Believe it or not, there are a lot of parallels between ICT planning and driving. The journey can be long, so planning is necessary, but hazards seem to keep appearing that can really throw you off course. But notice that I didn’t use the phrase ‘unexpected hazards’. You don’t have to be a Nostradamus to make educated guesses about possible future scenarios, if you’re managing to keep yourself informed in the right kind of way.
Similarly, a key aspect of advanced driving is to anticipate hazards based on the information to hand, and avoid any trouble before it arises. Interestingly, the most commonly-used expression when a car accident occurs is ‘suddenly’:
I was driving along and all of a sudden this child ran in front of me out of nowhere.
As a matter of fact, things like this tend to happen less suddenly than you might think.
So, with this kind of thing in mind I successfully proposed a seminar at BETT called ‘Driving your ICT vision: what can advanced motoring techniques teach us about achieving our goals?’, which I (partially) described as follows:
The ideas covered include:
- The limitations of target-based strategic planning.
- What is the advanced motoring system?
- Being prepared: how to spot hazards.
- The system in more detail, with practical examples: using the principles of the System to address short, intermediate, and long-term goals.
- Using the system flexibly.
- The value of commentary.
Looking at that, you might wonder if it’s going to be some theoretical, but impractical, exposition of a pet theory. Not so. My intention is to absolutely whizz through the bit about SMART targets, spend slightly more time on describing what the advanced driving system is, but spend the greatest proportion of the time going through the phases of the ‘system’ and identifying some applications that could be used during each one.
I’ve identified 90 tools, organisations, and information sources, many of which are free, which I think will be of interest to the ICT leader. Actually, I’ve looked at and tried out several more, but these are the ones which I think are worth exploring. And within that lot, I’ll be pointing out the two or three in each section which I think are the best. I hope it will be especially useful to recently-appointed ICT leaders: you know, the ones who are starting to wonder what possessed them to ever take such a job in the first place!
I’m a bit nervous about doing the presentation, just in case someone complains that they didn’t learn enough about driving! Also, let’s be honest: any analogy can only be taken so far, and this is no exception. I don’t want to stretch it beyond credibility. Nevertheless, the motoring angle does give us some nice conceptual hooks on which to hang the various tools I’ll be recommending. I didn’t want to just come up with a ‘Top 50’ (or whatever) set of tools without providing a context for each. I think that Top 50 lists are fine, by the way; it’s just that I didn’t want to create one.
As I doubt that I’ll be able to cover all of the tools in detail, or possibly even at all, I will be providing attendees with a URL from which they can download the entire list.
If this sounds interesting to you, you can book for the seminar on the BETT website. Perhaps I will see you there.