Book Review: The Next Leap In Productivity
April 6, 2009
I just finished Adam Kolawa’s The Next Leap In Productivity, what top managers really need to know about information technology
Although the book is written for ‘C’ level executives at large organizations, it is also applicable to all business that have software development staff.
And the book is for you, the non-technical manager.
There are volumes written exhorting business technology staff to obtain business skills (yes they should!).
This is a volume that argues that as a business executive, you should have knowledge of your IT. So it examines improving your software development processes.
I can hear your question! I am an IT Manager, I was reading it because????
I am not a software developer! My role has grown through the infrastructure and operational sides of IT. So I can learn from it as well!
As Mr. Kolawa states, software development is too often stuck in the guild concepts of centuries ago. Using modern manufacturing analogies, it is time that software development reached the TQM and lean producion levels that manufacturing reached 30 years ago.
The afterword by John Sundman is a good place to start;
Why has there so often been a gulf between IT and the other competencies you manage?
For small business managers, the second half of the text dealing with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) may not have as much relevance, but the first half on IT productivity is key.
Because if you do not understand how IT works, you cannot create the proper business requirements to drive IT strategy. And if you are not driving IT strategy, then who is?
In explaining this Dr. (Phd) Kolawa outlines the difference between Managing IT vs Understanding IT. And a true understanding will allow you to accurately prioritize your IT costs.
Not through geek speak, but asking relevant and informed business questions on realistic expectations, performance, IT strategy , and more important, its potential
I like this quote referencing French statesman Georges Clemenceau;
“..war is too important to eave to the military.” Would it be too outrageous to suggest that IT strategy is too important to leave to the IT department?
The major takeaway from the book is that, similar to manufacturing, the QA (quality assurance or testing) cannot be separated from production.
If you have any resposibility for software development, I recommend that you read this book!
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