IT management

I’ve enjoyed Robert Cringley’s recent series of blogicles on IT management — largely because it’s given me a greater understanding of a world that has, at various times, interested and frustrated me. He also draws a distinct line between management and leadership, two concepts that are often conflated but require very different skillsets.

If you get the chance, have a look at the three columns about the “Cousin IT of American industry”:

We serve the company but often don’t feel part of it. Certainly the value structures and lines of authority that function perfectly well for most of the rest of the company don’t work at all well for IT. We’re vital but at the same time, well, so different that it’s hard to imagine a CEO emerging from the IT ranks. It happens from time to time. Everyone points to John Reed, who rose from IT to CEO of Citicorp, but Reed was an exceptional case. He succeeded because his predecessor, Walter Wriston, had an unusual interest in IT and mentored Reed. Reed succeeded, too, because he didn’t really come from IT but from Data Processing, which was more hierarchical. And ultimately he didn’t succeed at all, by some measures, because John Reed was fired.

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