Category: Musings


Everything I Know about Stewardship of Applications I Learned from Owning a Boat

The place we live in Honolulu is right on a marina and has a boat dock.  I’m not really a boat person, but the idea of being able to take a boat to do grocery shopping or go to the movies was just too seductive.  I couldn’t help myself.  I bought a boat.  In the last year I’ve learning a great deal about the difference between procuring a thing and taking care of a thing. Please follow and like me:

“It Might Get Damaged” 0

“It Might Get Damaged”

Over my years as a CIO I’ve heard lots of reasons to not deploy something.  One of the most perplexing to me is the “it might get damaged” argument (or its corollaries, “it might go down,” “it might get hacked,” and “it might get stolen”).  It is very easy to give this kind of argument a very flippant response.  You know, like “and a meteor might fall from the sky and strike us dead”  (one of my personal favorites).  The reality is, though, that there is some interesting and nuanced conversation to be had regarding risk and risk tolerance when thinking about deploying IT solutions. Please follow and like me:

Star Wars Cloud City Concept Drawing 0

Choice, Responsibility, and the Cloud

Earlier this week a conversation started on the EDUCAUSE CIO list regarding individuals (and departments) picking their own tools to perform their job functions even if it duplicates something offered centrally.  I responded with some partial thoughts that I thought I’d try and flesh out here. Please follow and like me:

Some Thoughts on “Not a Future CIO” 0

Some Thoughts on “Not a Future CIO”

Today I read a really interesting piece in the EDUCAUSE Review by Josh Kim, Not a Future CIO.  There’s a great deal in there to digest, and it’s worth your time to read.  Josh presents the conundrum many higher education IT professionals (including instructional support folks) have.  “Do I want to be a CIO?” Please follow and like me:

The Measurement Trap 0

The Measurement Trap

I saw a post today on Seth Godin’s blog about Scientific Management and how it is being extended to white collar workers.  Loosely speaking this is extending the idea that factories measure everything their workers do to ensure they are as efficient as possible to include the work done by almost everyone.  There is always a desire (and perhaps even a need) to measure the work being done in your organization, but if you aren’t careful you will fall into the measurement trap. Please follow and like me:

two pinewood derby cars 0

Be the Graphite not the Gum

For folks working in higher education, it’s that time of year again.  We are all preparing to welcome (and welcome back) our students and start the fall semester.  Watching the students get to various offices and step through the myriad of processes, I can see that there are some things that work well and others that don’t.  Some of these things are one time activities, so if they aren’t completely smooth that might be OK.  But some are ongoing activities, and if they aren’t going well they will serve as a constant irritant for the student’s entire stay with us.  It’s like gum on the bottom of your shoe.  As an individual event this isn’t a big deal.  But every step after that is a reminder that you stepped in gum, and at some point you’re going to have to stop and deal with it. Please follow and like me:

Not Everything Should Be a Differentiator 2

Not Everything Should Be a Differentiator

Today I read this really interesting piece from David Jones titled, “Homogeneity: the inevitable result of a strategic approach?”  It’s short and worth the read.  The basic premise is that defining the work we do based on a strategic approach yields a non-differentiated result (my words, not his).  That is to say, every institution starts to look kind of the same. As I said, interesting. Please follow and like me:

The Importance of Professional Fit 0

The Importance of Professional Fit

As you look to move your career in higher education IT forward and explore new opportunities, it is important to understand the kinds of work that excite you, the challenges you like to tackle, the work environment in which you thrive, and the institutional values that are important to you. Self evaluation, guidance from mentors, and investigating potential institutions all play an important role in making an informed decision about the next step you take in your career. Please follow and like me:

t-shirt reading "I before E except after C, Weird." 0

Higher Ed IT’s T-Shirt Problem

When I was in college I was part of Hoof ‘n’ Horn, the south’s oldest student run musical theatre organization. (full disclosure: I worked backstage; I can’t act my way out of a paper bag).  We put on three major shows every year, and as part of that experience everyone on the cast and crew got custom made t-shirts.  Even for the largest productions, that generally amounted to about 30 – 40 shirts. In college student dollars these things were expensive.  Really expensive.  One year I asked our silk screen vendor what we could do to lower the price to the cast/crew.  His answer: buy 100 shirts.   Please follow and like me:

Visions and Prioritization 1

Visions and Prioritization

We recently started an engagement with a consulting group to help us develop some project management processes.  As we’ve been working through all this, one of the consultants asked me what my vision for IT my current institution is.  I’ve had a few other people asked me similar questions, and I thought it might be interesting to share my thoughts here (plus later I can just give folks this URL). Please follow and like me: