I did say at some point that this was going to be a pretty mixed up blog didn't I? Well here is a book review, not that its too far away from being technical and, actually, I think its something that anybody working in a technical environment would do well reading it even if they have no management aspirations.
CIOs at Work (Ed Yourdon), is an opportunity to get an insight into how many influential CIOs got to where they are, what they believe are the good steps to take to get into that role, what its like once your there and what's key to delivering once you are in that role.
This is part of a series of three books (the others being Founders at work by Jessica Livingston and Coders at work by Peter Seibel) where a section of the technology workforce are interviewed. Ed Yourdon, internationally recognised expert in project management and the software field, is the person who takes us on this tour. An excellent choice as he is able to communicate equally with those that he is interviewing and get some amazing insights through just simple conversation. Each of the interviewees get asked the same questions, in generally the same order. This approach then allows us to see what the differences are in thoughts and processes between each person.
This is something that I have been interested in for many reasons. This first, running my own company, knowing what people have been through to get into these roles and what they are trying to achieve, their needs in that role, their expectations and where they think the industry is likely to move, can all help me develop my business to help us provide exactly what is expecting. At the end of the day the CIO is often the person who makes the final decision when it comes to hiring in external companies.
Another major reason is my own personal development. A lot of this comes from just reading about others and how they have defined themselves, got to where they are, achieved what they have. Through this book a lot of my personal believes for the work place appear to have been, or at this moment in time are possibly, the correct way of looking at things. The need to diversify as much as possible on your way up through the ranks so you get a very good understanding of how business work, form the front line support, sales, finance and HR, well before you even get near the technical departments. I feel that this idea is is particularly highlighted through comparing the interviews with Ashish Gupta (brought up straight through the company technical ranks) and Paul Strassmann (the first CIO in America) and all the others. Their views in many ways are so different to what all of the others are saying and they both appear to miss what many f the others have deemed as very important in the role. There also appears to be a common view on technology and how consumerism is changing the enterprise landscape, new cool things hit users before enterprise and then enterprise has to play catch up while being mindful of the business needs all when users just want to do things instantly in the way the do at home. Something I have been interested in, having been a security engineers for a few years. How is this idea of bring your own device managed with security of the business and the ever shifting point of location of security management. The final big piece of information that is constantly repeated is that you cannot standstill. To make no decision for the future is to immediately fail in your role.
If you have any interest in reaching the top of the technology tree or you just would like to see a potential view of the future this is certainly a book to read.