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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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STARCANADA on June 21-25 in Vancouver

12th Next Generation Testing Conference on June 25, 2015 in London

DevOps Summit London: DevOps for Business Value on June 25, 2015 in London

Program & Project Management Conference on June 25, 2015 in London

Digital Transformation on June 25, 2015 in London

SPTechCon Developer Days on June 24-26, 2015 in Burlingame, California

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

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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

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.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS)

Abhay Bhargav

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is perhaps the most well-known standard in the family of standards developed and maintained by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI-SSC). The standard applies to environments that store, process, or transmit payment-card information. This article explains some peripheral aspects of the PCI-DSS with reference to compliance for enterprises the world over. It also explains some of the validation levels and requirements for various entities that are to be assessed and certified for PCI compliance. It briefly delves into some business models of companies that typically undergo PCI compliance. Finally, the article discusses different compliance options and possibilities for entities that are undergoing PCI compliance.

Information Security for Systems

Brook S. E. Schoenfield

One definition of security architecture might be, "applied information security." Or perhaps, more to the point of this work, security architecture applies the principles of security to system architectures. It should be noted that there are (at least) two uses of the term, "security architecture." One of these is, as defined above, to ensure that the correct security features, controls, and properties are included into an organization's digital systems and to help implement these through the practice of system architecture. The other branch, or common usage, of "security architecture" is the architecture of the security systems of an organization. In the absence of the order provided through architecture, organizations tend to implement various security technologies "helterskelter," that is, ad hoc. Without security architecture, the intrusion system (IDS) might be distinct and independent from the firewalls (perimeter). Firewalls and IDS would then be unconnected and independent from anti-virus and anti-malware on the endpoint systems and entirely independent of server protections. The security architect first uncovers the intentions and security needs of the organization: open and trusting or tightly controlled, the data sensitivities, and so forth. Then, the desired security posture (as it's called) is applied through a collection of coordinated security technologies. This can be accomplished very intentionally when the architect has sufficient time to strategize before architecting, then to architect to feed a design, and to have a sound design to support implementation and deployment. (Of course, most security architects inherit an existing set of technologies. If these have grown up piecemeal over a significant period of time, there will be considerable legacy that hasn't been architected with which to contend. This is the far more common case.)

Developing Trust

Alfonso Bucero

Developing trust in any environment is key for success. Trust is so central to our lives that we take it for granted, like breathing air. We may see ourselves as trustworthy, but that does not count. We have to be seen to be trustworthy by all partners, colleagues, and executives. Being in a position of authority does not automatically mean that we will be trusted. Some people in authority are trusted, others are not, as can be seen from public attitudes to different professions. Within the workplace, trust is essential. Policy manuals and management methodologies cannot legislate for trust. The most influential managers tend to be the most trusted: people are prepared to work with people they trust, not with people they don't trust.

Building trust in relationships with customers, team members, and stakeholders is an essential skill for all members of a team. Trust is earned primarily by doing what you say you will do. Follow-through is absolutely critical to building relationships. Trust has to be earned, not claimed. A short example shows how untrustworthy we sound when we claim to be trustworthy. If you heard someone saying this, how much would you trust them?: "Look, Emily, I'm a great manager, I'm the best… Of course I'm very honest and I'm not lying, I always manage my team members very well…"

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

IT Infrastructure

Responsibility for Defect Support

Implementing a Green and Virtual Data Center

The Importance of Software Security

Why Green Works for Device Purchases

Mobile Security Issues

Effective Physical Security of a Mobile Device

Security for the Enterprise Mobile Device Life Cycle

Evolution of Mobile Threats

Licensing Cloud Resources and Services

Project Management

Agile Concepts for Project Management

Why Risk Management?

