26.11.14

Give this to your IT department: Five Ways IT can help teachers be more effective.

Let me start this post by stating that I am not a teacher. I am also not a geek in the traditional sense of the word. Now that I've discredited myself with both of the intended audiences of this post, let me explain why I might be qualified to give some advice in this area.

In my career I have worked to help organizations either start something big, or make big changes in how they do things. In the last 15 years, I have worked almost exclusively with educational institutions both as a consultant, and for the last 10 years leading their IT groups.
I have watched over the years as IT departments in partnership with vendors delivered educational technology “solutions” that were supposed to revolutionize the classroom and change the way learning happened. The long list of items included Learning Management Systems, Clickers, interactive whiteboards, laptops, tablets, document cameras, wireless networking, classroom management software, video conferencing, chat rooms, social media, etc., etc. etc. And while the promises (and budgets) were huge, the deliverables in terms of revolution were almost inconsequential.
What we did, was add complexity, frustration, and tremendous cost to the academic experience. While there were shining pockets of great technology implementation, as a whole we didn’t add any value or capacity to the teacher’s ability to do her or his job better.
Yet we in IT were undaunted, and were sure that we’d achieve results after the next silver bullet.
Does this sound familiar to you?

28.10.14

The Mobile Workplace: 5 Things to consider

Do you remember a time that when you made a phone call, you called a house instead of a person?  If you were a teenage boy you dreaded the thought of getting that young lady’s father on the phone. I have yet to experience that type of terror in my adult life, but I digress.

A little later on when home Internet became somewhat common, the ‘Internet’ was usually accessed on a computer set up in a corner of the family room.  One would ‘go’ to where the Internet was, and usually have to wait your turn to get online.

Nowadays, we don’t call houses, we call people. We don’t ‘go’ to the Internet, it’s in our pocket or purse and follows us around, and with the exception of a number of hotels I stayed at recently, is pretty much everywhere.

In my home, there are a number of devices that all play together well.  I can browse the Internet, control my thermostat, share media, print from the comfort of my couch while playing music wirelessly over Bluetooth.  We have ‘cut the cord’ on cable television and home phone services.  We just pay for Internet and our monthly communications bill in the house has dropped by over $100.
In my experience, the average technology in the workplace has lagged behind the features and functionality of consumer electronics due to a number of things including security, compliance, scalability and a number of other significant factors.

As you see below, I’m of the opinion that implementing a mobile strategy is not a choice, but something that needs to be on your organization’s project list.
Here are five things to consider.

21.7.14

Mileage may Vary: 5 Critical Things to Know about BYOD

If you are of my vintage, you may remember the old car ads from the 1970's that would create wanton lust for the latest iteration of two tons of steel, rubber and plastic from Detroit? Along with promises of freedom and admiration came the claim that this behemoth could subsist on a miniscule amount of gas. If you looked at the ad closely, you saw the simple disclaimer in micro font…'Mileage may vary.' In other words, don't hold your breath that you'll achieve anywhere near this fuel economy.

In my opinion, all the promises of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are much like the car ad.  Lots of efficiency promises, but you can be sure that 'Mileage may vary.'  There are some things you could consider that would go a long way toward better results when you implement a BYOD project at your organization. Here are five of them.

24.6.14

The Hitchhiker's Guide to BI and Analytics

As IT leaders, there usually comes a time when we are called to a meeting with the senior executive of the organization to discuss business analytics (BA) or business intelligence (BI). This usually occurs the week after said senior executive has been to a conference and saw a shiny dashboard with dials, graphs and 'drill down data.'

With the executive's face glowing, he or she says: "this shouldn't be hard, the speaker said [insert product name here] can connect to all our data and tell us what we need to know!" The glow soon fades when you have to explain the reality that the project may be a bit more complicated than that.

