Six Quick Projects for IT Career Advancement

Want to move ahead? These simple tips will help you maximize your ROI on everything from management to hiring practices to job changes and more.

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Open Source Your Management Meetings

You want your vendor to help you innovate and it's just not happening. Maybe the problem is on your end.

Take a look at the invitation list for your IT management meeting. If all the e-mail addresses on the list have the same domain as yours, ask yourself: What's the big secret? Why are you so insular?

If you want innovation, you want your vendors to be your partners. So open up.

Open up your e-mail meeting scheduler and add a key individual from each of your most important vendors. That will only take a minute or two. Use the rest of the 20 minutes to brainstorm other ways you can start to treat your vendors as if they were on your own team. "Invite them to an annual brainstorming session to hear ideas on how to radically improve things," suggests P.V. Kannan, CEO of business process outsourcing provider 24/7 Customer.

If the vendors don't accept your invitation, you'll still have gleaned some very valuable information: Maybe it's time to shop around for new partners.

-Stephanie Overby

Buy the Pizza

Everyone knows the best way to get a programmer's attention is to feed him. To encourage better communication and skill sharing among the development staff, set up a "lunch and learn" meeting.

Says Darrel Damon, a software QA consultant, "Invite a selected group of individuals into a conference room, have pizza or subs or whatever, and have a guest speaker talk about a hot topic." This doesn't need to be a lecture. Just a 20-minute Q&A session on a hot topic with presenter who's a subject matter expert (SME).

Another variation on that theme, says Damon, is for the entire group to come up with a schedule. "Everyone is an SME on some subject," he points out. Everyone gets a turn as speaker, bringing the group up to speed on a relevant issue, such as, "How to properly document a bug."

Plus, adds QA specialist Brent Paine, if you buy the team pizza, "You're sure to get them to stay at least an hour longer. Therefore, you've actually gained 1x-p (x being the number of workers minus p, the cost of pizza)." Depend on a QA guy to define metrics for success!

-Esther Schindler

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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