Mrs CleverWorkarounds – Skills and Competencies of Global Managers

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Hi everyone. Some light reading for the weekend 😉

This post is not authored by me (Paul). Instead, my one-and-only darling wife. Apart from being an all-round hottie, she has been studying a post-graduate business course at University. The content of this post is one of her papers that when I read it, found it to be a really excellent piece of work. Her lecturer agreed too – and awarded it a high distinction.

Now the reason that I am posting this to the CleverWorkarounds blog is she really did some serious research, and I ended up reading a lot of the material too. In fact, I used a lot of her reference material when I was writing the global strategy and technology, and “project fail…” series of posts. If you liked that stuff, you may find some stuff here you like also.

Note: If you want to see where our thinking has evolved in this area, I suggest you take a look at my book: The Heretics Guide to Management. That really nails the true skills one needs for global managers!

So without further adieu, I present to you her paper, examining what skills and competencies that global managers require to operate in an increasingly complex and dynamic global environment. Please let me know what you think of it.

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Opeth vs Tech.Ed – impossible dilemma!

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I think with some confidence that I am the only person in the world who has ever attempted to educate about SharePoint while using heavy metal (and my favourite band of the genre, Opeth) as a metaphor. Specifically, I used metal genres to explain the difference between collaborative document management and records management in relation to SharePoint.

Therefore, I feel that this blog is 5% Opeth and 95% SharePoint. 🙂

So I was well pleased to learn that Opeth is coming to town on September 2 and eagerly bought my tickets. But alas! Tech.Ed in Australia starts on September 2!

AAARRGH! What completely sucky timing!

I was really looking forward to Tech.Ed, specifically to catch up with some friends and finally meet some of the superstars of the SharePoint world in person. (I owe lots of beers to lots of people!)

So this is a real moral dilemma! Metal vs Microsoft?

tough choice! What would you choose? 🙂

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SharePoint development/deployment governance…

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My home-town compatriot Jeremy Thake has hit onto a governance topic that I think will turn into a very popular series once he is done with it (in committing to writing it, he will be a busy boy indeed for a while I suspect 🙂 ).

He has written a post on current methods and common issues of deployment of SharePoint customisations from dev to staging to prod, with particular reference to the current pain associated with iterative development and deployment.

The state of play in this area out in SharePoint land is not the best, due to a wide variety of factors and Jeremy sums it up very well.

Certainly, there are some extremely annoying architectural quirks. Back when I did the branding series I encountered some, but Jeremy has hit some nastier ones than what I found.

Anyway, take a look at his post – its a good read.

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Community service request – thesis guy…

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(cough)

Can the person who left a message on my plugoo chat window in relation to their thesis on SharePoint project failure please contact me again? You were gone by the time I saw the message and I’d very much like to learn more of your take on it all.

For the other two thousand or so people, sorry to bother you 🙂

Paul

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Why do SharePoint Projects Fail? – Part 7

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Hi all

Welcome to the 7th post on this series delving into the murky depths of SharePoint project failure. I’m sure that even if you haven’t used SharePoint, or been involved in a SharePoint project, most will have experiences of being sore and sorry from a project gone bad and the content presented in this series thus far has been somewhat familiar.

Speaking of sore and sorry, I am writing this post days after buying the kids a Nintendo Wii. I’m not a geek-toy kind of guy, so I’m usually a little behind when it comes to consumer gadgets, but what a brilliant product it is. I am completely addicted to Wii Sports (especially the tennis and baseball), but after two days, I am feeling muscle ache like I have never felt before. I can barely move!

So I’d better stop playing that damn game and get back to business. In the unlikely event that you are hitting article seven for the first time, I suggest you go back and read this series from the start. You will learn all about tequila slammers, why Microsoft is like Britney Spears, Bill Gates selling SharePoint to Sergei Brin and the wonderful land of chocolate where projects never fail.

More recently, we targeted the infrastructure and development geeks in posts five and six. Now it’s time to cast our lens over the guys who control the budgets and get paid way more than you and I. So of course it is the project sponsor and senior management in general 🙂

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"Train the Trainer"

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Sorry about the lack of posts, but I’m am right into the middle of a 5 day course called “Train the Trainer” which is run by the Australian Institute of Management. This course, among other things, will qualify me as a Microsoft Certified Trainer, so if you feel like flying me somewhere nice in the world for a custom tailored course, I’m sure that something could be arranged 🙂

Seriously though, this course is right outside my normal comfort zone in relation to subject matter and discipline, it is harder work that I expected and this entire week really is a write-off in relation to work activities, blogging and the like.

But, it has really opened my eyes actually, to how adults learn, and the huge difference in approach from the relatively easy task of writing educational blogs like this one, to taking the material, distilling it and turning it into learning outcomes that adhere to various key principles of adult learning. Just to produce a 20 minute lesson for tomorrow has taken me three freakin’ hours! (with practice of course, it gets faster)

But more importantly, what is a “learning outcome”? Funnily enough it defines “what a successful learner will be able to do at the end of a session.”

