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IT Performance Improvement (ITPI) is where IT professionals share their expertise in making IT organizations and people perform better. ITPI covers such topics as:

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AnDevCon on July 29-31, 2015 in Boston

5th Annual Cybersecurity for Government Asia on July 29-13, 2015 in Sepang Utara, Malaysia

Cybersecurity Vigilance for BDs and IAs on August 24-25, 2015 in New York City

Cybersecurity Preparedness for the Healthcare Sector on August 24-25, 2015 in New York

SPTechCon on August 24-27 in Boston

Big Data TechCon on November 2-4, 2015 in Chicago

The Agile Development, Better Software, & DevOps East Conferences on November 8-13, 2015 in Orlando

5th Annual Oil & Gas Cyber Security Conference on November 30-1st December 1, 2015 in London, United Kingdom

Cyber Security Exchange on December 6-8, 2015 in Florida

Nice Global Forum on Homeland Security and Crisis Management on February 2-5, 2016 in Nice, France

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SPaMCAST 346 features an interview with Jon Quigley. He discusses configuration management and his new book Configuration Management: Theory, Practice, and Application. Jon co-authored the book with Kim Robertson. Configuration management, the management and control of project deliverable, is one of the most critical practices anyone building a product, writing a piece of code or working on a project with more than one person involved must learn or face the consequences!

Blogs We're Reading

Jack Ferraro. My Project Advisor. Guidance for Project Leaders and Managers

Jamal Moustafaev. Think Tank Consulting. Musings on Requirements and Scope Management

Samir Penkar. The Future of Project Management. People, Trends, and Ideas on Project Management

Anthony Rhem. The Knowledge Management Depot. Active thought leadership in knowledge management.

Jon Quigley. Value Transformations. Taming processes that have gone wild.

Greg Schulz. Greg's StorageIO Blog. Covering the latest trends the storage industry.

J. LeRoy Ward. WardWired. Project management excellence, as well as a business travelog.

Richard Maltzman and David Shirley. Earth PM. At the intersection of green and project management.

Preston de Guise. The NetWorker Blogger. Commentary by a long-term networking consultant and back-up theorist.


Interested in submitting an article? Want to comment about an article?

Contact John Wyzalek editor of IT Performance Improvement.


Featured New Articles

Finding Power Influencers

Amy Baugh

To elevate your performance as a manager, you need to uncover and tap into all available resources. Every organization has a network of people who really know how things work and how to get things done. These are not necessarily the same people who are in charge. It is worth taking the time to understand who is whom and who knows what, and then use that information for the benefit of your program. There are a few formal and informal ways to identify this group. In this discussion, I start with the most informal approach and then move to a more structured approach. Each situation requires one or more of these tactics, depending on the complexity of the organization.

I know I have received a few looks from people who got the impression that I am always in the café drinking coffee. They are right. What they do not necessarily understand is that all of those trips to the café are an essential part of a program manager's job. (Our job is sounding pretty glorious right now.) The coffee chat is a powerful tool. People tend to relax and talk more freely outside of the four walls of their office or cubicle. Talks over coffee lead to vital information, for example, helping to understand relationships, historical influences, and other connections. Your role as a program manager is not unlike that of party host in a sense. You need to know who knows whom, who has common interests and might benefit from being introduced, and any history between guests so you can orchestrate a successful party.

Envisioning Intelligent Cities

Pethuru Ray and Anupama C. Raman

The information technology (IT) landscape is continuously captivating owing to the faster maturity of newer and nimbler technologies that open up fresh possibilities and hitherto unforeseen opportunities. In particular, manifold new-generation applications and services are being developed and delivered as a result of the unprecedented stability of upheaving and transformative technologies. For example, we extensively read about enterprise (transactional and analytical), embedded, social, mobile, and cloud applications in the recent past. Converged platforms and infrastructures are being built to streamline application design and development (from the ground up or assembling), deployment, management, integration, and delivery requirements. In other words, a paradigm shift has occurred. IT has been the prime enabler of worldwide businesses and today is being prescribed as a viable, venerable, and value-adding mechanism for empowering individuals. With self-, surroundings-, and situation-aware technologies emerging and evolving, scores of context-sensitive services could be readily built and deployed to enhance human care, choice, convenience, and comfort substantially

Reducing Security Risks in Information Technology Contracts: Best Practices and Guiding Principles

Michael R. Overly and Matthew A. Karlyn

Effective intellectual property (IP) protection commences with a company's handling its own intellectual property in a systematic and cautious manner. A proper foundation, both in educating employees and maintaining best practices, is a necessary pre-requisite for safe licensing of IP to prospective licensees. The licenses in particular require significant attention to detail in drafting the relevant portions to ensure that no unintended consequences result from loopholes or lack of clarity. This article outlines best practices—both within and outside a company—for controlling the handling and distribution of its intellectual property.

