Archive for March, 2009

Managing Costs vs. Solving Business Problems

I recently read an interesting McKinsey Quarterly article on Managing IT during a downturn. IT spending and costs, like so many business functions, wax and wane with business cycles. Spending increases gradually over time before a shock or other external event occurs requiring significant and rapid cost cuts.

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Documentation, or thoughts on IT’s biggest nemesis

In a previous professional role I had the opportunity to meet and advise businesses of all sizes on their IT operations. I noticed something common to almost all organizations was a lack of adequate documentation.

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The Pleasures of Occasional Physical Labor

Volunteering for several organizations in the Providence area allows me an opportunity to meet my neighbors, help out community members and break the occasional sweat. I’m on the board of our local community garden, work on the plant sale committee for another organization and finally I’m a designated schlepper for another organization. Given work and family obligations there is only so much time available so I choose to take a leading role in some organizations while taking smaller roles in others.

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Networking lunches – neither fish nor fowl

Networking lunches are an interesting beast – neither fish nor fowl. You sit on one side of the table with an air of quiet desperation while your counterpart across the table hunkers down hoping to survive the next inevitable round of layoffs. At least that’s the way it feels to me sometimes.

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Digging Holes and other memories

My very first W-2 paying job was as a construction laborer for a small family construction company one very hot Virginia summer. The job, given my relative lack of skills, was doing whatever I was told to do – usually it meant picking up scraps and trash, moving dirt and cement in wheelbarrows, carrying shingles up to roofs and digging footings. All for the princely sum of $3.35 an hour – minimum wage at the time and I was probably overpaid at that. After taxes I think my checks were something like $118.00 for 40 hours of sweating in the sun.

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