Pointers

Recommended Reading for Jan. 12

Recent articles and resources on technology management and government

IT governance explained

Source: NASA Goddard CIO Blog wiki.nasa.gov

Linda Cureton, chief information officer of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, makes a noble effort at giving meaningful shape to the usually squishy topic of information technology governance.

After giving a basic definition, with an assist from Wikipedia and another from Gartner’s Dave McClure, Cureton digs into U.S. colonized history to find an apt metaphor for explaining the importance of good governance.

The 13 original colonies “had IT security problems ... I mean, border-security challenges. One weak militia could jeopardize the security of them all,” Cureton writes.

“By creating a more perfect union which combined their resources for a common defense, they could be stronger and more secure.”

The consultant conundrum

Source: InfoWorld www.infoworld.com

The relationship between an outside consultant and in-house staff “easily becomes tense,” writes blogger/consultant Bob Lewis.

On the one hand, management often brings in consultants “to provide expertise that’s lacking” internally, he writes.

On the other hand, some consultants are wedded to methodologies that might not be a perfect fit for a given organization.

Lewis provides a few pointers on easing tensions and working out disagreements.

He also provides some perspective for employees who are feeling put upon: If the organization has hired a consultant, “it might be that your manager is trying to save you from yourself.”

The art of self-management

Source: BNet www.bnet.com

In his new book, excerpted here, consultant David Allen offers overloaded executives some advice on how to break their bad management habits and get focused on the work that matters.

Allen developed a “matrix of self-management,” based on two factors: perspective and control. Successful managers (and self-managers) retain a high-level perspective on the tasks at hand and avoid micromanaging.

“If you can maintain a sufficient level of each of these factors in yourself or in your organization, you probably won’t find much room for improvement,” Allen writes. “Your world will be in order and you’ll be focused exactly as you should be.”

A 2009 Web curriculum

Source: Network World www.networkworld.com

Network World writer (and former FCW staffer) Carolyn Duffy Marsan highlights nine Web sites that IT executives ought to study closely during the coming year.

Secunia.com, for example, aggregates information on security vulnerabilities from major vendors. The site also hosts a community of security experts willing and able to provide advice and assistance.

Yammer.com, meanwhile, is a microblogging service along the lines of Twitter but is designed for office workers rather than casual users.

“This list is not for geeks,” Marsan writes. “It’s for IT professionals of a certain age who don’t spend every waking hour online but need to keep up with the latest innovations on the Internet.”

For specific URLs, go to www.fcw.com/pointers

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