This is a Flickr badge showing public photos and videos from Chief Architect. Make your own badge here.

Search ...

Powered by Squarespace

Management Blog

Discussion on a variety of general IT management topics.


SMART Objectives Redefined...

It's almost Christmas, a new year is nearing.  For many this means that it is drawing close to goal setting time again.  Time for that tired piece of management advice about SMART goals to be trotted out once more.

Everyone's heart will sink... Staff will not want to over commit. Managers will push and cajole because there is pressure on them from above. The annual battle is on.

Can you get your bonus without effort? Will you know that, despite all your best efforts, your enthusiasm cannot get you there? Do your managers already know that they have missed their targets. Or have they managed to con their bosses into believing that the "stretch" target they have set has not already been achieved. Have they conned you into working hard for peanuts?

We need to get away from the counter productive nonsense of SMART goal setting.  It looks good on paper but completely fails to take into account human nature.  Emotion counts! Logic is virtually irrelevant!

Unfortunately it is not going away so let's redefine it!

Stretch your imagination - be creative, be wacky, be different, change the rules for yourself and your organisation, be innovative, organisation want a step change,  challenge everyone to be different, to take a different route, every organisation wants to improve, to make any significant change you have to do something different, forget incremental change, take a different direction.

Motivate your self - each day you should want to go a bit further towards your goals, you should want to meet and overcome any obstacle, your goals have got to be exciting, they inspire you, you should wake up in the night with fresh ideas on how to achieve them.

Alive with passion - get excited, make sure your goals will keep you excited, infect others with your excitement, don't worry if they look at you as if you are mad - you are! Your excitement will motivate others, it builds teams that endure and succeed.

Reach for the stars - set no limits, so what if it is impossible, JFK didn't settle for possible, Churchill didn't settle for possible, Gandhi didn't settle for possible, Mandela didn't settle for possible, why should you? If you get halfway to impossible, it will be 10 times further and more satisfying than your Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timebound goal.

Timeless - we have one life, lets keep on pushing, keep on going, keep on having fun, lets keep on driving to our great goals because we want to, never retire, never stop, just get another great goal.

Much SMARTer!


Shield yourself…

Some time ago, I was walking down a city street when a cyclist crossed a red light and ended up on the ground with a cab almost on top of him.  My first reaction was “serves him right, he shouldn’t have gone through a red light” – other people ran over to help him.

I walked on with a little shame at my reaction thinking “that wasn’t me", I am more sympathetic than that”.  I had been affected by the attitudes and behaviours of my current client who were highly competitive and aggressive.

What is worse is that I know how to avoid this, I was taught how to “shield” myself by these guys at Lightning Path.  They taught me a lot of other good stuff that is extremely useful to me as a consultant too.

Take a look at their site, they are friendly down to earth people, apparently they train the military too.


Soccer Team RACI…

Suppose a soccer team had a RACI matrix:






Preventing Goals

Goal Keeper
























This is clearly rubbish!  However you attempt to create a RACI matrix for a soccer team the result will be unusable.  Why is this?  Because it is a team sport. Everyone in the team needs to take responsibility for winning the game and doing whatever it takes in collaboration with other team members.

This means that strikers defend when necessary and defenders score if they can.  The key is collaboration between all parties in real time, rapid adjustment of roles and responsibilities to take account of new situations as they develop.  If a defender breaks through on run then a forward or midfielder should drop back to cover.  All this should be automatic and seamlessly executed.  The pinnacle of this was the Dutch total football – perhaps we can learn something from this in business…


“Failure is Wonderful”

I just read an article on the Smithsonian National Museum of American History website called “Failure is Wonderful”.  The article talks about a Creativity Round Table, held at Washington's Cosmos Club in late April.

There are several important points were made that is:

Laurie Kahn stated “Much of creativity depends on listening, asking the right questions, and being able to see things differently.”

Greg Mortenson replied "Listen with your heart and trust your intuition, not solely your logic.”

"When people ask you a question or ask how to solve a problem," Mortenson advised, "be hands-off so that they can figure it out using resources and thinking creatively."

Laurie Kahn asked, "How do you sustain creativity?" Mortenson's  experience taught him you need to "take care of yourself" and "be in touch with yourself".

"Don't just think outside of the box," Mortenson added, "live outside of the box. Take risks. Don't be afraid to fail. Failure is wonderful."


The Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming

While browsing Jeff Atwood's blog, I rediscovered something from my very early IT education, The Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming.  There is a downloadable copy of the commandments on TechRepublic.