You would also be tempted to remind that same executive that you have been asking for funding for the BA/BI initiative outlined in your strategic plan, but you realize your timing might not be the most appropriate. You do have a BA/BI strategy, right? The dollar figure for your initiative was much higher than the cost of the 'dashboard' the executive was so dazzled by.  You have some work to do to bring reality into the conversation.

9.6.14

How not to Fail at Implementing Cloud Computing

Photo: www.flickr.com/photos/kwpashuk

Today’s IT environment is about anytime/anywhere access to practically anything on any device.  You can work from anywhere, and blend your professional, personal and private information into one seamless interface.  And the magic sauce that connects you and brings it all together is…. you know it… the ‘Cloud’.


At least that’s what the media and the vendor community would have us believe.

But we are IT people. We know better.  We know that you just can’t connect all the information together in a mishmash muddle and expect it to work.  Add onto that authentication, controlling access to sensitive or confidential data, compliance and privacy issues, never mind the terabytes of legacy systems that just do not talk to any other system and you know that the dream world described above is just that, a dream world.

We have launched ourselves on a crusade to educate the masses, to bring them to a realization of truth and restore control in our world.

The problem is that the people we support believe it’s real… and possible… and it’s your job be make it so.

Some of the people that believe it are also the ones who sign our paycheques.

So where does that leave you?

12.5.14

Five Ways IT can help teachers be more effective.

Image via: BusinessInsider.com
Let me start this post by stating that I am not a teacher. I am also not a geek in the traditional sense of the word. Now that I’ve discredited myself with both of the intended audiences of this post, let me explain why I might be qualified to give some advice in this area.
 
In my career I have worked to help organizations either start something big, or make big changes in how they do things. In the last 15 years, I have worked almost exclusively with educational institutions both as a consultant, and for the last 10 years leading their IT groups.
 
I have watched over the years as IT departments in partnership with vendors delivered educational technology “solutions” that were supposed to revolutionize the classroom and change the way learning happened. The long list of items included Learning Management Systems, Clickers, interactive whiteboards, laptops, tablets, document cameras, wireless networking, classroom management software, video conferencing, chat rooms, social media, etc., etc. etc. And while the promises (and budgets) were huge, the deliverables in terms of revolution were almost inconsequential.
 
What we did, was add complexity, frustration, and tremendous cost to the academic experience. While there were shining pockets of great technology implementation, as a whole we didn’t add any value or capacity to the teacher’s ability to do her or his job better.
 
Yet we in IT were undaunted, and were sure that we’d achieve results after the next silver bullet.
 
Does this sound familiar to you?

26.3.14

Storage and Stuff

Photo: http://funthingstodowhileyourewaiting.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/overpacked-car.jpg
Try and remember back to the day when you could fit all of your worldly goods into your car and you moved into your first apartment or non-parentally owned dwelling.  It was good to have all of that space for yourself and you could never imagine having enough stuff to fill it up.

As you progressed through life you started accumulating stuff.  And more stuff.  Pretty soon that dwelling was bursting at the seams with your stuff.  So rather than get rid of your stuff, you got a bigger place to store your stuff.

Then you had life events (marriage, children, pets, hobbies) that forced you to get more stuff, which filled up your dwelling even faster… so once again, rather than get rid of stuff, you get a bigger place to store your stuff.

9.1.14

Why the CES Matters to You.

It's that time of year again. When technical journalists flock to the warmer climates of Las Vegas to gorge on gadgets and hyperbole at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

While I have never been to this event (and have no immediate plans to start attending), I have developed an increased interest in CES, or more importantly, the resulting expectations around technology that it creates.

The line between personal and professional devices has blurred significantly in recent years, but if the trends that show themselves at CES this year are any indication, there is much for you to sit up and pay attention to. Here are a few things I've noticed so far.

6.12.13

Two Things You Can Learn From a Stupid Commercial

Image: Via YouTube
Years ago, there was a schmaltzy commercial on television where one person gnawing on a chocolate bar the size of a refrigerator collided into another person who happened to be eating straight from the largest jar of peanut butter you've ever seen.

