What We’re Reading from the May 1, 2011 Issue of CIO Magazine

Books, blogs and research about IT, management and leadership.

Little Bets 

How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

By Peter Sims

Book Big ideas can change the world, but constantly refining smaller ideas can work just as well. Sims finds that pioneering companies such as HP, Amazon, Pixar and Apple can all attribute their success to an approach familiar to practitioners of agile development: Break a project down into small parts, apply real-world constraints to those parts, and have teams complete each piece individually, solving problems as they arise, with little top-down direction or long-term planning. Free Press, $26.00

Rescue the Problem Project 

A Complete Guide to Identifying, Preventing, and Recovering from Project Failure

By Todd C. Williams

Book According to Williams, two-thirds of all projects blow deadlines, go over budget or don’t deliver as promised. This book aims to give you the tools you need to recognize a failing project and determine what you can do to salvage it, starting with deciding whether it’s worth saving and what goals are now realistic. Williams cites dozens of real-world examples with problems you know well, such as scope creep and troubles with subcontractors. Amacom, $32.95

Sharing Hidden Know-How

How Managers Solve Thorny Problems with the Knowledge Jam

By Katrina B. Pugh

Book Effectively capturing and sharing knowledge remains a huge challenge. Pugh argues that companies can get over some of the hurdles by letting users drive how knowledge is captured and shared, and by having them impart what they know in collaborative jam sessions. These meetings bring out the necessary context and detail needed for the information to be useful. The book includes sample templates for jams and tips for conducting them. It also gives a good idea of what IT resources are required to use this method of knowledge sharing. Wiley, $35.00

IBM X-Force 2010 Trend and Risk Report

By IBM researchers

Research To find out what threats are menacing your networks and devices this year, check out IBM’s most recent biannual security report. It’s packed with more than 100 pages of valuable data, graphs and charts. Among the findings: More vulnerabilities were reported last year than ever before, and 49 percent of those were weaknesses in Web applications. Botnets and PDF exploits continue to get more and more popular, but spam volume dropped off slightly toward the end of last year. http://ibm.co/gzbSMs (registration required)

Paul Coby’s Blog

About Business, Technology and People

By Paul Coby

Blog Everyone hates the airline industry lately, but this blog might soften your opinion. Coby, IT director of retailer John Lewis and previously CIO of British Airways, puts up a spirited defense of what IT has done and will do for airlines. Coby says in recent posts that IT has wrangled with the massive quantities of data required to sell tickets and keep planes in the air, enabled perks such as frequent flier programs and self-service kiosks, and figured out how social media will shape the industry. http://paulcoby.wordpress.com

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