Archive for category High Performing Teams

What sets you apart when it comes to delivering sustained results is not what you know but what you are capable to learn…

The challenge in staying current with Information Technology comes from how fast the industry continually changes.  Moore’s Law is often quoted “overall processing power for computers will double every two years” but I’ve found extreme evolutionary pace applies to application development as well. 

In my view the pace of change in software engineering is even more significant and harder to keep up with.  Processing power has focussed on doing the same thing faster, smaller and with greater power efficiency.  Software engineering has also invented completely new ways to design, develop, deliver and operate software.

Take Salesforce.com for example which I started working with in 2007.  Since then the platform has become more capable as significant new business functionality has been added three times a year.  Acquisitions like Heroku, Pardot and ExactTarget have broadened the definition of what “Salesforce” means.  Deep expertise across the full Salesforce suite becomes harder and harder to maintain.

What you need to know iStock_000014937781_Double 800x600Maintaining a high level of capability with software platforms like Salesforce means committing to a journey of continual learning and often progressive specialisation.

What I knew at the start of my career about Burroughs B6700 mainframes and PDP-11 mini-computers is now totally irrelevant.  What remains constantly valuable is knowing where and how to research and where and when to ask for help.

In September 2015 I’m off to Dreamforce in San Francisco which will be my fourth pilgrimage to what has become the largest annual IT conference on the planet.  Of course the networking and inspirational keynote speeches will be great, but I go primarily to learn and to absorb a vision of what is coming next.

Being part of the global Salesforce community is an exciting immersion in continual learning!

 

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The Art of Simplexity: Complexity without Complication

Businesses need more IT professionals who understand the art of simplexity!

This means the ability to differentiate between complex and complicated.

A good indicator of whether something is complex or complicated is whether it is easy to understand and untangle.  Consider the two images below:

  • knitting is complex, but disciplined, easy to understand, replicate, and untangle if you have to
     
  • an unravelled fishing line is complicated, undisciplined, hard to understand and untangle

Is your IT department serving up solutions which demonstrate simplexity?

If systems are hard to understand and costly to maintain then perhaps a new approach is needed.

Even large complex solutions can retain the creative simplicity and discipline necessary for them to be easily understand, replicated and reversed if needed.

Complex or complicated

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Do you hire labourers, craftsmen or artists?

He who works with his hands is a labourer;
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman;
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist

– St. Francis of Assissi

Makes me consider what skills I look for when hiring people to form a high performing team:

  • Can the applicant do the job?
  • Can the applicant think laterally when the job throws up unexpected challenges?
  • Will the applicant work with passion and a drive to deliver results which amaze customers?

I'd hire the artist every time:

Artist instrument maker iStock_000019603423_Large - 600w

The alternatives of both labourer and craftsman will still get the job done and may well deliver satisfying results, but probably won't deliver totally satisfying results that customers treasure and promote:

Labourer iStock_000029751392_Large 300wAn experienced Carpenter

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