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.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know I agree with this. This does not mean that you need to be an expert, but you should be familiar at a relevant level of detail. 

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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3 Responses to “Book Review: The Next Leap In Productivity”

  1. elliotross Says:

    @Dan Thanks, I will have to check that out

    @Chrissy – always looking for new authors and new books – will take a look

  2. Chrissy Says:

    This sounds like a really great book you have mentioned, have you heard of a book called Doing Business By The Book? It’s a book written by Sophfronia Scott. It’s a perfect resource you will constantly refer back to. It’s perfect.
    I’m really interested in the book by Adam. I’m going to have to get it and check it out.

  3. Dan Says:

    If you would like a tool to manage your small business activities and Projects, you can use this web aplication:

    You can use it to manage and prioritize your Goals (for business but also in other areas of your life), Projects and Tasks. It has a Checklists section, for the routines and repetitive activities that any business has to do. Also, it features a Schedules section and a Calendar, for scheduling you time and activities.

    Features from GTD are also present, like Contexts and Next Actions.

    And it’s available on the mobile phone too, so you can access it from anywhere.

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