Naked CIO: Why it pays to pick your battles

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

...installing these processes, there were extra steps and admittedly - I find it hard to admit - delays in being able to deploy web changes that happen hourly in my organisation.

My team were anchored in their view that allowing the access was a very bad idea and, for a variety of reasons, I should stand my ground in the name of best practice, due process, stability and oversight.

I do not often go against my team, and for that matter I often seek out their advice on such matters. But in this case I made a decision to relax the controls to allow for quick changes to be made without IT being an obstacle.

Why? That's a valid question. After all, I had just made a key decision that could affect the stability and availability of systems and services, and now I could be responsible by virtue of allowing uncontrolled deployment and access to a production website database.

Decision for strategists

The answer is simple - as a CIO, or any leader of IT, you have to fight many battles. As for any strategist, it is not about winning each and every battle that defines you but rather whether you can win the main struggle.

No one likes to retreat but there are times when picking the right battles to fight are more important than winning them all. In this case, we couldn't win. If we stuck to our guns, we became an obstacle, and if we didn't, we compromised one of our sacred tenants - system stability and control.

I don't know what you would have done but in this case I think my choice to live to fight another day was the right one. It was consistent with my vision to promote change and gain the essential trust of my colleagues through empathy with their business needs.

What would you do?