Assessment and Recovery of Projects in Trouble

Soren Lyngso

Whenever my organization is called upon by major international organizations to deliver our core services of coaching and facilitation, their strategic initiatives are in trouble. Most often, they have tried to implement a solution for months just to discover that no progress (except for spending time and money) has been achieved.

Medical Factory Implementation

We got involved in a major program to implement a big factory to produce medical equipment using cheap raw material to deliver an end product of high quality to be used worldwide at a price to be acceptable even to poor people.

The program was run like a project with one project manager facing several internal key-stakeholders with considerable internal power and many external stakeholders with legal and political power.

Articles from Past Issues
Click here for the complete archive of articles.

IT Infrastructure

Responsibility for Defect Support

Systems Availability: The View from 30,000 Feet

Why Should the IT Helpdesk be Responsible for Authorizations?

Application Selection Dictates Hardware Selection

Maintenance in the Digital World

The Importance of Data and Storage

The Disk Drive: The Fundamental Building Block of Enterprise Storage

Evolving Open Source License Management Processes

Reducing Resource Use

Project Management

Developing Trust

Agile Concepts for Project Management

What Is Project Management Maturity?

The Scope of Project Scope Management

Two Weeks in Fire-Fighting Mode

A Highly Creative, Process-Focused Project: A Case Study

Ten Keys of Influence

Why Corporate Governance?

Discovering the New Project Leader in You


Electric Energy and Applicable Metrics

A Guide to Sizing and Estimating Projects

Understanding Your Organization's Best Software Development Practices

Achieving Business Objectives: Building a Software Metrics Support Structure

Connecting Improvement with Business Objectives: Objective-Driven Process Improvement

Process Improvement

Too Many Metrics and Not Enough Data

A Framework for Measuring the Value of Software Development

Using Measurement to Identify Improved IT Performance

IT Management

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS)

Information Security for Systems

How to Measure and Improve the Business Value of IT Service

Oracle's Agile Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

Big Data Analytics Architectures, Frameworks, and Tools

Using Balanced Scorecard To Measure BYOD Effectiveness

BYOD: Mobile Devices Threats and Vulnerabilities

Big Data and Business Analytics

Introduction to the Big Data Era

Big Data Building Blocks to Decision Support

Mining and Analytics in E-Commerce

Process and Productivity

Measuring the Effects of Process Improvement on Performance

How to Manage Performance: Kaplan and Norton's Balanced Scorecard

Lean Thinking

What Are Lean, a Lean and Agile Organization, and Lean and Agile IT?

IT Value Streams and Cultural Silos

Extracting Business Processes from Applications

Some Common Questions about Scrum

An Overview of System Quality Requirements Engineering (SQUARE)

Maintenance: Who, Why, Where, When and How?

Lean in IT: Process versus Practice

Achieving the Right Balance between Process Maturity and Performance

Understanding Lean Concepts


Improving IT Performance with
Books from Auerbach

Save 25% when you order these books at CRC Use promo code AWP20 at checkout.

Have an idea for a book?

Contact ITPI editor John Wyzalek to discuss topics and book publishing.


July 21, 2015. Alan Shalloway. Lean-Agile Development: The 3rd Generation of Agile.

July 22, 2015. Mark Ciampa. Teaching Your Users about Practical Passwords.

July 23, 2015. Cassandra Peck. Influencing Others through Empowerment.

July 28, 2015. Nick Lavingia. Managing Risk for Mega Global Energy Projects.

September 10, 2015. Wingate Lory. Project Management for Research and Development.

September 15, 2015. Serrador Pedro. Are Agile Projects Really More Successful and Where?

September 16, 2015. Sakr Sherif. Big Data Processing Systems: State-of-the-Art and Open Challenges.

September 17, 2015. Veal Ruffin. Project vs. Program Management: Strategies for Successful Transition.

September 22, 2015. Schmidt Terry. Turning Strategic Goals into Successful Projects.



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Improving Your Own IT Performance
Articles by Nancy Settle-Murphy

Just Because You’re Silent, You May Not Be Really Listening
Chances are, you probably think you’re a pretty good listener. Most of us do. We aren’t the type to interrupt our colleagues, trounce on someone else’s ideas, or whip out a mobile device in the midst of a conversation (at least not in plain view!). So we must be good listeners, right?

Well, maybe not. Just because we are polite enough to wait for someone to stop talking before we jump in to offer ideas, doesn’t mean we have truly heard what the other has to say. If we know how to keep our mouths shut when someone rattles off a bunch of crazy ideas, that doesn’t mean our minds have remained open. And if we have been very discreet when we check email as others speak, it certainly doesn’t mean that we have been paying attention. More...

Turn Nine Common Virtual Meeting Misconceptions Inside Out

When people evaluate the quality of their typical virtual meetings on a scale of 1-10, the average response we get tends to hover somewhere between 3 and 4. (And that’s progress, compared to a few years ago!) After all this time, why do virtual meetings still have such a bad rap? Are they really that poorly-run, or do people just assume they will be a waste of time, and plan their participation (or lack thereof) accordingly? More...

