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I recently read the following blog article by Nicole Blake Johnson ( and about fell out of my chair.  I see it time and again throughout many government and commercial enterprises.  Organizations that are way out of whack.  How can an enterprise be any where near efficient, agile, cost effective, rigorous, and results oriented with so many layers of bureaucracy?  27 different CIOs and 10 Deputy CIOs for the same governmental department?  Really?  Seems like a lot of redundancy, overlapping responsibility, conflicting strategies, complexity, contradictory standards, and excessive cost.  No wonder many are skeptical of IT.

Those that are skeptical about IT ever providing bottom line benefit can now relax. I am not out to debunk the bottom line cost reduction.  In fact, I am advocating that we in IT examine the structures by which we manage ourselves. IT must evolve (  I am a big believer in cost reduction (  Identifying with people and becoming a part of a team to execute upon a vision is not something that can be done via 1′s (ones ) and 0′s (zeros) or a leaderless group.  Leaders are necessary and important, but 27 chiefs?  Seems like a lot of cooks in the kitchen at the same time with their own ovens, refrigeration devices, and utensils.  Management levels are important to support diverse and broad groups; however, too many management levels creates undue complexity and poor communication, the exact things management is supposed to eliminate.  Management is to facilitate the interaction among people that, in turn, creates alignment and transforms what once was chaos or partially aligned into a well tuned engine that serves the organization with:

  • Agility
  • Efficiency
  • Cost Containment
  • Simplicity
  • Rigor
  • Results

We cannot attempt to accomplish these things if we have individual chefs that order their subordinates around the same kitchen with 26 other chefs that are not aligned.  It has been my experience that 27 of anything is likely to have many more variations than similarities.  Thus, elimination of the number of chefs and a reporting structure that gives authority to 1 master chef is required.  Thank goodness someone has been thinking along these lines in the Federal Government, never too soon.  Just as we must take steps to streamline the technology, we must also streamline the organizational structure.  I am not saying that we should lay-off or fire every other manager.  I am saying that organizational development must unfold in a manner that is consistent with the goals and vision of the entire organization.  A separation in the duties of subordinate entities within an organization is the antithesis of alignment, fiefdoms or silos.

I am not railing on managment but the fundamental flaws that IT has traditionally been known for (  The way in which we structure IT is a direct correlation to how effective it is perceived and delivers results.  The old addage still holds true, KISS – keep it simple stupid.

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