Weekly Braindump #35

Authority & Information, IT does user needs, Muddy Dog

I’ve been doing…

Here’s a really quick whistlestop tour of the weeks highlights!

On Tuesday I had a really interesting chat with colleagues (in our bi-monthly Turn the Ship Around session) about authority and information. Are the two often separated? (yep). Are people given enough authority to do their job? What prevents us from pushing authority down to the places the information lives? I was left with some homework to remember some situations where I felt I didn’t have enough authority, or that a decision could’ve been made better if I’d had input. More on this next week after sufficient mulling.

As an addendum to the above conversation, I seem to be in the minority regarding having beef with job titles. I find them at best a vaguely accurate status symbol/representation of what you do and at the very worst a source of inertia (“that’s not my job/that’s not my problem”). *Shrug* Maybe it’s just me? Please let me know if you think similarly (or not).

On Thursday I attended an IT conference about the future of the data centre and the cloud. I’ll be honest, I had very low expectations. It turned out to quite a thoughtful take on the current pressures being exerted upon the humble IT department from multiple angles. I very nearly fell off my seat when ‘start with the user’ made an appearance on a slide.

There were also some excellent points on the refusal of IT departments to acknowledge that the desktop PC is no longer the centre of most people’s world. In fact the technology itself is the least important part of the equation for most people as long as it works as expected.

I think this is a long overdue acknowledgement that because of the consumerisation of technology, IT has to work much harder to really understand what users need. Both because that’s what will make the organisation ultimately successful and it’s the thing that keeps IT relevant in the rapidly accelerating digital revolution. Shadow IT is the direct response of ignoring all this.

I also got to have a peek at FuzzLab’s prototype repairs chatbot. Currently working via Facebook Messenger, it demonstrates plenty of potential in a world where tenants are increasingly less likely to download an app or go scouring Google for your website. Being on a widely adopted platform however makes lots of sense. I’m in the middle of writing up some observations so I can bounce them back for further discussion. General gut feeling, so far so good! Would be ace to try it out with actual tenants at some point in the future to get an early read on how they feel about it.

Friday (today) turned out to be.. umm.. sub-optimal. Against my better judgement (and in the face of years of experience telling me otherwise) I decided to squeeze an upgrade in as the next available date was weeks away. Unfortunately, the update went slightly pear shaped so I had to stick around after hours to make sure everything was running as normal. My good mood was then further compounded by a late running overcrowded train, kids filling a hole in the garden with a hose pipe and then a mud covered puppy bounding around the kitchen & living room.

Anyway… ONWARDS!

I’ve been reading…

I’ve been listening to…

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