of intelligence as discussed by the papers presented in this book are:
– analytical
– cognitive
– creative
– cultural
– emotional
– practical
– social

I found it not only intriguing, but also leading me to reflect upon, the notion of multiple types of intelligences. That we each hold a mix of intelligences, with degrees of sub-competencies, and that these factors greatly influence our leadership styles.

For example, successful organisational leadership requires a high degree of social intelligence. Social intelligence comprises the two competencies of social reasoning and relational skills. These social reasoning skills are:
– social perceptiveness
– social knowledge structures
– metacognitive reasoning
And the relational skills are:
– behavioural flexibility
– negotiation
– conflict management
– persuasion
– social influence

Which all leads to the thought that one’s social intelligence could be improved by targetting each of these skills.

Likewise with emotional intelligence. Although there are a couple of models that attempt to explain emotional intelligence (the ability model & the mixed model), they too are structured with competencies (ie, perception, empathy, self-awareness, etc).

Then there is the discussion regarding transformational leadership (as opposed to transactional leadership). Those leaders seen as transformational will have greater emotional and social intelligences than cogntive intelligence.

Another important factor covered by the book, whilst not exactly a leadership skill or competency, is motivation.

As the authors state at the end of the book: “successful leadership is extraordinarily complex, and we are only beginning to understand the implications of multiple intelligences for research on leadership, and for leadership selection, training and development”.

For me, understanding that there are numerous skills which ultimately combine to produce a capacity to lead implies that, to a degree, leaders can indeed be made.

Posted February 20, 2013 by terop in Books Read, Career, Directorship, Leadership

What I would do – version 1.0!   Leave a comment

After having read all of these books, although there are more reviews to come, what would I do given the opportunity?

1. Expose people to ideas through networking, events, seminars, courses & the like
2. Setup a system that establishes, and rewards, an ongoing flow of innovation
3. Keep a forward looking “upgrade” agenda
5. Maintain contextual perspective (organisation, users, finance)

All in the context of servant leadership (more posts to come on this topic).

The quote which best summarises a valid, comtemporary & successful leadership style is this:

“Leadership is the discipline of deliberately exerting special influence within a group to move it toward goals of beneficial permanance that fulfill the group’s real needs.”

LinkedIn no longer has a reading list   Leave a comment

Bit of a pity with the loss of this function. Never mind, I’ll add applicable books read here – including some thoughts on what the author(s) were trying to get across.

Go to the “Books Read” page for more.

Posted February 18, 2013 by terop in Books Read, Career, ICT Strategy

Another string to the bow – TOGAF   Leave a comment

Been and interesting few weeks. Normal life, plus study for TOGAF. Why the TOGAF qualification?

Well, I felt that I needed to add some formal IT architecture qualifications to “brand Paul Tero” (to use a current meme). Even though I’ve been developing IT architecture for the companies I’ve worked for over the years, it was time to make it formal. It was time to back my skills and capabilities with some theory, with a qualification.

The second and related question, was which Framework? Well, I soon discovered that the Mac vs Microsoft war is nothing! That there are loud proponents for Zachman, passionate TOGAF devotees, those for TEAF, and so on. So, with a bit of LinkedIn crowd-sourcing and some other research I decided on TOGAF.

So, what have I learnt? Lots. I bought the self-study guide, listened to some pod-casts, talked to a couple of people, passed the practice exams, and successfully passed the Foundation exam today. Through that process I began to understand methodologies, repositories, continnuums, building blocks and more. I found out about formalising the seperation between architecture domains (business, data, application and technology).

And so, with practice through real-world application, I believe that I’ll be able to realise better business outcomes.

Posted September 22, 2011 by terop in Architecture, Career, ICT Strategy

More Than Mere Maintenance   Leave a comment

So, what have I accomplished? What have I left behind? How have I improved the company’s infrastructure?

–       Designed, developed and deployed a national remote access standards (national, 35 sites, 1997)

–       Designed and deployed multiple Outlook-based workflow improvements (single office, 2000)

–       Designed and deployed a cascaded star topology for infrastructure services [AD, AV, Patch Management]   (national, 70 sites, 2,500 users, 2004)

–       Designed and deployed global AD architecture (international: 14 child domains across 3 continents, 2005)

–       Design and deploy infrastructure monitoring services including SNMP, Netflow, server service & availability monitoring (data centre & national WAN, 2005)

–       Designed and deployed gateway application security services (firewall, email filtering, web-proxy) (national, 2,500 users, 70 sites, 2006)

–       Together with vendor offerings and specialists, designed and deployed an MPLS-based national WAN as part of a migration to the new vendor. (2006)

–       Together with specialist vendors and suppliers, design  and build a data centre, including power, a/c and environmental monitoring (serving 70 sites, 2007)

–       Together with specialist vendor, designed & deployed a multi-site Cisco VoIP solution including call-centre, reception, call recording technologies (2008)

–       Designed & deployed LUN architecture, storage tiering, and relevant EMC & VMWare replication technology to achieve effective computing infrastructure (2 sites, ESX farm, 2009)

–       Designed & currently deploying a storage-based email archival and a business continuity and disaster recovery solution based on EMC (Avamar, SourceOne) and VMWare technology (2 sites, ESX farm, 2011)

And, how have I taken hold of industry solutions and applied them to the business that I work for in order to improve efficiency and costs?

–       RSA-based token for remote access to head office email and data

–       Designed and deployed a cascaded star topology for infrastructure services (including Active Directory domain consolidation) that improved network infrastructure management, improved support experience, reduced user computer problems and improved overall security

–       VoIP system implementation & expansion that included off-site call-centre capabilities, and future Territorial telephony consolidation and extension requirements

–       Designed & deployed multi-site wireless solutions with different security contexts based on the user’s profile

Finally, what about innovation?

–       Web-based co-ordination services (1997). The innovation was in deploying an extranet, and obtaining buy-in to facilitate the inter-agency service delivery co-ordination

–       Video-conferencing deployment (1998). The innovation was in the desktop-based solutions that interfaced with established external vendor technology

–       Multi-lingual Kiosk (1998). The innovation was in the ability of the kiosk to deliver service information, on customer premises and outreach events, in multiple local languages

–       A 3×3 server matrix for EDI exchange (2003). The innovation was in the application of deployment processes across presentation, business-logic and database layers for development, staging, and production servers

–       Equitrac-based print management solution (2011). The innovation is in the use of existing security cards to manage printer usage, and is in the use of the programs feature set to manage non-standard user conditions

A Previous Role – Building and Construction Industry Royal Commission   Leave a comment

Engaged to manage three IT staff to ensure high-availability and highly-secure facilities in a technical environment incorporating Windows 2000 desktop and clustered server operating systems on high-end HP servers providing MS-SQL and MS-Exchange applications, Cisco firewalls, access card systems and video surveillance equipment.

This was an interesting role. It was not so much technical as maintaining morale and the customer service focus of my staff as the commission wound down.

The Technical Side:

I was the third IT Manager of three over the life of this Royal Commission. And up to when I started, the staff had travelled all over the country. They had set up the “mobile” hearings court in all major capital cities and some major regional centres. They had been dealing with mainly with lawyers, and other high-powered individuals. The systems we managed were fairly stable, but it did require a fair degree of knowledge, especially on my part, to ensure that the robustness and security of the systems were maintained.

And, as I was the last IT Manager, it fell to me to wind things down. To prepare the equipment for auction, to ensure the security of archived data, and to forensically clean all hard drives that went out the door. I also had to maintain skeleton services as long as possible and to work with the Commissioner’s changing timetable to achieve all of these things.

The People Side:

Putting this phase of the commission into a human context, you realise that a range of emotions and motivations will come to the fore.

There was handling of my people’s responses as our internal customers started treating them unprofessionally. There was interviewing for replacement team members as people left. There was the maintenance of motivation of my team members.

’twas a time of learning!

Posted February 21, 2011 by terop in Career, Firewall, Microsoft, Network, Previous Role, Team Management