The important difference between leading and managing

There is a crucial role for both managers and leaders in a software project environment.  These two different roles are complimentary and involve different skill sets which need to come to the front at different stages and for different reasons in a project.    They could even be held by the same person. The role of a leader is not necessarily more desirable than that of a manager – in many situations the focus must remain on getting things done and focus on deliverables is often a good thing.  



Why you should pay attention to online learning

A game changer for education?

When any technology enabled industry is showing growth rates as high as 25% in certain countries it is time to sit up and take notice. In a report by Docebo the world wide market for self paced e-Learning is growing at a compound rate of 7.5%. The highest growth rates are between 20-25% and are countries in Asia and Eastern Europe, closely followed by Africa and Latin America. Even in the most mature markets like the USA, a solid growth of 4-6% per annum is being observed.

Online training


How to get your customers involved in software development

Set up a customer advisory board

Companies that sell software solutions to enterprise customers should consider creating a customer advisory board (CAB). In many situations the CAB is the result of a properly functioning user group. Users elect a committee to act on their behalf to influence the direction of the product development. If you sell software to businesses and don’t have a CAB you may be missing out on a great opportunity to engage at both a personal and very strategic level with your customers.



Should consultants re-think their model?

An information business is one where you are compensated for sharing your expert knowledge and experience through various means such as consulting, training, coaching, writing, entertaining etc. You are compensated by the hour.


An online information business is the delivery of this expertise through the web, using new media such as video, eLearning, collaboration forums, books, consulting, webinars etc.

An online businesses can be scaleable and can reach more customers.

The new challenge for a consultant is to leverage his or her specialised knowledge in a world now totally flooded with information.


The one problem with software solutions that most people ignore

As an engineer in training I attended many short courses during the first few years in my new job. One of the most valuable courses was a two day problem solving workshop. It remains one of the few courses that to this day that I remember clearly; and that has over many years helped me analyse complex problems and find the optimum solution.


Our technical training as engineers and the nature of the work results in us becoming automatic problem solvers. It is difficult for engineers to not attempt to tackle any complex problem. We tend to see a nail and then look for a handy hammer close by to hit it with.

Perhaps a better solution in some situations is to simply remove the nail?

Our technical training enables us to see our own “obvious” solution clearly, but in many situations, particularly in business this is not the best solution. (more…)

Can you afford to outsource your IT?

A few days ago I read of a major national IT outsource contract ending after five years.  In 2009 the service provider had acquired the incumbent vendor and most of the in house IT resources of the customer and signed an IT service contract to continue to deliver services.  The decision to end the contract will now affect thousands of IT professionals who now stand to lose their jobs.  Over the years I have known the customer quite well and observed many problems in the execution of their IT.  So it was no surprise that the contract was ending – misalignment between the client and service provider was evident on the ground, and a radical change was necessary,  even to an outside observer. The implications to the service provider are now significant.   This contract had been a significant contributor to their business and the termination now poses a real threat to their sustainability.  I hope they have a contingency plan.



Starting out? Why you should consider becoming a software developer

There has never been a better time to become a software developer. I realise that not all my readers are geeks and this topic may not be relevant to you. So forgive me for a somewhat technical post, but I feel the subject is important to anyone in a technical career.


This post is for those who are wondering whether learning new software development skills is worthwhile. Whether you are in IT looking to extend your influence, or starting out as a developer, or even feeling that you have grown out of the technical world and need need something challenging and exciting, this post might be just what you need right now to get started in development.


Online learning – the future of professional development?

As e-learning continues to evolve we might ask how will online training develop in future, how relevant e-learning will become to  professional development,  and how the e-learning industry itself will develop?

Professional Development

e-Learning is an already established way of using technology to facilitate the learning and development process.  It is particularly suited for professional development.   But far from being a stable, mature field, e-learning is in fact still evolving rapidly. As new technologies become ubiquitous, people are becoming accustomed to learning new skills in a range of situations; both at work and outside of work. Professionals are increasingly using e-learning for their own development.  New content providers are emerging all the time and a whole new industry is forming around online training courses.
Mobile devices have recently made it possible to easily deliver rich media to almost any device that has a connection to the internet. This enables learning and development to take place even while commuting, while exercising, at your desk and in the office.  In fact, in the crowded busy life of a professional, arguably the only time for development is while commuting or exercising.