Prior to Lewis Fowler's Dallas PMO forum, I had the chance to speak with one of our panelists, Brad Furry, and ask key questions about his journey to the CIO seat. Brad's career has spanned IT leadership roles in everything from Oil & Gas, Insurance, and Healthcare companies, to multi-billion dollar retailers.
Read on for highlights from our discussion and insights on what it takes to succeed as an IT executive.
1. What was your professional journey to becoming a CIO?
I’ve spent the last 33 years in technology positions across multiple industries and companies. Although, I’ve primarily spent the majority of my time in retail, I’ve also spent time in Oil & Gas, Healthcare and Insurance.
I’ve been responsible for applications development, infrastructure, security, outsourcing, project management, business analysis and business process management. I was promoted to my first Vice President position in 2004 and was soon a member of the executive team, at The Neiman Marcus Group. This helped me shape and hone the skills needed to interact with C-suite and Board Level executives.
I also completed a Gartner CIO class in 2006, which rounded out my education. I’ve headed up the training and recruiting for IT Organizations, worked with HR executives to implement IT Organizational design and change and helped the business understand the strategic utilization of technology across the enterprise.
2. How would you describe the type of IT organization you manage (e.g. strategic, operations, innovative, combination)?
Every IT organization I’ve managed has components of strategy, operations and innovation within their portfolio. The make up and percentages vary based on the maturity and capabilities of the company and IT organization. It’s my experience that most companies and IT Organizations spend way too much of their resources on operational projects and not near enough on strategic or innovative projects.
3. What role do you feel project management plays in supporting IT and corporate strategy?
The role project management plays today is multi-faceted. I believe first and foremost it brings visibility of project investment to the enterprise. This would include strategic, operational and innovative projects and capital / expense expenditures in the delivery of those projects. In addition, it provides a rigor and process that inherently drive consistency and accuracy in the delivery of projects.
4. How do you determine the value project management brings to an organization?
Try executing a large complex portfolio of projects without project management!
5. How do you integrate project management across your IT organization?
Again, it depends on the maturity of the company and IT organization. I’ve had the best results when the PMO reported into the business, but that requires a level of rigor that most businesses are not capable of producing.