Career advice: Running projects across time zones
One of our Premier 100 IT Leaders on the future of IT, steering a co-worker away from talk about politics and more
Computerworld - Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader William A. Sztabtnik
Title: Executive vice president
Company: Citigroup Inc.
Sztabtnik is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader, answering questions about communicating across time zones, influencing a new CIO, the future of IT and more. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to email@example.com.
Sztabtnik's responses reflect his own opinions and not those of Citigroup.
I'm overseeing some projects that are being carried out by a team that's scattered across the country, as well as in India. Communication is our big issue. Any advice on how to improve it? Having worked on several projects of a global scope, I can empathize with the hurdles you are currently facing. Keeping a team in sync spanning multiple time zones can be challenging, as the ability to communicate in real time is limited, if not impossible. I believe that basic project management using collaborative tools is essential here and the key to success. Detailed meeting minutes and project plans from all regions need to be kept current and available to the entire team. You might also consider recording conference calls. Meeting minutes ensure that your team is made aware of the results of regional meetings that they may not have been able to attend. You might also consider rotating the times of meetings so that everyone shares the pain of off-hour gatherings. If feasible, a face-to-face meeting at the initiation of the project goes a long way toward establishing the relationships you'll need along the way. Don't let issues linger -- reply to inquiries immediately to lessen the impact of time zones. It may make sense to adjust your work hours a few days a week. In summary it's all about fostering transparency, having no surprises and keeping everyone up to date.
After our much-loved CIO retired, his replacement started making wholesale changes in the way we do things. I'm not one to say, "Let's keep doing things this way because they've always been done this way." But some of his decisions strike me and several colleagues as wacky, if not dangerous. We're not anywhere near the level of being his trusted advisers, so what should we do? Two-way communication is needed here. You may not fully understand what the new CIO is trying to accomplish, or his approach. Try to take advantage of Q&A periods during town halls if you have them, or any other type of communications forum you may have, to ask questions. Work through your management chain to bounce the issue around. See if other senior managers feel the same.
More Ask a P100 IT Leader columns
- Career advice: A plan for battling organizational politics
- Career advice: 3 up-and-coming IT roles
- Career advice: Positioning yourself for big promotions
- Career advice: Kicking your career off with no experience
- Career advice: Learn from your mistakes
- Career advice: Moving into Internet security
- Career advice: What separates leaders from managers?
- Career advice: Do IT pros need to know about business?
- Career advice: Initiating change from below
- Career advice: Where to focus? Data, data, data
- The New IT Explore enhanced productivity for IT staff, and seamless integration across IT operation management systems. Download now.
- Cloud Computing Drives IT and Business Agility Hybrid Cloud Accelerates Time to Value What is the main focus for IT in your organization - cost or agility? Many IT discussions today focus on cost controls rather...
- Infographic:10 Reasons to Choose vCloud Air Looking to create an agile, productive, and efficient IT environment? Read this simple infographic to learn about the benefits that VMware vCloud® Air™...
- Data Visualization Techniques: From Basics to Big Data with SAS Visual Analytics This paper discusses some of the basic issues concerning data visualization, from data size and column composition, to solving unique challenges presented by...
- Bringing software licenses into compliance A hospital group received a software license audit, so they called in CDW to help define and manage their software licensing status.
- Cloud BI in Action: Recorded Webinar of Customer, Kony, Inc. See how Kony, Inc., a leading enterprise mobility company, is using TIBCO Jaspersoft for Amazon Web Services and Redshift to achieve embedded analytics... All IT Careers White Papers | Webcasts
Our 28th annual survey results show which IT skills are in high demand and which are cooling off. Also, see how your salary stacks up to peers' with our Smart Salary Tool.