Their serendipitous accident showed us unknowing masses how delightful the combination of peanut butter and chocolate could be, and that you could conveniently buy a pack of peanut butter cups rather than run around the town with a big jar of peanut butter hoping to bump into someone.

While I don’t for a moment believe that the commercial was ‘based on a true story’, I do see it having two important teachings for IT leaders.

24.10.13

You Had One Job...


Image Source: www.meonuk.com
I’m not sure if you are into memes, but there is one that pops up occasionally on my Facebook page that more often than not brings a chuckle.  It’s called “You had one job!” and is usually accompanied by a picture that shows something completely screwed up.  You can get a glimpse of this meme at www.hadonejob.com

If you clicked on the link, welcome back.  I’m sure you’ve enjoyed the site.  Now let’s get serious.

16.9.13

How to Schmooze (when you are a Raging Introverted CIO)

It’s conference season again.

As an IT leader you know that you need to get out of the office and get some professional development.  Regardless of the industry you are in, there are no shortage of great events that combine great speakers, relevant workshops, a chance to meet vendors, and hundreds if not thousands of delegates seeking to solve the same problems and who are faced with similar issues.
Image: MS Office Imagebank

For many IT leaders, therein lies the problem.

Not the workshops or the show… but the number of people they don’t know.  In a highly unscientific study mainly based on personal observation I would suggest that the majority of folks attending IT conferences as delegates are highly uncomfortable meeting new people and engaging in small talk, particularly if they have come on their own.

15.8.13

You’ve Done Your 4.1 Years… Now What?

We CIOs are known to be a mobile bunch. Gartner Research recently pegged the average tenure for a CIO to be 4.1 years.  At the end of this month, I celebrate my fourth anniversary in my current role.

According to Gartner, I should be primping my resume.

Image: MS Office Imagebank

But what if you don’t want to go anywhere?

How do you still add value to your organization?

You've picked all the low hanging fruit that generated great savings and by now you really should have lived through one total infrastructure lifecycle and four budget periods.


You are an active and fully participating member of the senior leadership team.

Your IT team has been restructured to meet the current needs and you’ve implemented Project

Portfolio Management and rapid application development tools.

You are fully up to date in all of your enterprise systems.

You've adjusted your Service Catalog to ensure your team is only working on things that differentiate or add value to your organization.  All other (critical but non-differentiating) services and systems have been outsourced or moved to SaaS, IaaS or PaaS.

Your customers, clients and team are (mostly) happy.

If you go by Gartner’s number, the next phase of CIO tenure is uncharted territory for many CIOs.  It would probably be easier to go to a new organization and start all over, but if you are up to the challenge, here are five things to think about:

1.  How’s it working for ya?

Go over the idealistic list of accomplishments I've just presented.  Are you missing a check box in any of them?  That would be a great place to start and ensure you've addressed all the big areas in your portfolio.

2.  Mind the Gap (between the data you input and the knowledge you extract)

Peter Drucker famously said “Work is easy. Just get the right information to the right people, at the right time.”  I don’t care how much you paid for your ERP software, there is a strong likelihood that there are areas where there would be huge benefits in better reporting, analytics, or BI tools.  No matter where you are, you will never be done in this area as long as you are the CIO.

3.  Never confuse motion with progress. Ensure you are doing the right things.

Being busy at the wrong things is as bad as doing nothing.  You are wasting the potential energy of your team.  This would be a good time to review your service catalog. Perhaps your team is busy on things that had an important reason a couple of years ago, but no longer are needed as things have changed.

4.  Define the future.

If you plan on staying on, then the five year plan you gave the hiring committee is almost ready to expire.  In any event, your five year plan is probably obsolete. Do you have the sequel ready?  Better yet, has your IT plan been fully integrated into your organization’s strategic plan?

