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Quotes

For easy reference, following are some favorite quotes of mine from various posts and pages on this site (as indicated by their “titles”), plus a few yet to be published.  They are more or less in reverse date order (most recent at the top).  I hope you find them of use and value.  You may use them per the copyright rules for this site. — DP Harshman

  • Author Note: “Take care of your fundamentals, and your fundamentals will help take care of you.”
  • IT Organization Models:
    • Organizational Rule #1:  If it doesn’t flow it won’t go.”
    • “Organizational Rule #2:  if an organizational structure is too complicated it is also too unstable, i.e.  production will flow in inverse proportion to the degree of complexity.”
    • “Organizational Rule #3:  organization’s have “directionality” – at least vertical and horizontal.”
    • Reminder:  the Purpose of IT is to build and support systems that help the users do “it” better whatever “it” is.  The “better” portion of that statement may be achieved incrementally but, nevertheless, the fact of constant improvement does not alter the above statement.”
    • What you fail to prepare for … is what will get you. … What you haven’t thought of and planned for … is what will get you.”
    • “KISKIF (for business) = Keep It Simple Keep It Flowing”
  • Seventh Triple Constraint:
    • “So, for our purposes a constraint is something that limits the freedom of choices for, and possibly the ability of, a project team to take up and complete a project.”
    • The Seventh Constraint is:  Commitment.”
  • Simple Defined More: “One mind, one point of view, cannot think of everything.  However.  With practice, and when permitted to do so, multiple minds of sufficient expertise, when coalesced into a team, can come awfully close, when permitted.”
  • Simple Defined:
    • The engineer’s definition of “simple” is:  each element of the problem broken down into … bite-sized “consumable” pieces of useful, usable, understandable information … that helps resolve the whole.”
    • Rule:  the essence of good design is taking into account what is and what should be while allowing for what could be.”
    • Rule (IT):  If a requirements and/or design element doesn’t make sense, there is still something(s) you don’t know or don’t understand, or both.  The correct response is NOT to ignore it and go on (maybe coming back to it later) but, rather, to research and clarify it.  When you clarify it, it will simplify.”
  • Cost Cutting IT Is Not The Answer:
    • “When you cut costs, you cut functions and services to your business and customers.  So do so only with a very good reason.  When you out-source and/or off-shore you are giving up control … and power.  So do so only with the very best, verified reasons.  When buying off-the-shelf software (remember “Build vs. Buy”?) you are giving up, to some degree, control (over how you do business) … and power (over setting future directions).  So, here too, do so only with a very good reason and sufficient homework.
    • “Negatives, over an extended period of time, are not sustainable.  To manage a negative, which is sometimes required, you need to, you must, offset it with a greater more productive positive.”
    • You get what you measure. … You get what you focus on.
    • True ROI, defined:  an actual verifiable Return On Investment for the company and the customer.”
  • Characteristics of IT Newbies:
    • “Just keep in mind that power is not generated by constantly changing the components making up an “engine”, power requires stability (and direction).  Another way to look at it, as I noted elsewhere, is: … Power isn’t generated by moving the windings, magnets and bases around all of the time.  Power is generated with and from stability.”
    • “The antidote for new “IT Guy” characteristics is:  discipline, communication, and mentoring.  IT is an engineering discipline and deserves the respect of same.”
  • Idea To Execution:
    • ‘Information is power’ is an inaccurate and incomplete statement.  The correct information applied to the correct leverage point at the correct time for the correct duration is power.”
    • “‘Just do it’ is not an order you ever want to give to IT.”
    • “If you want an ROI from IT you need to invest in IT … starting with your time.”
    • “How a project is executed varies, depending on the scale (size) or degree of complexity of the project, or both.”
  • “First-Aid Kit For IT Management Plans:  Train it, Tweak it, or Terminate it”
  • Risk Management-Risk Analysis:
    • “A risk is composed of a “vulnerability” and a “threat”, i.e. a vulnerability-threat pair.  If there is no vulnerability or no threat there is no risk, but “no risk” is not the same as ‘no known risk’.”
    • “The Purpose of Risk Management:  is to identify, analyze, manage, and monitor unknown and known vulnerability-threat pairs and retire them as soon as legitimately possible.”
  • Four Fundamental Life Cycles Of IT:
    • When you transfer risk you also transfer power, over you and your organization, to the out-side agency(s).”
    • While off-shoring nominally transfers risk into someone else’s lap, and may reduce some costs on a short term basis, it also transfers power and, ultimately, control and profits.”
    • When you put all four Life Cycles together and treat them holistically … you will be able to build a successful IT organization with which you can routinely deliver:   … products and services that are viable, desirable and sustainable; products and services that allow your customers to do something better and provide them an ROI on their investment too.”
  • Executive Survey And Checklist Part I:  “Look, Ask, Listen, Verify.  And don’t forget to ask your techies.”
  • “Quick-Fix IT Repair Plan:  Stabilize, Simplify, Standardize”
  • “I learn what I need to learn when I need to learn it.   And then I move on and learn the next thing and use that.  Building always towards a critical mass leading to ‘better, cheaper, faster’ without sacrificing fundamentals.”
  • “Change to improve, yes.  Change because others are changing, no.  Have a good reason for change.  Similarly:  Off-shoring to expand, yes.  Off-shoring to economize, no.  Have a good reason for off-shoring.”
  • “You know (or should know) your business better than IT.  IT knows (or should know) its business better than you.”
  • “If one applied the same rigorous examination of data and results to politics as is done in successful businesses, there would be a good deal less trouble and far fewer problems.”
  • Job Skills:
    • “Problem Solving:  This  is the epitome of a top-flight executive and manager.  More than any other, the ability, or lack of, to utilize this skill group makes or breaks the individual in these roles.  Problem solving is the art and science of recognizing there is a problem, being willing to delve into the problem, delving into the problem, and then coming up for air with a workable solution in hand that has maximum benefit and minimum risk.”
    • “Directing: This is the action and activity of setting the direction for an area or endeavor and then ensuring everyone moves in that direction.  It is not managing, per se, though anyone who directs also manages.  Direction involves setting  short and long-term goals and the boundaries for the effort.  Goals are defined by operating plans, business plans, production targets, etc.  Boundaries are defined by job descriptions, best practices, policies, procedures, and so forth.  Managing, is getting everyone in the group to follow and use the above, as well as monitoring their quality of work, dealing with individual issues and problems and so on.”
    • “Managing:  Though there are distinct differences between management and administration, for our purposes I have lumped them together.   Managed implies hands on coordination of individual and team efforts, it implies leadership and supervision.  Administered has more of a planning, scheduling, and coordination implication, all of which can be done without having a single direct-report.  Both skills are required to be a good manager, however.”
    • “Conceptualize:  This group is the bread-and-butter of IT systems design and sustainment.  Other than some hardware — and often most of that is somewhere else — there is absolutely nothing to touch in I.T.  One is dealing with moving and “stored” electrons and their routing and eventual display.   If one cannot conceptualize not just one but multiple abstract concepts and their dynamic relationships simultaneously, one cannot survive in IT as an “IT guy”.”