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How to Make Your CIO Angry in 10 Easy Steps

        posted by , October 21, 2011

As a enterprise architect it's your job to contribute to the CIO's success — to keep the CIO happy.

No matter how committed and professional you are — things can go wrong. If they do, you may end up on the CIO's bad side (not a good place to be). Here are the 10 common ways that Enterprise Architects end up irking the CIO.

1. Championing an initiative that fails

This is the big one. If you champion a major project that fails — the CIO may forgive you (or may not).

2. Giving bad advice

If you're lucky enough to gain trusted advisor status with the CIO — make sure your advice is good. Encouraging the CIO to jump off an architectural cliff isn't going to score you many points.

3. Slacking

If everyone's killing themselves on a major ERP implementation and you're completely disengaged the CIO won't be happy.

4. Failure to deliver

Making commitments that you can't deliver. It's better to under promise and over deliver.

5. Over promising to the business

You should never promise anything to the business unless you can personally deliver. Never make promises on behalf of the CIO.

6. Dreamy architecture

Ivory tower architecture is unlikely to impress your CIO.

7. Challenging the CIO's Architectural Vision

The CIO will have his own ideas about architecture. Differences of architectural opinion can be a real point of contention between strong willed architects and the CIO.

8. Challenging the CIO's Projects

Shooting down or delaying the CIO's favorite projects with the EA governance process.

9. Exposing the CIO's skeletons

Enterprise architecture is a powerful tool for enhancing IT transparency. Some CIOs don't want IT to be transparent.

If your CIO has a few skeletons in his closet — don't go around telling the business about it.

10. Challenging the CIO for his job or closely aligning yourself without those who are.

I once worked with a DBA who was spamming the CEO (within days of being hired). He documented all the things the CIO was getting wrong and gave presentations to anyone who would listen. He was promptly fired.

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