Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lessons Learned from the Federal Health-Exchange

I received a phone call recently asking for my opinion regarding to the lessons learned from the Federal Health Exchange (healthcare.gov). It is really on the spotlight recently, for both political and practical reasons. What I can say is that this is not a big surprise. Many IT projects are implemented this way today, just not being caught in the big stress test under spotlight like this one. One of the important lessons learned is the importance of overall planning, architecture, and leadership. Actually, the federal government has well recognized the importance of such matters, and made legislation requirement for enterprise architecture across departments and agencies. The key, however, is How to Do It Effectively 

In other words, we can say: this is an un-accomplished IT paradigm shift meets a practical challenge. The demands are moving fast then IT shifting in action. A very good alert! It also revealed how important IT is today in order to achieve business goals.
We need a good plan for the project like this one, and need a good leader with vision and subject matter expertise, as the major stakeholder.
We need good overall architecture to serve as guidance for not only the planning and development, but also for test and verification. This is the typical short fall in current practice, and this one just happened to be in the spotlight and experienced a practical stress test. Piecemeal and ad hoc don't work anymore for current big and widely connected systems. The quality of architecture products makes big difference.
We also need inter-enterprise architecture, as I proposed earlier, to guide the collaboration across organizational boundaries. The architecture products are not only for compliance or showcase, but also for real usages as its real and ultimate purpose. We need the architecture leader (i.e. the chief architect) as the expert in the subject domain, not only the coordinator and manager.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The New Generation Leadership Model


In my previous articles, it has been discussed that the new enterprise structure and culture should evolve continuously towards collaboration with horizontal connections instead of in hierarchical structure with stovepipes and territory divide. This is to fit the nature of Internet Eva with connected and flattened world. During such evolution, the leadership model should be an integral part as well. The old command and control leadership style will be lessened, and the new collaborative and motivational style will be increased. It is interesting to see that the new leadership style suits the nature of woman better than man.

It is noticeable that a happy family usually has a good leadership team, father and mother. They work well together collaboratively to lead and manage the family. How well they work together is critical for the successfulness of the family. We all know the importance of the “mom” role at home. She takes care, manages, and supports the family members. She gets respect due to her established authoritative role by doing, and that glue the family together. This model could be extended to work place as well. Yes, the new leadership model needs a balance of Yin-Yang.

Naturally, woman tends to be more collaborative and compassionate, can be better in gluing the team together, while less in command and control. The new generation leadership model is a model with “Yin-Yang” balance, i.e. the balance of male and female, as in nature. What happening in Capitol Hill is a good example in lacking of “Yin-Yang” balance. We need more woman leaders, especially in Capitol Hill!