They stress that this outcome are defined so that the aims are concrete and measurable.

If you have read the “project failure…” series, ROI, or the organisational maturity posts, you will see a parallel here. Seems that even to teach a concept, you need to start out with an outcome that can be quantified, so you know if you have achieved your goal as a trainer.

So with the current SharePoint projects that you are currently working on, can you articulate what your outcomes are? Are they measurable?

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A critique of the CMS Watch SharePoint Report

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June 30 is the end of the financial year here in Australia, and it has become very busy for me, which is rather annoying as it distracts me from advancing my evil plans for world domination (oh and blogging too).

It seems IT departments are realising they still have some budget left, and of course well all know the prevailing wisdom that you want the same or bigger budget next year, you had better spend all of this year’s budget. So what better thing to do with that spare cash is to put in SharePoint, eh?

Unfortunately for me, I have been deep in SharePoint related proposals and tender responses that are motivated somewhat by budget spend. Thus I am dealing with questions like the obvious “how much does it cost” and “how long will it take”, without any knowledge of how the organisation sees SharePoint fitting into their circumstances. I think if you have followed my project failure series thus far you will appreciate that I find these two questions in particular, a sign of pain to come by client and integrator alike.

So if you are an IT Manager and have some budget left over, here are my suggestions.

  1. Do a team building exercise (like paint-balling) for your staff, and just accept the fact that they will gang up on you and hunt you mercilessly for all the crap you have put them through
  2. Take them to the pub for the afternoon, put a bar tab on in recognition of their efforts
  3. Go and buy the CMS Watch SharePoint report.

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Why do SharePoint Projects Fail – Part 6

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Hi again and welcome to part 6 of my series on the factors of why SharePoint projects fail. Joel Oleson’s write-up a while back gave me 5 minutes of fame, but like any contestant on Big Brother, I’ve had my time in the limelight, been voted out of the house (as in Joel’s front page) and I’m back to being an ordinary citizen again.

If you have followed events thus far, I covered off some wicked problem theory, before delving into the bigger ticket items that contribute to SharePoint project failure. In the last post, we pointed our virtual microscope at the infrastructure aspects that can cause a SharePoint problem to go off the rails.

Now we turn our magnifying glass onto application development issues and therefore application developers. Ah, what fun you can have with application developer stereotyping, eh! A strange breed indeed they are. As a group they have had a significant contribution to the bitter and twisted individual that I am today.

The CleverWorkarounds tequila shot rating is back!

image imageimageimageimageimageimage for a project manager in denial 🙂

imagefor the rest of us!

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Name dropping :-)

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In 1998 I met Dr Brian May and got my Queen memorabilia autographed. At the time I thought that was pretty cool and I was the envy of all my Queen fan friends. But today I met an even bigger celebrity :-P, the one and only Joel Oleson who popped up on my plugoo window for a chat. If it wasn’t for the fact I was on the other side of the planet I’d have asked for his autograph too 🙂

He has made a new post, referring to my incomplete series on wicked SharePoint projects which was a real honour coming from someone of his caliber. For you cricket lovers, that’s like Andrew Symonds complimenting you on your batting skills 🙂

Anyway, it’s clear in the tone of his post, that Joel is enjoying the extra freedom he now has in being one of us now :-). I really liked the whole tone of his writing and as always, the indispensable content. Judging by the amount of traffic that is now hitting my site, he still has a fair amount of devoted followers!

Thanks mate, beers on me when you get to Perth!

Paul

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Globalisation, Strategy, Technology and Organisational Maturity

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This post is going a little off-track from the previous 5 posts around SharePoint project failure and I promise I will get back on track again soon. I felt that I had to talk about this topic while we are looking at the nature of project failure, wicked problems and SharePoint. Not sure if it is really a part 6 so I have made a new, separate interlude in between the project failure series. Why don’t you let me know, reader, if you think this belongs as a part of the “project failure” series!

My wife is studying a business course at university and I have been reading some of her reference books. One book was particularly good and really got me thinking about technology’s contribution to global organisations and how at this scale, most problems likely have a large degree of wickedness.

This edited book is called Global Strategies: Insights from the World’s Leading Thinkers (The Harvard Business Review Book Series), and it is well worth reading – even for you technical geeks.

What it does is look at the strategy, and execution of strategy, that has led some organisations to make the transition from regional to global success story at the expense of their competitors. We are talking corporations with tens of thousands of employees here too, and the CEO perspective really hits home to you – the sheer *mammoth scale* of it all.

Trying to change a culture at an organisation of 20 employees can be an insurmountable challenge. Try 45,000 employees across 15 subsidiaries in 10 different countries. (Makes a SharePoint rollout seem like a walk in the park.)

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