5.  Is this the last stop? Planning a legacy.

Everybody has an end date.  Even you.

It doesn't matter if don't plan on leaving, you will still have to attend your farewell dinner at some point.

So what then?

Who takes your chair?

Believe it or not, this is as critical as almost anything else you do as CIO.  Who are you coaching / training / developing on your team?  Is there anyone who could take over for you?

What are the skills they need to develop?  How are they going to develop them?

If one or two names don’t immediately come to mind, then you’ve got some work to do.


There’s plenty of low-hanging fruit for a new CIO to deal with that have quick wins and very measurable results.  Developing the strategy for the second 4.1 years is the challenge.
If like me, you have decided to go for the ride… I wish you the best.

31.5.13

A Minute With Michael

What if you had an opportunity to speak directly to one of the most influential people in technology in the last 25 years?

If you had one minute to ask a question, or make a comment, what would you say?

I had such an opportunity to sit around a small conference table with Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers last evening.

As part of their 25th anniversary celebration, Dell Canada invited a dozen educational sector IT leaders from colleges, universities, and school boards. For reasons known only to higher powers, they invited me, opinions and all.

12.4.13

First Impressions: Microsoft Surface Pro

I have been intrigued by the MS Surface since they were first announced.  Being able to actually touch one at a Microsoft conference only added to the intrigue.

We are heavy adopters and integrators of Microsoft SharePoint and OneNote, so while the Surface RT model was sleek, I knew I needed to wait for the Surface Pro.

Yesterday, I broke down and bought one.

Here are my first impressions:

10.4.13

Sharpening the CIO Saw

You are a smart person.  You wouldn't have gotten to where you are without being smart... But I have news for you.

Image: MS Office Imagebank
Your brilliance gets dull with use.  Just like a knife. Or better yet a saw. 

I grew up in a part of the world where a good number of people earned their livelihood by harvesting the trees that became paper. (Our field trips weren't to the museum, but to the pulp and paper mill.)
There was something one learned quickly.  You couldn't fire up your chainsaw in the morning and cut all day without the saw losing its 'edge', becoming dull, and making it more work to use.

Workers who took the time to 'sharpen their saw' could actually cut more wood than those who don't.
I'm not the first to use this metaphor. The late Stephen Covey described it as:

"Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have - you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual."

For those of us in IT leadership, let me add a fifth - Leading IT.

25.3.13

How to Create a Great Technical Team

Image: MS Office Image Bank

I work with a team of magicians. They continually amaze and impress me with innovative ideas and solutions and have earned the respect of both the user community in our organization and with their peers in our industry.

But it wasn't always this way.

That's the one major area where I take the credit as CIO - in creating this team of magic workers. Some of my team were here when I started, others were hired since I arrived. But everyone's job has changed to get the results we do today.

Let me be so bold as to say that this should be on the top of your priority list. Without it, you won't really be able to accomplish all the other things on your list anywhere near as effectively.

At the risk of oversimplifying things, let me give you 5 tips for creating your team of high performers.

27.2.13

Why 1:1 Programs in Schools are Obsolete


If you are considering a 1:1 program for your school, you may want to stop and reconsider.

There are volumes written about the need to equip today's students with technology to ensure they have the tools necessary for success in the world today.  For many schools, they look forward to the day when every student in the class has a computer.

But I’m beginning to think this isn’t enough.

First, a bit of background.

8.2.13

Peering inside the Black Box of Learning


This is a guest posting by one of my team members.  It covers some of the most interesting work we are doing here at Appleby College using Microsoft OneNote to enhance the learning experience. This is in addition to a number of other applications and technologies in place.

Appleby College has been a 1:1 computer school for over 14 years.  First as a laptop, then a pen-based tablet to support education.

We are delighted to share this story.  The paper below has been shared on Microsoft's Partners In Learning Hot Topic site.

