In last week’s column I explained Root Cause Analysis as the process of trying to discover the source (or sources) of a specific problem. I then went on to say that in the four weeks that followed I would describe a specific root cause analysis in depth. This week I’ll be talking about the Five Whys.
The Five Whys, as described last week, begins by asking a question, such as “Why is the quality of our customer service declining?” Then, based on whatever answer you receive, you replay with the question read more
I was speaking to a group of recent college graduates who all had the good fortune of being hired into the same company’s IT consulting practice and were in the process of going through an intensive introductory training program. I would like to tell you what I told them.
I asked the class to make believe it was fifteen years in the future. Then, I pointed to a person on my left, I’ll call her Mary, and asked the group to make believe that she was now the Senior Vice President of North American operations for the company. I then pointed to a person on my right named John and said he had left the consulting firm about ten years ago and was now the CIO of a Fortune 500 company.
With this stage set, I turned to Mary and told her that John’s company was in the process of looking to hire a read more
When trying to correct an issue within your department, how do you know you are fixing the problem, and a symptom of the problem? This is the reason managers should do root cause analysis.
Root cause analysis is the process of trying to discover the source (or sources) of a specific problem. Using a simple example, say you see a puddle of water on your kitchen floor. How did it get there? Did someone spill it from their cup? Is the ceiling leaking? Is there a broking water pipe? You don’t have the time or read more
Two months ago I was hired as a Business Analyst and am new to the IT industry. What should I do now to help my career?
First, congratulations on your new job and welcome to the new and exciting world of high tech. It’s a great place to be and welcome to our industry. To your question, being so new to the computer industry, I suggest you begin by trying to learn as much as you can about
- Your company
- The industry in which your company competes
- The software development methodologies used within your IT shop
- . . . and the best practices related to the business analysis profession.
Now is your time to learn as much as you can about your profession. As you will see over time, this desire to learn will read more
When answering this question, are you listing statistical categories that you track on a weekly or monthly basis, or are you thinking off the top of your head based on items in your last status report?
As a department manager, there is enormous value in keeping hard statistics about your team’s work volume, work quality, client/customer satisfaction, and other related areas. In fact, keeping these weekly or monthly statistics has many advantages:
- Allows you to graph group productivity over time
- Can be used as a basis for status reporting
- Help find inefficiencies in internal processes
- Allow use of statistical measurements in performance reviews
- Can be used to create individual team member benchmarks for use within annual performance reviews.
- Can be used statistically to track increases in department workload which can help you justify staff increases
- Allows you to write status reports more easily by including calculated statistics rather than writing text
There are a number of methodologies, and tools that can help you define, read more
I had the good fortune this week of speaking with Rick Chapman. Our discussion centered around the use of SaaS within IT and its future effect on IT jobs. This is what he said . . .
Rick Chapman, the Founder of SaaS University, managing editor of Softletter and author of the just released book SaaS Entrepreneur: The Definitive Guide to Success in Your Cloud Application Business, and I spoke earlier this week. Our discussion centered around the use of SaaS within IT and its future effect on IT jobs.
Rick’s belief is read more
I have seen this phenomenon again, again, and again.
The way this works is that many people try to find work at a specific company because of its excellent reputation as a great place to work. Well known examples in my geographic area include the corporate headquarters of Staples Corporation, Bose Corporation, Boston Scientific, and Kronos. I know people who work at all of these companies and they love it. I also know people looking for new employment who have specifically targeted these companies because of read more
As IT professionals, it’s your job to provide help, support, and technical guidance to the organizations you serve. This is the nature of your chosen profession. Volunteering your time, expertise, and experience, and backing it up with financial donations to help our nation’s youth is a show of faith in our country and our children’s future.
Boston SIM (Society for Information Management), the Boston chapter of a national IT executive management organization, is a group providing this type of charitable support. Like read more
I’d like to start this week’s column by asking you a series of short, but thought provoking questions. Please note that each of these questions grows in complexity because each follow-on answer requires increased personal introspection.
- How would you describe your management style if you were on a job interview?
- How would the people who work for you describe your management style?
- Would your answer to question 1 be consistent with your staff’s answer to question 2?
- How do you know your answer to question 3 is accurate?
When reviewing the above questions, each of them looks at something different.
- The first question relates to how you perceive yourself.
- The second question relates to how you believe you are perceived by others.
- The third question assesses the consistency between how you view yourself versus how you are viewed by others as perceived by you.
- The forth and last question has a hidden agenda because the answer to this question has many facets, as described below.
The easy way to answer question four is to view it from only your perspective. That is to say, from only your view of the world. That said, the quality and accuracy of your answer will be mostly read more
I’m a business analyst and have been working on my company’s order entry systems for the last five years. I like my job, I like the people, I like the company and I even like the system, but I feel trapped and want to make a change. What should I do?
This is a situation that can happen to people in all professions. You are very good at what you do and do it for a long time. Then, after a few years, everyone starts thinking about you as singularly dimensional and expects that you will want to do that job forever. read more