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What’s happening this week at the intersection of management and technology: Getting “smart” with R&D spending; foiling the script kiddies; the quest for permanent agility.
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Accepting five inconvenient truths about project status reporting can greatly reduce the chance of being blindsided by unpleasant surprises. For instance, many employees tend to put a positive spin on anything they report to senior management. And when employees do report bad news, senior executives often ignore it. Overconfidence is an occupational hazard in the executive suite, and executives need to examine their own assumptions and beliefs about project status reporting.
The relentless advance of information technology today means that a key task of the business manager now is to cope with one wave of IT innovations after another. At any given time, an executive is likely to feel more or less inundated by a current wave, unsure of what all the commotion is about, unable to avoid the topic in conversation and yet suspicious that the latest “killer app” may be mostly hype. Is there a better way?
Research has shown that several factors influence a company’s ability to retain market leadership. However, one factor has largely been ignored: the psychological forces that drive decisions consumers make and, specifically, the degree to which people feel they have choices. Once people have learned a company’s technology interface, they become more efficient using that interface and are often reluctant to switch to products requiring new skills or allowing limited transfer of current skills.
The conventional wisdom is that products that have a strong established base of users can often trump higher-quality alternatives. But recent research suggests otherwise.
We’re all familiar with the power of volunteer contributions in the open source software movement. Now companies are finding additional ways to work with volunteer contributors.
How does a large, global corporation capture employees’ ideas for new technologies? An article from the Fall 2008 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review analyzes the results of IBM’s 2006 “Innovation Jam” — which involved 150,000 people.
The strategic planning model is due for a “new release,” one that enables companies to keep pace with changing environments, quickly create and adapt strategy and empower people throughout the organization to make effective choices.
A powerful way to implement advanced software technologies is through incrementalism. Each self-contained implementation sequence achieves a specific business result. Using the strategy at a large manufacturer of office furniture systems, the authors implemented supply-chain-planning and-scheduling software at six sites — on time and within budget. The three critical success factors were technology divisibility, technology and methodology fit, and technology and organization fit.
Microsoft’s approach to software product development allows teams to be creative and retain the autonomy of small groups by frequently synchronizing and stabilizing continuous design changes.
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