If you are interested in further discussion on how this might be applicable to your school, send me an email (kpashuk(at)gmail(dot)com) with your contact information and I'll get back to you.

Comments and questions are welcome.  Enjoy the post below.

7.2.13

Working With IT Vendors – 5 Useful Tips

In my last position I received so many phone calls on a daily basis from vendors that I actually changed my voicemail to say “Hi! You’ve reached Kevin Pashuk. If this is an unsolicited call from a vendor, please don’t expect a return call.”


I can’t say I’m proud I did that, but it certainly reduced the call volume.


Now before you rush out and change your voicemail message, you need to take a moment and consider the role vendors have in your ecosystem.

11.1.13

Line of Business Leaders and the CIO - 5 Tips for a Successful Relationship



As you read this, you have probably just finished jettisoning, or at the very least ignoring the last of the New Year’s resolutions you have made (or your partner made for you).  Before you fall back into familiar patterns, let me discuss one major resolution you should strive to keep this year.

If you haven’t got a seat at the senior leadership table, let’s make this year the one in which you move closer to getting invited.  If you are already on the senior leadership team, let’s work on strengthening your position and not become marginalized.  (It can happen.  In the Canadian College system, several CIOs have recently lost their direct report to the President and now report to the Administrative head.)

Working well with your colleagues (or soon to be colleagues) at the leadership table is key to your success.  Each of them represent a key line of business or operational function within your organization and you are in a unique role to represent the one line that touches each of their areas in a way that will help them achieve their goals.  (I know that Finance also touches each area, but it is more of a cost control and management function than an enable and empower ability that IT can bring.)

Now here comes the touchy/feely part… you have to build relationships with your colleagues.  I know that for some of you, you would rather lick the paint off the wall than divert from your task-oriented, introverted tribe of technical types rather than schmooze with the head of marketing or HR.

This my friends is the price of admission, and not such a bad thing.  After all, I'm not suggesting you become best friends or invite them on a vacation.  I'm suggesting that CIOs need to work on developing professional relationships with their colleagues on the leadership team.

Here are five tips for doing so:

28.11.12

The Top 5 Challenges CIOs Will Face In 2013

This is the time of year when every blogger puts out a "Top 5", or if they are prolific... a "Top 10" list of the top issues / challenges / opportunities / predictions / opinions that we bloggers feel is important.

This is my list.

These are the things that I believe should be at the top of my "Pay Attention" list, and I'm bold enough to say that they should be on yours too.

But before I get to it, let me go on the record with my problem with lists of this type.


29.10.12

Are you Engaging or Enraging your Users?

I am still amazed at the number of CIOs and Technology leaders I run into today that think their job has something to do with technology.

It doesn't.  At least not in this century.

As a technology leader, you should spend much less time on actual technology (that's why you hire and empower smart people) and spend much more time on how your user's interact with the technology "solutions" your team provides.

When I first started in this industry (a loooooonnng tine ago), computers started arriving in offices as the realm of computing was liberated from the air conditioned room in the basement and distributed to various desktops across the enterprise.

Quickly following the arrival of computers on desktops was the following cartoon... faxed between frustrated users of the new technology.  (There was no email in those days...)

Press Any Key to Continue...

I don't know who created this cartoon, but it certainly summed up the frustration we were introducing into people's lives.

2.10.12

The ‘P’ List for IT Project Management…




Occasionally my brain starts a thought that just keeps going.

Like it did when I started jotting down some ideas around project management for software projects.

Each of these thoughts are key considerations in each and every IT project.

So here they are in no particular order of importance.

See if I've left any out.  I'd be delighted to hear from you in the comments section.


28.9.12

iPads in the Classroom, An Unintended Wrinkle

If you ask whether we are a PC based school, or a Mac based school, my answer is always the same.  We are a "best tool for the job" school.

