A key member of your leadership team isn\u2019t giving you straight information. Which is distressing, because straight, unvarnished, accurate perspectives are what you need most when formulating IT\u2019s strategies and plans.\n\nSadly, you can\u2019t escape the worst deceiver on your team. That\u2019s because the worst deceiver is the one you see when you look in a mirror.\n\nYou know who I\u2019m talking about. It\u2019s the person you\u2019re most likely to trust \u2013 who\u2019s most likely to tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear.\n\nYourself.\n\nBut don\u2019t worry. Unlike any other deceiver on your leadership team, you don\u2019t have to resort to drastic measures to deal with your self-deceptions. You just need to take off the blinders that steer your head away from unwelcome information. To get you started, I\u2019ve compiled a list of lies you\u2019re most likely telling yourself about what 2022 has in store.\n\nEmployees want to come back to the office\n\nWe used to think employees liked the sense of sociability and belonging that came from the friendships they formed at work.\n\nIt\u2019s time to peel this onion to the next layer. What it\u2019s starting to look like is that as long as they had to come into the office anyway, the interpersonal relationships employees were \u2026 nice.\n\nThat doesn\u2019t mean the opportunity to socialize makes employees actually want to come in to work. Some certainly do, but more are at best ambivalent. They figure as long as they\u2019re in the office, socializing is more enjoyable than retreating to their cubicles to tickle their keyboards and mice.\n\nBut all in all, the benefit of socialization doesn\u2019t even offset the frustrations of commuting.\n\nWe fully support remote workers\n\nThe pandemic probably has you thinking you\u2019ve got this remote thing down pat. You\u2019ve embraced the hybrid enterprise, and so far you\u2019ve been able to focus at-home staff\u2019s and at-home staff\u2019s management on what they can do. Keep telling yourself it\u2019s all good, even though you probably don\u2019t even monitor the reliability and performance of employees\u2019 home ISPs.\n\nSure, you\u2019re able to take a don\u2019t-blame-me stance on at-home ISPs, not that everyone won\u2019t blame IT anyway. Here\u2019s the bigger issue: Sure you\u2019ve rolled out Teams, Slack, or some other collaboration tool. Sure you\u2019ve made sure users have been taught how to operate the tools, congratulated the rollout team, and bragged about it to the executive leadership team.\n\nBut as with any other application implementation, the rollout isn\u2019t finished when employees learn how to operate the new tools. It\u2019s finished when employees have learned how to do their jobs using the new tools.\n\nSo unless fully online and hybrid meetings and are as natural and effective as the same people collaboratively solving problems used to solve them \u2014 getting together in a conference room with big whiteboards \u2014 the job isn\u2019t done. The experience has to be just as seamless and intuitive. And when meetings are hybridized, with some participants in the office and others in those little squares on everyone\u2019s laptop, problems only compound.\n\nAlthough you do get one gimme in all this. At least nobody has to try to find the one dry-erase marker that still has some life in it.\n\nOh, and one more thing: Everyone everywhere probably needs to pay attention to having effective meetings, period. Technology can\u2019t solve bad meeting habits. But you\u2019ve already got a handle on that, right? Right\u2026\n\nCOVID is last year\u2019s problem\n\nThis self-deception falls squarely into the category of wishful thinking. The pandemic is far from over, nor will this be the last pandemic. Viruses will continue to jump from one host species to another, and global travel means they won\u2019t become any easier to contain.\n\nIf we\u2019ve learned anything over the past couple of years, it\u2019s that pandemic prevention and mitigation should be a major section of your business continuity plan.\n\nWe think of the rest of the business as IT\u2019s customer\n\nNo, you don\u2019t.\n\nIf your average IT department ran a restaurant, and a customer came in to order the 16-ounce porterhouse, medium rare, an IT waitstaffer would say, \u201cI don\u2019t think so. You\u2019re looking kinda pudgy. I\u2019ll get you a house salad. Does low-fat ranch dressing sound good?\u201d\n\nIf your average IT department ran a hardware store and a customer came in to buy a ceiling fan, the IT store associate would say, in no uncertain terms, that the customer couldn\u2019t be trusted to install a ceiling fan without hurting themselves. \u201cI think this floor fan is the right answer for you. Need instructions on how to plug it into the outlet?\u201d\n\nBusinesses with customers don\u2019t make \u201cno you can\u2019t\u201d their default answer.\n\nWe\u2019re meeting our business SLAs\n\nMaybe you are, and maybe you aren\u2019t, but meeting a service level agreement is a far cry from success.\n\nAn SLA is a contract between IT, acting as a vendor, and some part of the business, acting as a client. As anyone who\u2019s been a vendor knows, clients only bring out the contract when there\u2019s a problem with the relationship.\n\nIf you were a real vendor, pointing to the SLA and arguing, \u201cSee? You\u2019re satisfied!\u201d would get you exactly nowhere.\n\nWell, no. It would get you even further away from somewhere than you started.\n\nA service level measure is a two-part metric. It defines the minimum threshold of acceptable performance, and the percent of time IT lives up to that minimum threshold. SLAs are IT playing defense. Most business managers only negotiate them with IT because IT tells them they have no choice. Because really, if IT doesn\u2019t meet its SLAs, what\u2019s the business manager going to do, sue?