Naked CIO: Why it pays to pick your battles

Stand your ground on IT issues or live to fight another day?

A recent wrangle with marketing over control of a web service has reinforced an important lesson about conflict for the Naked CIO.

Often in IT we find ourselves stuck in a position where our creative and protective tendencies come into direct conflict.

On the one side, we are prognosticators and innovators, always wanting to promote rapid and effective change. On the other hand, we are steadfast and process-driven to ensure stability and availability of systems.

In that respect, we differ from our corporate colleagues, who almost always stand firmly in one camp or the other. Accounting, for example, defers to stability and availability, ensuring safeguards are always taken to preserve operations and reduce risk.

Hands at a meeting

The challenge is to promote change and gain the essential trust of colleagues through empathy with their business needs
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Marketing, meanwhile, lives in a fluid world where ideas are pursued with an almost careless regard for risk to ensure business growth no matter the consequences - consequences that almost always land squarely at the feet of a non-marketing team.

The position of IT, straddling the proverbial fence, raises some interesting and difficult situations. I try to preach responsiveness and focus on efficient service delivery on all projects. To be seen as an obstacle in any circumstance is a pet peeve. My goal has always been to prove that IT can be an enabler in the face of the more commonly held belief that it is anything but.

Due to a recent issue with the rollout of a new web feature, a mistake was made in the deployment of a production release, which prompted me to demand greater oversight of the processes involved.

Property disputed by IT and marketing

As we all know, web content and functionality is becoming the disputed property of IT and marketing in an intensifying turf war over who is best suited to manage and oversee this now-critical service.

No one disputed the change and, in fact, everyone understood the reason why better and more defined structure for web content releases should be adopted. However, by virtue of...