The CIO and social media

Prompted by the article in today on the “social CIO” (in which I am quoted), I thought I would elaborate on this topic.

Last week I enjoyed reading Paul Coby‘s blog (British Airways CIO) on why he uses social media and found many similarities in how I use social media. Here is an extract from Paul’s entry.

Speaking personally, I write two blogs – this one and one a closed one at work, I use Twitter quite a lot and have an under-used personal account on Facebook.

Why do I do all this? The simple answer is because I like to. And why do I like it? Well, that’s harder to explain.

I like Twitter because it gives me “a sense of presence” and I might well tweet whether anyone followed me or not. I also like Twitter because I can see what various friends and colleagues are up to, sometimes stimulating messages back and forth. And I like Twitter because I can follow the Lotus F1 Team and learn what Mike Gascoigne and Tony Fernandez are feeling during a race and – to a lesser extent – follow how Norwich City are doing in the Championship.

Why do I like doing this blog? Well, I like writing – and always have done. As a historian and a mandarin (civil servant) you get the habit and a blog is, let’s face it, at least in part the modern way of vanity publishing.

You can use a blog to put your thoughts out there and see if anyone reads them. And, if you are lucky, you can strike up a dialogue or discussion.

Like Paul, I use Twitter a lot and like it. I blog regularly inside my organisation on a enterprise social media platform we have implemented in the last twelve months, use LinkedIn to manage my contacts, frequently use FlickR and You Tube but post little on them. My love affair with Facebook is over, we split up last year due to time pressures and the complications around privacy have kept me away.

I would like to write more on this, my public blog, and am hoping to find the courage to do so. I am not sure what I am worried about as I suspect it is only a handful of friends and family who know of its existence and have read my two entries to date. I suspect I will write more as my confidence grows and I realise that it is OK to get it wrong sometimes and say something stupid (after all, I do it all the time off line).

Why do I do it? Like Paul, I enjoy it, learn from it, find out what is going on in circles I am interested in, and hopefully inform some people of interesting and relevant things either through Twitter or my private work blog.

I suspect many people’s aversion to social media generally and Twitter more specifically is related to time and information overload. I suffered from this early on in my use of Twitter and am now much more disciplined, just as I am with email.

Finally, does all this connectivity, being online, switching between multiple digital media make us stupid, affect our lives and relationships and deteriorate the quality of our work? I will come back to this topic in the next few weeks as I will post a review of Nicholas Carr’s latest book The Shallows which I am about to start reading.

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Questions about projects…

I have procrastinated for months and have finally decided to start this blog. I will spend the next few months (probably years) blogging about change and IT projects (what is an IT project anyway?).

I am starting with questions about projects. This may seem unusual as most people want answers and not questions. I don’t have all the answers and in many cases there are no right or wrong generic answers as this topic is very contextual. I am hoping that the blogo- and twitter-spheres will generate fruitful discussions.

The following questions are categorised under General, Before, During and After a project.


  • What is an IT project?
  • Do IT projects have a better or worse failure rate than non IT ones (or ones that do not involve any IT)?
  • What is the human psychology around projects?
  • Why do smart, high achieving leaders initiate a large number of projects that cannot possibly be worked on and/or delivered simultaneously within their organisations?
  • Why do we train project managers and very few others (e.g. sponsors and business leaders)?


  • Why do people start projects without knowing what they want to achieve?
  • Why are most projects initiated with little thought about how to realise the desired business benefits?
  • Why are projects initiated and funding provided when organisational readiness is not assessed?
  • Why do people create big projects when they know that most of them fail?


  • Why do people at multiple levels, especially sponsors and project managers cover up the reality of the project status as well as problems/ issues/ risks that will in time be exposed?
  • Why do so few project board members genuinely engage in ensuring the project is being well run and will be successful?
  • Why do people rush the initiation phase of projects when we know that most problems can be traced back to this phase?
  • Why are so few sponsors willing to stop a project when the business case is no longer justified?


  • Why do so few organisations/sponsors measure the benefits they were expecting to deliver?
  • Why do so few organisations genuinely learn from the mistakes they make and build this into future projects?

I will attempt to answer these and other questions in the coming months and years, I will post links to relevant sites, people, papers and articles. All constructive feedback welcome.

Categories: Projects and change

Hello world!

I tried blogging a few years ago and failed miserably. I have since embraced social media, especially Twitter, and have decided to have another go at a blog. I, of course, fear that no one will be interested in my writings,  but will persevere because, if anything, I will have an outlet for my ideas and observations which will help me empty my messed-up overcrowded brain.

The blog will cover my thoughts on technology, education, leadership, politics, philosophy, science, family and anything else I feel like writing about. I hope that I will  enjoy the experience and that my reader(s) will as well.

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