Five Principles of Building Strong Business Relationships

A Reality Check for Project Managers

Project Health Assessment Process

Establishing a Governance Model for Strategic Portfolio Management

An Effective Process-Based Management Approach: A Case Study

Case Study: Transparency during New Product Development Program

Interview with a Program Manager: Krissy Wolle

The Service-Based Project Leader

Leadership, Communication, Technology, and Complexity

Establishing Business Needs and Initial Project Scope

The Five Leadership Principles


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

Building the Foundation for Data Analytics

So What Is Big Data?

What Is Organizational Culture?

Ready Technology Trends

Overview of Information Security and Compliance: Seeing the Forest for the Trees

The Need for a Common Vision

Why Business Analytics?

Building Trust across Boundaries

Communicating across Cultures

Social Teams and Complexity

Understanding Leadership

Leadership, Likeability, and Life

Creating IT Road Maps to Manage Complex IT Scenarios

The Top Trends Shaping Analytics

Process and Productivity

Lean IT in a Hospital

Learn What to Improve and Why

IT's All about Processes

Scrum and Social Networking

Lean Management

What Is Six Sigma?

Software Design Challenges

Software Integration

How to Avoid Expectation Collisions

Resource Allocation and the Law of Diminishing Returns

Defining Processes

Process Engineering to Build in Quality and Drive out Waste

Deming's Wisdom in Process Planning


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.


June 18, 2015. Robert Gordon. Managing a Parallel Career.

June 23, 2015. Payson Hall. Why Your Schedule is Too Optimistic and How to Address It.

June 24, 2015. Nick Pietrocarlo. America May Run on Dunkin®, but Projects Run on People.

June 25, 2015. Ricki Henry. Advanced Risk Management: More than Impact and Probability.

June 30, 2015. Louis Poulin. Monte Carlo Simulations: What are They, and How Can They Be Performed in Excel?

July 1, 2015. Barbara vonHalle. Important Advances in Modeling 2015: The Decision Model, OMG Standard, and the New Frontier of Event Modeling.

July 2, 2015. Bruce Falk. Earned Value Management You Can Actually Use.

July 7, 2015. Neil Potter. Software / IT Lifecycle Recipes: Making a Process Do What You Want it To Do.

July 8, 2015. James Decker. When The Emperor Has No Clothes.

July 9, 2015. Hans Holmer. Cyber for Poets.

July 14, 2015. Elaine Law. Talking to the C Suite: Keys to Success.

July 15, 2015. Stephen Cohen. The Art of Software Architecture.

July 16, 2015. Randy Englund. Everything I Wish I Knew [about Project Management] When Beginning My Career.

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



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Improving Your Own IT Performance
Articles by Nancy Settle-Murphy

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...

Flip Your (Virtual) Meetings—Learning from Our Best Teachers
If teachers around the country are flipping their classrooms to keep students actively engaged, I wondered: Why can’t we apply similar concepts to flip our meetings? (Apparently, I am not the only meeting facilitator to ask this question. Please see links at the end of this piece.)

If you think that the idea of flipping your meetings has merit, I suggest targeting your virtual meetings first. Why? Well, running a virtual meeting can feel rather like trying to control a room of fidgety, distracted kids hypnotized by the screens of their mobile devices as they half-listen to the conversation. Just like teachers who enter the classroom as the bell rings, those of us who run virtual meetings have mere seconds to captivate imagination and provoke discussion. More...

Using Technology to Transcend Cultural Barriers
“I followed every best practice about running great virtual meetings, and bam! The whole thing still blew up in my face, and I have no idea why!”

My client Jim, a senior leader for a F500 oil company, left this panic-stricken voicemail right after his kick-off meeting to launch a major new global project. I was taken aback, since Jim had proven himself to be a reasonably competent meeting leader. Once we spoke, however, it didn’t take long to figure out what had gone wrong. Coming up with a sustainable remedy, however, took quite a bit more time. More...

