Icy determination to control

Icy determination to control

I am struggling through Minkin’s “The Blair Supremacy”, and have come across Eric Shaw’s reviews, which I plan to skim through today, but on the first page, Shaw states,

Minkin locates the origins of Blairite managerial thinking in the formative historical experience of its central protagonists, the internal strife that tore the party apart in the early 1980s. Blair, Brown and their allies were resolved to end what they saw as the party’s ‘dangerous proclivity to public exhibitions of internal conflict’ (p.131). Obsessed by what they saw as the party’s ‘lurch into extremism’ ‘New Labour’ was driven, Minkin cites one minister as saying, by ‘an icy determination that it was not going to happen again’ (p.130). Hence the core New Labour principle of party management: an electable party was one that was tightly managed and regulated.

Eric Shaw – The Blair Supremacy: A study in the politics of Labour’s party management

Looking at the disgraceful shenanigans going on at the top of today’s Labour Party, it’s clear we’ve been here before, although the New Labour project persuaded the Party to turn off it’s democracy; it didn’t impose it. Is this another example of “History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce”?

You might look at New Labour and Party Management, on my wiki, where I host and comment on Emmanuelle Avril’s paper …

Can’t make it up

Can’t make it up

A note on LinkedIn on why managements need IT usage policies to prove their compliance and to act legally and fairly towards their employees. I suggest that ISO27001 is useful as a technical standard and COBIT as an organisational one.

This was written in the light of a couple of cases I had to deal with as an accompanying rep. or as an advisor.

You can’t claim that users are not performing if you can’t prove the IT systems work as documented. You can’t pursue a conduct disciplinary against people operating a policy. You can’t fulfil FOI or SAR requests if the data retention policy is suspect. You can’t be sure that corruption has not occurred if there is inadequate segregation of duties.

Having policy will help the organisation answer the following questions. Is our software supported?  Why and how was that data deleted? What should be logged? Who has permission to read, amend and run these programs and/or this data? Are our vendors signed up to our IT security goals? Why do you not know this?

This is all defined in these standards, and the GDPR makes certification to good practice evidence of good will. ISO27001 and COBIT are the big boys in town to prove technical and organisational protection.

You can’t make it up anymore. …

Theory matters!

Theory matters!

I have just posted a blog on linkedin about business and IT strategy.  I say a bit more here! This was provoked because I was doing some research for a job application which involves IT strategy. I was considering the alignment of business strategy with that of the IT department and what I might say. I outlined three models, although they were all developed a while ago, I think they all have relevance today. The three models address business strategy, software portfolio management and architectural pattern selection. Business strategy should drive portfolio and project management choices. While business strategy will outline how to do what must be done, it also defines what will not be done.  Portfolio management determines the allocation of development funding, priority, maintenance funding, project risk appetite, people skills, project governance and software sourcing policy and as result of choices made, one can select the appropriate platform super architectures, of which you may need more than one. I conclude that theory matters. See more below/overleaf … …

Hiring Smart

This passed me by on my LinkedIn feed. They quote Steve Jobs as saying something allegedly wise against micro-management.

I wonder when he said it because I remember saying something similar in the 1990’s (while Jobs was at Next). It’s just as well that I wasn’t blogging or asserting copyright, although I might be richer than I am if I had. (It is however, merely a corollary of the “Theory X, Theory Y” model which was first stated in the “Human Side of Enterprise” by Douglas McGregor, published in 1960, which I commented on here …. , I also comment here … and also here … ) So even I was a bit late.

I was hugely amused by the comment suggesting that Jobs didn’t actually pursue this strategy! …

Abolish Performance Reviews

I recieved in my inbox an article on Adobe’s experience on abolishing their annual appraisal process. One reason was cost, they calculated it took the equivalent of 40 FTEs to run the process which illustrates the distraction of management time. The article quotes quality guru W. Edwards Deming who says,

It nourishes short-term performance, annihilates long-term planning, builds fear, demolishes teamwork, nourishes rivalry and politics.”

They replaced their previous stack ranking system with a more flexible and empowered system, divorcing formal performance from salary/bonus decisions.

It proved to be more popular with managers and staff, with one employee reporting

… that a feeling of relief has spread throughout the company because the old annual review system was “a soul-less and soul crushing exercise.”

One side effect was that involuntary terminations increased but voluntary terminations reduced, It ought to be a happier place to work. …

What management values

This is a pointer to an article on my sun/oracle blog, originally called Geeks & Suits. A you can see, I have changed the title. I made a video with the Sun’s EMEA head of pre-sales together with a Chris Gerhard. I used my and Chris’s dress code as an excuse to segue onto the dichotomy of style, knowledge and power in modern business. The original article is not well written. I was able to quote a recent poll in Management Today and reviews of Nick Carr’s “IT doesn’t matter”, both suggesting that the tradition that management values …. itself has and will continue. This means that in a modern knowledge based business they will under value the geeks, those with the knowledge. …

Make it something interesting for a change

Is the Cluetrain Manifesto, “a spectre haunting the Internet?”  Some of it is very funny, some of it bloody obvious. Its only the retards that thought the ’80s would last forever and that Gordon Gecko was a philosopher that will find some of this hard or revolutionary – the fact it’s all in one place is very good though, and its clearly written in a language that “entrepreneurs” can get! …

Recruit & Retain

The Register posts an article today “Nicer bosses retain more (female) staff”. Here…. Lucy Sheriff writes, “The astonishing news that women don’t like to work with horrible managers, … will undoubtedly send shock waves throughout the HR sector industry.”. I’m sure it will, HR are usually the last to catch up. Interesting that people are looking for this now; also I’m sure that not wanting to work with horrible managers isn’t restricted to women. …