Barrier busters

Barrier busters

I just wanted to respond to your passionate editor's comment on CEO Conference dialogue (CW April 12, P16), CIOs join reality TV genre. Greentree recently held a conference for our channel partners, most of which are Australian organizations. The organizations were represented by senior management, principals, ITC consultants and sales people. I guess your enthusiasm sort of captured my imagination and linked directly to some steps Greentree took to engender an interactive conference, which included having partners create 'spotlight' scenarios such as the senior executives of one of our partners discussing the mid market ERP competitive landscape. Adopting an interviewer and interviewee style certainly created a lively debate. The audience could ask questions of the expert (interviewee) after the formal interview. This seemed to help break down barriers and get everyone talking. Another bold feature of the conference was 'The Great Partner Giveaway'. This challenged the senior members of each partner business to bring something of physical 'real' value to the table and present that item to the gathered audience. The ethos of the 'Giveaway' was to create more collaboration and a spirit of sharing within the Greentree family for the common good and what started as a nice little idea soon became the highlight of the conference with waves of rapturous applause and masses of interactive dialogue firing across the room. 'Giveaways' included add on software diagnostics, file searchers, shortcut tips and tricks, training manuals, RFP scoping tools and sales presentation templates. The debate didn't stop when the conference finished, subsequent dialogue has seen the partners enter into forum-style gatherings online with more sharing and caring interaction. On reflection and linking back to your comments - stepping outside of the usual comfort and expectation zone and interacting innovatively has enabled enhanced communication and relationships. I'm sure as a result of this, business will also prosper.

Paul French, Communications Greentree International Ltd Auckland NZ

Picture it in stages

I was very pleased to read Mary Pratt's article, Earned value management, (online and in CW print April 19, p18). Earned value management (EVM) is a central component of our approach to successful project performance management.

Recent headlines are littered with news about failed IT projects. EVM adds discipline and rigour allowing us to obtain an early indication of project trajectory, and helps ensure successful delivery, with no unpleasant surprises at the end.

As the managing director of a 'smallish' Australian e-business and IT services company, using EVM helps us occupy a market niche as specialists in the staged delivery of projects that must meet aggressive deadlines.

I'd like to address one specific point in the article, attributed to Quentin Fleming (University of California), quoted as saying, "IT shops would have to thoroughly define, scope and budget their projects in advance rather than employ incremental development."

Fleming is right about needing to "thoroughly define, scope and budget projects" to use EVM. However, EVM and "incremental development" are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Incremental development doesn't have to be a case of "Let's just make it up as we go." We employ an internally developed "staged" (or incremental) development approach that keeps the total business picture in mind, but develops the solution in stages delivering the most important customer and business requirements first. Market feedback then shapes future requirements and releases.

Sergio Tarzia, Managing director 4LOOP Melbourne

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