10 lessons from Angry Birds that can make you a better CIO

By Daniel W. Rasmus, CIO |  IT Management, CIO role

The Rovio game designers built Angry Birds scenes from virtual elements like clouds and wood, concrete slabs and triangles of glass. Every material reflects different physical properties, and each one reacts in its own way to the different birds species. This makes the game more complex and more interesting. Unfortunately, being a CIO sometimes seems more complex and more interesting because technology follows the same pattern. Gone are the days when you can have a "programmer" fix a problem. User interfaces, networking, debugging and several other disciplines within development alone, require special skills, knowledge and talent. Compound that with operations, end user CRM, help desk, ERP, mobility and a host of the functions and the permutations of talent become clear. In Angry Birds you can't outsource talent, but in an era of tight budgets, CIOs may.

5. Blowing something up isn't necessarily felt everywhere

Angry Birds contains its own unique version of physics, but practical experience still seems to fit: if you drop a bomb too far away, or in an area with a lot of protection, you won't hit the target. For CIOs, think politics. If you want to implement broad change, you have to think about the business, and the IT environment as a holistic ecosystem. You can't just fiddle with a solution in the corner and hope that it will disburse throughout the organization. It takes a clear understanding of organizational physics to make change stick.

I remember several years ago working on an e-mail migration plan. Many little conversations led to a lot of commitment without action. It wasn't until the team went to the CEO and convinced him change was necessary that change happened. The CEO sent a note to his directs: I will stop communicating with you unless you are on the same e-mail system that I use. Systemic change occurred, e-mail migrations took place, and all if it occurred rather rapidly. CIOs who aspire to be good change agents need to deploy their political weapons with precision in order to create lasting change.

6. Most improvements are incremental

Achieving a high score in Angry Birds is hard. Most of the time when you clear a level the score is worse than your high score, and many times you don't even clear the level at all. If you want a high score you have to be patient and accept incremental improvement by applying lessons learned from past attempts. Every once in a while, you change a strategy or accidentally discover a new tactic that results in an exponential improvement in the score, but that is very rare. And then the pattern repeats, re-reaching the high score level is hard, surpassing it even harder.


Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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