This week, IT Consultant Republic features a daily journal of Mike Sisco, an IT consultant, author, and former CIO. In this installment, Sisco describes his Wednesday. See how you can apply his knowledge and experience to your career.

8:00 A.M. Administrative
A quick e-mail check reveals no outstanding issues on the U.S. HealthWorks (USHW) contract—always a good thing. (We’re migrating a total of 10 clinics in two states to USHW’s proprietary AS/400 system.) I spend about thirty minutes reading e-mail of interest from various sources.

8:30 A.M. IT management tools
I have an hour or so before I have to leave for a business meeting that features a demo of a medical-group software product, so I decide to work on the latest installment in my IT Manager Development Series publication project, “IT Staff Motivation and Development.” The section I’m developing now focuses on rewarding desired behavior.

This will be my sixth of ten publications in the series. I began writing the series early this year in a hope to provide practical insight and tools to help IT professionals manage their IT resources.

I made some headway in the past hour or so, and with a “late-nighter” and the weekend ahead, I should be able to finish this publication. Writing can be hard work, and like other projects, will tend to take longer than you initially plan.

It has been an enjoyable project and includes many late nights. If you are like me, once you get started on something that interests you, you can go for a long time. Completing a publication and sending it out to those that have purchased the series is very rewarding.


Catch up on other journal entries

Get more insight and advice from IT consultant Mike Sisco by reading his submissions from Monday and Tuesday.


10:15 A.M. Networking
I drive to a company nearby to sit in on a medical-group application software suite presentation and demo. There are four visiting companies attending, including myself, that have all had significant healthcare industry experience. Everyone is looking for an opportunity to help one another, which, in turn, will benefit us individually. The purpose of my presence at the meeting is to collaborate with this start-up company and to provide them with insight that might be beneficial to their software development efforts.

The presenting company is off to an excellent start. It’s obvious that the workflow design has been influenced by medical-resource insight because the product actually flows like a medical-group practice works. The company that developed it is seeking additional product definition help and wants to augment its sales and implementation capabilities with solution providers or resellers.

This is the first medical-group application I have seen that actually integrates practice management, financials (billing and A/R), and medical records well. At this stage, they do a nice job, and all of us that are looking at the products seem interested in pursuing more information.

The demo begins at 11:00 A.M. and ends at 2:00 P.M. It’s a long presentation but potentially is worth the time. Two of us agree to visit their corporate office soon.

I view it as an opportunity to learn more about the product and provide additional insight to them that might help their development and implementation efforts. It might also lead to a billable contract engagement to assist their efforts or to provide IT management training for their management team.

2:15 P.M. Networking
I visit two former business colleagues to learn a bit more about their new network monitoring and management system. We just get into a discussion when I receive a personal phone call I was expecting, and I have to leave. We make plans to meet early Friday morning so I can learn more about their services. I’m very interested because it looks like an excellent offering and another opportunity to help.

3:00 P.M. Personal
Personal issues at home take up the next three hours.

6:00 P.M. Networking
A former coworker who managed an assimilation group for me several years ago is in town, and he drops by for dinner and conversation. We also watch the Braves playoff game with Arizona. We win, so everyone is happy.

When he is in town, we usually get together to discuss issues, collaborate on ideas, and laugh a bit. He is a vice president of eWebIT, a local company that provides legacy system integration with real-time Web technology solutions for healthcare and other industry segments.

It is always beneficial to discuss problems, challenges, and strategy with another senior IT manager from a somewhat similar background. It helps validate thought processes and actually generates new thought.

10:30 P.M. Administrative
A quick e-mail check shows me that I need to answer one new question about the USHW project. I answer it and shut e-mail down. I think through the Florida and the Dallas projects quickly to determine if there is anything that I need to do tonight or tomorrow morning before the afternoon project status conference call. Looks like everything is lined up as needed.

10:45 P.M. IT management tools
I pick up the writing project and complete two sections before retiring at 1:00 A.M. The new sections are chapters entitled “Reward Accomplishments” and “Communication is a Two-Way Street.” Only four more chapters to go before I edit the entire publication, insert the clip-art images, and have it reviewed prior to releasing it to those customers that have ordered the full set of manuals. The closer you get to completion, the harder you tend to push.

Summary
Today was another good day, although the demo meeting was a bit long. Hopefully, it was an investment of time that will lead to something of value in the future. Getting more writing completed on the IT Manager Development Series was a big step on the personal-objectives front and always pumps me up.


How often do you network with former coworkers?

With so many consultants contracting with former employers, do you schedule regular networking meetings to try and drum up business with ex-colleagues? Do you disagree with this approach? Share your comments.