Staying the Course as a CIO

Jonathan M. Mitchell

Published by

Wiley

ISBN

1 118 96887 1

RRP

£29.99

Reviewed by

Sheila Bullas MBCS CITP

Score

10 out of 10

The subtitle for this book is ‘How to overcome the trials and challenges of IT leadership’. It could just as appropriately be subtitled ‘How to keep your job’.

Having been a CIO myself and having helped other CIOs for many years, I am well aware of the trials and tribulations of this difficult position and can identify, from different perspectives, with all of them. The job length of a CIO is often shorter than that of an unfortunate football manager.

Jonathan has over 30 years’ experience in global blue-chip companies. He built his IT career at BP and GSK, where he became a vice president. He held CIO and other senior positions at Rolls-Royce for more than a decade. In 2014, he became the non-executive chairman of global CIO practice at Harvey Nash.

Jonathan is spot on in his analysis. He describes the worst trials and challenges that face a CIO and offers practical ways in which to tackle each of them. He does this in a very readable and humorous (but never flippant) way.

In each case he describes the nature of the trial, how it comes about, how you can spot it early enough to do something about it and suggestions on what you might do. For certain trials he also suggests the point at which it is probably too late to do anything but accept the inevitable.

He starts with the challenge that I have at the top of my list: dislocated stakeholders. Losing the confidence and support of key stakeholders, particularly board members, is almost certainly terminal.

He highlights ‘chronic consultancy syndrome’ which can precipitate or follow on from the former. ‘Pathogenic projects’, ‘shaky software’, ‘obsessive outsourcing compulsion’, ‘strategy schizophrenia’ and ‘bleeding budgets’ are all important challenges that are discussed.

If you are a CIO or thinking about taking on the position, this book should be on your list of essential reading. It may enhance or save your career one day.

It is an excellent book.

Further information: Wiley

February 2015