Management

Effectively using generalists

Bob Lewis has written an excellent column on the benefits of generalists (as opposed to specialists) for work that involves practices rather than processes. Bob's talking about software development, but the principles he espouses are broadly applicable to the modern enterprise:

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Chasing the Rabbit, Sharing the Knowledge

Bob Lewis is an IT columnist who I find consistently worth reading because of his clear and dispassionate insight into how organisational politics really works.

He is the ultimate pragmatist, with a low tolerance for cheap insights and bullshit. So I was pleased to see that he recently finished reading Chasing the Rabbit by Steven Spear and found it worthwhile.

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Telecommuting and remote offices

Is telecommuting a Knowledge Management issue? On the face of it, it would seem not. Surely it's just a technical question of plugging router A into slot B and typing password C.

But it's not that simple. As anyone who has ever worked for a multi-site company knows, those at the smaller, remote sites can easily feel excluded from the decision making process that goes on at Head Office. And really, what is telecommuting but an office of one?

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Business Basics Series

When I first switched from a technical role to a management-level position, I found myself struggling with an unfamiliar vocabulary. More unexpectedly, I found that I wasn't able to write documents in a way which was suitable for the purposes of upper-level management.

Strategies, policies and other management planning tools need to communicate more than just short-term implementation details, but clearly convey long-term implications and a sense of how the documents fit into the broader picture of the organisation.

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Creating a balanced scorecard

The Balanced Scorecard is a common tool used to measure the success of a strategy. It is normally a whole-of-organisation tool, but can also be used to articulate how progress will be measured for an individual strategy.

Balanced scorecards emphasize the idea that if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. A typical Balanced Scorecard consists of four stages:

  • articulating your strategy
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Writing a charter

A charter or terms of reference (TOR) document outlines a basis for the exercise of authority by a group. The group may be an existing team, or specially formed for the purposes of fulfilling the charter or TOR.

The two terms are often interchangeable. However, terms of reference is more appropriate for a group that is responsible for reviewing and monitoring, whereas a charter is more appropriate for a team charged with actually executing a project.

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Writing a policy document

Policy documents and strategy documents actually have a lot in common. They both express a desired state of the organisation.

However, where a strategy document recognises that an organisation's current state does not match the desired state and needs to be changed, a policy document expresses the desired state in terms of the status quo.

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Creating strategic initiatives

Okay, so you've written your strategy document and got it signed off by management. Now the hard work begins.

Each of your strategic goals will require one or more initiatives that move the organisation towards that goal. Each initiative needs to be described in enough detail that management feels comfortable that the initiative will (a) work and (b) help deliver the goal or goals in question.

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Writing a strategy document

Strategy documents need to outline two key things -- the objectives of the strategy, and the goals which are necessary to achieve these objectives.

Bob Lewis explained the difference between objectives and goals to me this way:

[An] objective [is] the point of it all, described from the perspective of business benefit. So if what's being proposed is a so-called CRM system (customer relationship management) the objective might be to increase revenue and decrease the cost of sales.

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.