Image: FastCompany.co
We love the interoperability of shared OneNote folders for our students and teachers (yet another post), the use of SharePoint to create individualized Connected Learning Sites for each student with access by parents / teachers / other students automatically controlled by Active Directory.  We also love the rich ecosystem of apps that are only available on the Apple side of the table.

We've been piloting creating an environment in the classroom where pen based tablet PC's and Apple iPads can co-exist simultaneously and without unnecessary complexity for the teacher.

In short, teachers had to be able to connect to the projector and display both the PC and iPad without changing inputs on the projector, and switch back and forth between the devices as easy as falling off a log.

We experimented with using AppleTV, but found that aside from switching the video input on the projector (consuming valuable teaching time) those wonderful little remotes (about the size of a stick of gum) would easily be misplaced.  Setting up the school's wireless network to support AppleTVs in adjoining rooms securely was achievable but somewhat complex.  If it was set up on a shared open network, you just knew it was a matter of time before some student (usually an adolescent male) would discover that you could display certain kinds of images in class...

iPad screen on a PC via AirServer

We were delighted to find a product that solved all of these issues.  Enter AirServer (www.airserver.com) This utility is both highly affordable (less than $10 compared to the $100 / classroom for AppleTV) and simple to use.  It effectively turns the PC or Mac connected to your projector into an AirPlay compatible receiver, and you can easily mirror both the desktop as well as play media.  Our initial findings are incredibly positive, with one exception, which is the real reason for this post.

As it turns out, AirServer mirrors everything that happens on the iPad screen... including the keystrokes you enter whenever you are asked for a password.  Add the iPad's design (as it is with most touchscreens) and the characters of you password are displayed for the whole class to see.

When you consider that many people (and you know who you are) use a derivative of the same password for almost every online account, this can become a problem.

I'm not sure about you, but this is a real issue for me.  Am I the only one who sees a security hole here?

I'm surprised at how little I've heard of this problem in all I've read about iPads in the classroom.  A Google search will bring some articles to light, but I was surprised more people haven't caught on as yet.

So... while this won't stop us from bringing the iPads into the classroom, it certainly changes how we guide our teachers in their use.

By all means... go out and get AirServer... it's a great product.  This issue is Apple's to fix.  

Have you implemented iPads in your school or business yet?  Is this a potential issue for you?

I'd love to hear from you.


9.8.12

How to Bring Lasting Change to Education Through Technology


This posting is slightly different from the others.

I was reviewing a document I had written in 2009, and thought this portion would be very appropriate to share with you, my readers.

This could be construed as proof that I don't always insert bad humour into my writing... that I can be serious at times.

More importantly, it succinctly covers my observations over the years about bringing lasting change into the educational sector.


25.7.12

What is "Invisible" Technology?


With the wonders of site analytics, I was led to a site for educational librarians that referenced my blog, TurningTechInvisible in a comment. While I enjoyed the discussion, there was a misunderstanding (at least I felt there was) around the using the word "invisible" to describe technology. Many of the commenters preferred "transparent", and even the author of the post felt that "invisible" meant "absent".  I felt I should weigh in for clarification around the concept of "transparent" vs. "Invisible".

Image: Mojo40.com
I derived the name of the blog from reading Jim Collins' book Good To Great.  All of the companies profiled leveraged technology heavily, but NONE of them would attribute technology as the key factor for their success.

When you combine this thought with the changing face of the world we work in, the tried and true business models for the delivery of technology are being impacted by forces that will make IT departments obsolete, or cause them to adapt to be of value.

So I began a quest to "get technology out of the way", to make it "invisible like oxygen", critical for life, ubiquitous, but not thought about much until it isn't there...

That meant creating an IT organization where technology ceased to become the perceived gatekeeper, killer of great ideas, and controller of all, to a group of people who understood the needs of the organization and could actually provide high value for the organization to do things better, or do new things they couldn't do before.  I took the focus off technology, making it invisible, and put the focus on the delivery of strategic services.

There is no sense fighting for the old model.

