Question: Adapting the PCEO for IT Departments?

Question: Adapting the PCEO for IT Departments?

Michael Ramm, of the great productivity blog Black Belt Productivity, tossed a question to me the other day about the challenge of creating an Information Technology Version of The Printable CEO. Right now, the standard “design business” version of The Printable CEO uses the following point list:

When Something Is Worth Doing (for my New Media Business)

10: It’s life-sustaining billable work! 10: It’s signing new business! 5: It’s publishable code! Ship it! 5: It’s sharp visual design! Show it! 5: It’s concrete planning or accounting! 2: It’s new self-promotion! 2: It’s a new article for the blog! 2: It’s social or business development! 1: It’s maintaining an old relationship! 1: It’s making a new relationship!

Now, this list was tailored specifically for my own design practice, and most importantly, for my philosophy of business. To adapt this for the IT Industry, we need to tailor a list that encourages best practices AND the philosophy behind the work itself. This is a pretty broad question, because it essentially asks the following:

  1. What is the Goal of Information Technology?

  2. To Whom is the Goal of IT Important, Not Counting IT Professionals?

  3. What are the tangible signs that tell us that IT is actually fulfilling its goals?


p>The basic philosophy behind The Printable CEO, from the productivity perspective, has always been that (1) the things you do matter only if they can be expressed as a benefit to OTHER people and (2) You actually do those things and they are seen. That’s the motivation behind the three questions I’m posing.

Instead of making something up, I thought I’d pass along Michael’s question and see what people out there thought…an interesting discussion, I hope, will arise. IT is an interesting challenge because it is, oftentimes, invisible to the organization when it works.

I’ll have to do some research on current IT practices to get a feel for what it really is these days; the last time I looked at this was probably in 1994, when IT was a sort of “slush major” that combining core programming courses with an interactive design component.


Michael’s made an announcement on his blog as well, so this should be a fun cooperative nut to crack!

» Read Part II of this series


  1. Mark 16 years ago

    Optimistic: The goal of IT is to enable design (functional design, creative design, interactive design, etc).

    Cynical: The goal of IT is deliver spec and CYA.

  2. Michael 16 years ago

    I pondered these over the weekend, especially in the vein that I, as a 1-man IT Department, now have many more roles than I did in my previous employment.

    What is the Goal of Information Technology?

    <li>to provide a stable and secure infrastructure to maximize productivity</li>
    <li>to keep hardware and software current with needs of the users</li>
    <li>to support all users of infrastructure to achieve basic literacy and competence with basic IT tools</li>
    <li>to maintain a security program that protects the investments put into it</li></li>
    <li>to provide cost-effective results to achieve results and improve effiency</li></li>
    <li>to provide communication about plans and projects that are IT-related that affect the whole organization</li>

    To Whom is the Goal of IT Important, Not Counting IT Professionals?
    The goal of IT should be important to everyone in the organization. The tools that IT provides ensure that communications are available between the organization and the customer. The knowledge that IT provides can help make long processes more streamlined therby saving individual time and company money.

    What are the tangible signs that tell us that IT is actually fulfilling its goals?
    The only real tangible sign is that the business is running. When things break in IT, some process stops dead in the water. Whether it is a down printer that is needed to print out proposals, to a down computer that is the SR VP’s before his big meeting, to email that stops communication, to a down internet link that shuts down multiple streams, when IT breaks, more than just IT breaks.

    Just some thought. Please help us to make PCEO a better product for IT folks to us.