Stories by Kathleen Melymuka

Has IT process standardisation gone too far?

The move to standardise processes has gone overboard, say M Eric Johnson and Joseph M. Hall in this month's Harvard Business Review. Some processes, they argue, are more akin to art than science and need to be treated that way. Johnson, a professor of operations management at Dartmouth College, says artistic processes are essential in IT and explains how to know when you need one.

Software audits: not a case of if, but when

“There are two types of companies: those that have been audited [for software violations] and those that will be.” So says Robert J Scott, managing partner of legal and technology services firm Scott & Scott. Recent settlement fines for software licence violations have topped US$500,000 (NZ$800,000), says Scott, and that’s only a small part of the true cost to an audited company. Scott, who has extensive experience defending companies in software audits, spoke with Computerworld’s Kathleen Melymuka about your rights and responsibilities.

How to pick a project team

When Bill Hagerup was a novice project manager, he attended a meeting in which managers were picking people for upcoming projects. He let the other project managers step all over him and ended up with the leftovers. "The project didn't go well, and I vowed I would never let that happen again," he says.

Risk management seen key to IT security

PALM DESERT, CALIFORNIA (03/10/2004) - In IT security, emotional reactions, panic and legislation are counterproductive. But intelligent risk management can enable organizations to face an uncertain future optimistically.

Carr: Spend less on IT; Metcalf counters

PALM DESERT, CALIFORNIA (03/09/2004) - Does IT matter anymore? In a sharp debate late Monday that marked the end of day one of Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders Conference, author Nicholas G. Carr asserted that IT has largely lost its ability to provide companies with a competitive advantage, while Bob Metcalf, the inventor of Ethernet, rebutted Carr's views.

Legal land mines

FRAMINGHAM (09/22/2003) - CIOs struggling with the technical implications of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act may be wondering what other ticking bombs are hidden under the IT landscape. We asked lawyers who specialize in technology to identify some of the more explosive risks and mitigation strategies. Here's what they said: Security

Nurture the B team

It's always about the stars, the A players on the fast track to bonuses, promotions and glory. IT leaders will do nearly anything to get them -- and keep them. But what about the rest of us?

Layoff survivors

Early in December 2002, Allmerica Financial CIO Greg Tranter stood before his assembled IT team of about 500 and announced the news all CIOs dread: Despite intensive cost-cutting and the layoffs of 42 colleagues the year before, 65 more IT people would be laid off that day.

The elevator speech

A few weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal ran a column on the dreaded elevator encounter. It discussed the terror many rank-and-file employees feel at the thought of sharing a 30-second ride with the CEO or some other top executive for fear they'll commit some career-ending faux pas.

Handling the problem employee

Motivating problem employees is a perennial challenge for IT managers. In this month's Harvard Business Review, Nigel Nicholson, the director of the Centre for Organisational Research at London Business School, argues that trying to motivate such people may be the wrong approach. He talked with Kathleen Melymuka about a method designed to help them motivate themselves.

The 'dark side' of leadership

To lead is to live dangerously, and leaders who ignore the danger can find themselves taken down, write Ronald A Heifetz and Marty Linsky in last month's issue of the Harvard Business Review.

How to get your boss to listen

Feel that your boss or colleagues just aren't listening, no matter how skillful your argument? You may be focusing too much on content and not enough on how you deliver your message, writes Gary A Williams in this month's Harvard Business Review.

Executive Education On a Shoestring

The recession, time constraints and the fallout from Sept. 11 have left many IT shops searching for thrifty, quick, non-travel-intensive alternatives to traditional management and leadership education. Purveyors of Web-based classes are eager to fill the breach, but many IT managers wonder what they may be missing when they trade in their plane tickets for solo flights at their desktops.

Surviving redundancy

It's been a tough year for 27-year-old Stephan Koledin. On June 7 last year, he was laid off from his software development job at The Motley Fool, located near Washington DC.

Survey highlights gender gap on IT issues

Sixty-two percent of IT women believe there is a glass ceiling in the industry, while 62 percent of IT men do not. That's one of the findings of a survey conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide for Deloitte & Touche LLP/Deloitte Consulting.