The people that approve budgets won't fund what they think is unnecessary.

They will fund things of value (as defined by the organization, not IT).  So as an IT leader, I needed to frame the value of my organization in terms of value they would understand.

Has it worked?  I've been able to secure operational budget increases in the double digits over the last 3 years.

My sense is that libraries are being impacted by many of the same forces as IT.  I've blogged about it in a recent post "Why School Libraries are More Important than ever".

So, my message to school librarians? You have a lot of work ahead of you, but your success is dependant on your ability to adapt.  Just like IT.

Thanks for hearing me out.

28.6.12

The Question You Need to Answer as an IT Leader

I have a theory.  


OK, I have many theories but today’s theory has to do with a medical mystery. 


I believe there is a very small blood vessel that runs through the ring finger of every male’s left hand.  This is a critical vessel, since it supplies blood to the part of the brain that allows a male to discern whether or not the clothing he is wearing actually matches.

Once you constrain this blood vessel by installing a wedding band, the male’s ability to dress himself completely vanishes, creating the situation where he is confronted on the way out the door with THE question… “You’re not going out like that, ARE YOU???

This is what is known as a rhetorical question. There is only one right answer, which is determined by the asker of the question, not the recipient.  The wrong answer means you are doomed.

Right now, all the married men are nodding in familiar recollection.

But I’m not here to discuss how you dress.


25.6.12

Can You Trust the Reviews?


Please Note: This is an edit of a previous posting I did when RIM Playbooks and Google Chromebooks first came out.  With the advent of Windows 8, Windows Surface and now Windows Phone 8, I thought it was timely to revisit this topic.




I drink my coffee black.  I didn't always take it this way. When I started, I was like many who would enjoy a Timmee's DD (This is a Canadian colloquialism, it has nothing to do with cup size), but then I dropped the sugar.  Then the cream.

When I first decided to drop the cream, (to preserve my lean, lithe, pantherlike figure) I hated the stuff in the cup.  This was not coffee, it was more like a mixture of motor oil and camel spit.  (Not that I was speaking from experience, but I do have a vivid imagination.)

It took weeks for me to start appreciating the rich aromatic flavour of a good cup of coffee.  It got to the point where coffee with cream tasted bland, and there is no way I would ever go back to cream in my coffee.

So what does this have to do with hardware and software reviews?

19.6.12

Churn Happens

If you've ever managed people, you are familiar with the little tap on your office door, followed by "Got a minute?"

Even if you have an open door policy and this person is in your office regularly, you've come to recognize the slightly hesitant tone in their voice, the awkward, uncomfortable silence after they settle into the chair.

You know what's coming next.

"I've accepted a job offer at another company."

Your inside voice says "Sh*t!!" because this individual is one of your better performers and it's a busy time in the office.  Your outside voice says "That's interesting! Tell me about it!"

I remember once reading that 20% of your team is either in the first year of their employment with you, or the last year of their employment with you.  You know which ones are in their first year.  It's not so easy to predict those employees in their last year.

Employee turnover, or churn, is inevitable for a number of reasons.

I'm not talking about the people who leave because you un-hire them, or those that quit because the work environment is toxic, but those employees that outgrow their position, and you can't provide the next step of challenge.

In small teams, advancing would mean waiting till someone died before a position came open.

So they start to look elsewhere.

Not because they want to.

Because they have to if they don't want to stay in the same position, at the same top of classification pay rate for the next several years.

7.6.12

The Secret to Creating a Strong Password

Are you on LinkedIn?

Are you worried about the recent hack?

Should you be?

Absolutely.

And when you are done worrying about your  account being hacked, then get ready for an even scarier thought.

Consider this quote from Tom's Hardware blog:
"Last year, a major security breach at RockYou.com resulted in the release of 32 million passwords. With such a large data set available, security firm Imperva Application Defense Center (ADC) analyzed and found that, when given the chance, most users will choose a simplistic password."