The big picture
Get the best people, wait if you must
Clayton Wakefield: Exceptional people, exceptional results — that is a lesson learned over time. Taking the time and getting the right people is very key. Because of the economic conditions, some of the companies are buying on price rather than value so it is driven by economic conditions. But at the end of the day, to get results you need to get the value that comes down to getting the right and the best people. Experience is important, a few grey hairs don’t hurt.
David Graham: That includes working with clients — do they have the resources as well? The whole team dynamic needs to be right. Teams work together when they know the people they have some affinity with.
Team dynamics is important
Clayton Wakefield: There are big challenges here. The economic climate has created that a bit — less money, shorter time frames, and staff under pressure. So you have got to put good leadership in, look after your people. The culture in IT is complex, high pressure, there are some big deliverables, complex transitions and migrations so you have to work at making sure it is enjoyable. We have all seen unhappy teams deliver bad results and we have seen good, positive motivated happy teams deliver terrific results.
David Graham: You have to celebrate success as you go along. It takes different forms. It could be getting together over lunch with people you worked closely together, in a non-pressurised environment to just talk and reflect, sending small acknowledgments for a good job well done.
Focus on the ‘big picture’ — always
Clayton Wakefield: We often get invited to solve a problem and actually it is half the issue. One of our clients asked for help around strategy around cloud services — very topical. The initial assessment was, do I need cloud computing? And the final assignment was, what is my IT capability and how does cloud computing become part of it?
Another client had 15 projects going on in one space so we put these together into one programme of work — instead of having 15 steering committees, 15 stakeholder groups and 15 project plans. They were all interconnected. If you summarise what that is all about — it is: ‘See the big picture.’
David Graham: You need to be very clear about what the outcomes from the business and technology are; making sure a common language is in place. If you invest a bit of time upfront to know what the focus is on, prioritising thereafter is so much easier.
A solid track record develops trust
Clayton Wakefield: Trust between people irrespective of contracts is very important. We can say [to clients], ‘This isn’t right’. To be able to tell the truth all the time and to be honest with what is going on is very crucial. Because of the completely independent nature we have, that is something we can do. It is very interesting and in some cases, refreshing.
David Graham: Having that independence is important if you have a number of vendors that might offer different solutions. We are trying to achieve clarity and bring the solution that is the right fit for the client. We are brokering, facilitating a lot of that.
Be open to different perspectives.
Clayton Wakefield: We deal with a lot of CIOs, projects managers, general manager and architects. Inevitably they see their own world. It is very valuable for them to get out and talk to a lot of other people and see other perspectives. [As a CIO] I would like to have spent more time talking to other people in the industry about similar issues that we had.
Everybody thinks they have got a unique problem. They think they are in a worse shape than all of their peers. In reality, everyone has got fairly similar issues and they are slightly different in scale. By connecting people up, it gives them the confidence that they know it is not an impossible situation to be in.
David Graham: Once you remove the perceived barriers associated with competition, clients are much more willing to be open and share especially when they realise their issue is not so different.
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