\n\nNo, really. We are meeting our business SLAs\n\nBusiness users, no matter what their role, go home and shop on Amazon. Amazon is never down and rarely slow.\n\nSome are gamers. Their gaming sites are rarely, if ever, down.\n\nSome share ideas on social media. We might wish Facebook would crash and burn for a few days but it doesn\u2019t.\n\nBusiness users also control their thermostats and door locks, see who\u2019s ringing the doorbell, and keep track of how much less exercise they\u2019re getting than their New Year\u2019s resolution says they\u2019re supposed to, all using smartphone apps.\n\nBusiness users\u2019 expectations of information technology, that is, are set at home and brought from there into the office. They aren\u2019t set by your SLAs.\n\nThe fact of the matter is, the whole idea of SLAs is a quaint relic of a bygone era.\n\nIf your goal is for everyone in the business to think highly of IT and the services it provides, make their experience as consumers your benchmark.\n\nUnless, that is, they use Comcast.\n\nI have a strong partnership with the chief digital officer\n\nKeep telling yourself that. It\u2019s a comforting thought.\n\nThe CDO\u2019s job is to keep track of what\u2019s possible given the current state of whatever technologies are high on the list of digital-enabled opportunities this year and connect the dots between them and business strategy. The CDO\u2019s role, that is, is to make promises. Your role is to keep them.\n\nWhich means it\u2019s your job to disappoint everyone by explaining what\u2019s possible on the planet you like to call \u201cearth\u201d given the constraints and other obligations IT has to deal with.\n\nGuess whose version of \u201cwhat\u2019s possible\u201d the rest of the executive leadership team will like better.\n\nWhat\u2019s that? Your company doesn\u2019t have a CDO? Congratulations! You\u2019ve ducked a bullet. So far, at least. If you want to keep on ducking it, keep your eye on the ball, namely, building and strengthening strong relationships with every member of the ELT.\n\nWe have a comprehensive cloud migration plan\n\nMore likely, you don\u2019t even have a reliable application inventory. And if you do, a lot of your cloud migrations will be what\u2019s politely called \u201clift and shift,\u201d which is the IT equivalent of pouring cheap brandy into a Courvoisier bottle. Batch COBOL remains batch COBOL; point-to-point batch interfaces remain point-to-point batch interfaces.\n\nAnd while I hate to be the bearer of bad news (okay, that\u2019s one of my lies), you won\u2019t know if your plan for migrating these to the cloud will deliver the performance you need while synchronizing data among DBMSs that live in different data centers thousands of miles away from each other.\n\nCloud as a place computing happens is less interesting than you might think from reading PunditWare on the subject. Cloud as an application architecture is what\u2019s important. So a comprehensive cloud migration plan refactors every application in the portfolio to a cloud-native architecture. I\u2019m not saying you should do this. I\u2019m saying it isn\u2019t a comprehensive cloud migration plan until you do this.\n\nIf you lift and shift instead of refactoring, you might see reduced platform license costs, but the flexibility and adaptability that come with true cloud-native architectures just won\u2019t happen.\n\nIf we\u2019re hit with ransomware, we\u2019ll be okay\n\nWell, maybe. Do you have the original installation files for all your applications safely tucked away on air-gapped servers? Do you not only back up your data but take frequent snapshots as well? Are you running an AI\/machine-learning-based tool to look for ransomware-ish patterns in your network traffic?\n\nThen maybe you\u2019ll at least be a harder target.\n\nOh, and if your ransomware strategy is to just pay the ransom and hope the attacker will restore everything as promised, remember this: Risk management recognizes exactly four responses: prevent (improve the odds), mitigate (reduce the damage), insure (share the cost), and accept (hope it doesn\u2019t happen).\n\nIf the risk is of an asteroid hitting the earth, wiping out civilization as we know it, and the prevention strategy relies on Bruce Willis getting there in time, accept isn\u2019t a bad strategy. Otherwise it\u2019s just being lazy.\n\nHope still isn\u2019t a plan. Click here to see what a plan looks like.\n\nWe won\u2019t have to start planning for Windows 11 until 2023 at the earliest\n\nOh, wait. This time you\u2019re telling yourself the truth. Give yourself a gold star.\n\nYour best 2022 Windows 11 strategy is to ignore it, for two reasons. First, you have plenty of time before migrating from Windows 10 becomes urgent, and in the meantime, you have bigger fish to fry. Second, a well-established rule of thumb for software from Microsoft is to never rely on the first release. Call it \u201cbest practice\u201d and insist that\u2019s what you\u2019re adhering to when anyone asks about it.\n\nYes, you should set up a test lab so your end-user support team can, in what they laughingly call their spare time, familiarize themselves with it, but that\u2019s all you need to do in 2022.\n\nI\u2019m honest with myself! Really!\n\nWhen it comes to lying, doing it to yourself is a lot easier than to someone else. When you lie to someone else, they\u2019re more likely to be on the lookout for it.\n\nWhich doesn\u2019t mean you should ask a trusted confidante if they think you\u2019re right about whatever the subject is. Trusted confidantes are almost as likely to tell you what you want to hear as you are.\n\nTo be honest about being honest with yourself there\u2019s no substitute for personal due diligence. Be on the lookout for what might sound like a convincing narrative but isn\u2019t rooted in verifiable evidence.\n\nAnd make sure everyone who\u2019s likely to disagree with you knows that even if they don\u2019t convince you, you\u2019ll always be receptive to their views.