How to Create a 12-Month Plan in Just Two Hours

Getting your group together and laying down plans for the next 12 months sounds like a good idea in theory, but it can be near impossible to persuade people to hunker down in a meeting room for a couple of days when their “day jobs” are so demanding. With the “The Magic Wall,” a group process, you just need to gather people in one room for about two hours to get the equivalent of a couple of days’ worth of planning work done. The Magic Wall process can be used in a variety of situations where people need to come together to brainstorm ideas, map out activities, or agree on priorities, all in a compressed period of time. More...

Untangle Your Virtual Team with the 10 Most-Needed Norms
Precious few virtual teams have explicit team norms, even for aspects of teamwork where the absence of shared norms can really trip a team up. Excuses include: "When would we have time to talk this through?" "Everyone pretty much knows how we need to work." "We're too busy." And my favorite: "It's too late to go backwards." In this article, I provide 10 "best practices" norms that can do the most to save time, reduce frustration and boost productivity of virtual teams. These examples include specific actions that can support each one. For this piece, I touch on virtual meetings, decision-making, the use of email, shared documents and scheduling, areas for which a lack of explicit norms can cause especially thorny problems for virtual teams. More...

How Virtual Leaders Can Help Others Thrive in a World of Complexity
According to Yves Morieux of the Boston Consulting Group, author of a recent Harvard Business Review article, "Smart Rules: Six Ways to Get People to Solve Problems Without You," the number of procedures, layers, interface structures, and coordination bodies have ballooned to 50-350% over the past 15 years, in a recent study of 100 U.S. and European companies. So with all of this analysis, tracking, reporting and coordinating, how do leaders ever focus on the "real work" that needs to get done. More...

Balance Innovation and Expediency for a Supercharged Team
What's getting lost in our single-minded quest for uber-efficiency is the relative luxury of idle thought, where we take the time to line our gray matter with the seeds of half-formed ideas which, with a little bit of nurturing, can spawn big innovations. To sustain competitive advantage, organizations have to innovate constantly. Easier said than done. That's because thinking creatively takes time and focus, two commodities that are in short supply. More...

When Your Team Is About To Implode, Watch for Signs and Act Fast!
This wasn't just any collapse. This was a whirling vortex, downward spiral, free-fall-at-a-thousand-miles-an-hour. The kind that you never want to open if you're a Boston Red Sox fan. Yes, baseball is only a game and the Red Sox are just an overpaid, underperforming group of players who ceaselessly inflict pain on their sports fans, 2004 and 2007 notwithstanding. Notice, that I did not refer to the 2011 Red Sox as a team. They were a collection of individuals who each seemed to play by his own set of rules and work toward his own goals. In trying to salvage something positive about my home team's shocking demise, I wanted to get a better grip on how and why talented, skilled players can suddenly stumble into oblivion. Here's a checklist of contributing factors, drawn from my client experiences, as well a little web searching. More...

How to Disengage Your Virtual Team in 10 Easy Steps
I'm in the midst of rolling out a new virtual leadership series for a client. We start every series by exploring the three building blocks of successful virtual team leadership (literally, the ABC's): Accelerating Trust, Building Social Capital and Creating a Level Playing Field. One major challenge comes up in every conversation: How to keep virtual team members engaged, enthusiastic, motivated and energized? Rather than writing a bunch of tips to help you engage virtual team members, I thought I'd flip it around and give you tips for disengaging your virtual team members. After all, we can all do with a little fun now and then! More...

Talk Trumps Text for Harnessing Hidden Know-How
Let's say your team, which is scattered across several locations, has to produce a complex, time-consuming proposal, with little time to spare. The team scours the web for relevant content, and they discover that others in your organization have tackled similar proposals. How can they mine this hidden know-how, when they are running out of time, and don't know exactly what to ask, of whom, or how? More...

Overcoming Time and Distance to Stay Connected, Engaged, and Energized
In a world where what was blindly fast is now excruciatingly slow, what was private is now all-too-public, and where meaningful discussions have given way to a stream of 140-character exchanges, a feeling of disconnection has become rampant across the workplace. 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.