Making Virtual Meetings Come Alive: It’s Everyone’s Job!

Why do so many people see virtual meetings as a time they can catch up on email? Why are participants often so ill-prepared to jump into a productive conversation? We suspect that many people simply don’t see virtual meetings as real meetings. To them, the phrase “virtual meetings” means not only that people are conversing from a distance. It also means that the meeting is just not real. More...

Seven Ways to Keep Stakeholders Close in a Virtual World

Most stakeholders often work in other locations and oftentimes, in other time zones. So, what’s so different about engaging stakeholders from engaging other virtual team members? Our conclusion: Even though our intentions may be similar when working face-to-face and virtually, how we go about initiating and cultivating stakeholder relationships can be very different. Here are a few tips we came up with for engaging stakeholders virtually, for projects that really matter. More...

Breaking the Wall of Silence in a Virtual World
If you have ever led a virtual meeting, this scenario is familiar: You pose a brilliant provocative question, hoping to trigger a flurry of insightful responses. And instead, you hear….Nothing. Nada. Zippo. Zilch. (Apart from crickets, that is.) So what’s your next step? Do you ask the same question again, louder? Beg people to stop multitasking and pay attention? Give up and go onto the next question (which more than likely will generate the same lack of response)? Or perhaps you move to an early close of the meeting, due to an obvious lack of interest. More...

Seven Tips for Avoiding Another Epic Project Failure
I really hate it when one of my projects doesn't exactly go as planned. Happily, this rarely happens, so when it does, I tend to obsess over it, replaying the events ad infinitum. When a recent project seemed to fall short of expectations, I devoted countless hours (okay, maybe a few days) to understanding what went wrong so that I could avoid similar problems in the future. More...

Don't Leave Remote Participants Hanging: Eight Tips for a Meeting of Equals
Let's face it: It's almost impossible to make remote callers feel like they're on equal footing with people who are gathered in the conference room for the big meeting. But with some thoughtful planning, you can come pretty close. I felt compelled to write this article after a dismal experience I had recently as a remote participant calling into a client's project team meeting. (Undoubtedly, my work in helping organizations to plan and lead engaging virtual meetings had my antennae way, way up!) During the entire hour-long meeting, I couldn't help feeling that I was the only one who could never quite follow the rather chaotic conversation. More...

Ten Tips for Uber-Efficient Meetings—Making Every Minute Count

No question: We waste a lot of time in meetings when we could be getting more important work done. But sometimes there's just no substitute for real-time conversations. Emails, instant messages and shared portals can only take you so far, especially when you're pressured to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. More...

Stop Playing Favorites for a Stronger Virtual Team
Most sports coaches say that one of the hardest parts of their job is to coax the best from each player. But when some players are bigger, stronger or faster than their teammates, leveling the playing field becomes a lot tougher. When the pressure is on, it's tempting to put your best players on the field. After all, they won't need the kind of energy and attention from you that your less physically gifted players will require. And your chances of winning are much better if your star performers are front and center. More...

The Real Costs of Persistent Multitasking: Nine Tips to Minimize Damage
Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who can't concentrate when people around me tap away on their tablets as though no one else at the meeting notices. Do these people even realize how distracting and disrespectful their behavior can be? Or do they just not notice or care? Or maybe I just don't get that multitasking is a requirement for some people to manage their increasingly busy lives, and I should cut them some slack. (Or maybe the people furiously typing into their devices are taking notes or looking up some vital information on the web. Highly doubtful, but possible.) More...

Consensus-Building in Virtual Meetings

Helping teams reach real consensus can be tough enough when we're all in the same room, conversing eye-to-eye. But when people can't see each other's expressions and feel awkward about having tough discussions and candid debates with people they can't see, reaching consensus is infinitely more difficult. Add cultural differences into the mix, and discerning what meeting participants really think about an idea becomes even more difficult. More...

Eight Steps for Facilitating Constructive Conflict, Virtually
Your team is under pressure to make a decision that will make or break your big project. You are shocked when all of your colleagues agree to what you believe will be a disastrous decision. When you regain your powers of speech, everyone is waiting for you to weigh in. (Thankfully, no one can read your body language, since everyone has dialed in for this meeting.) Do you dare voice an opposing opinion at this point, or do you just sigh and let it go, hoping that people will eventually see the light before too much damage can be done? More...

About the Author

Nancy Settle-Murphy, Guided Insights founder and principal consultant, draws on an eclectic and varied combination of skills and expertise. She wears many hats—depending on the challenges she is helping clients to solve. She acts as meeting facilitator, virtual collaboration coach, change management leader, workshop designer, cross-cultural trainer, communications strategist and organizational development consultant.