Building leadership skills to ensure your IT project’s success

09 September, 2019
Louise Hemond-Wilson

IBM Systems Technical University (TechU), as the name implies, offers a multitude of technical learning paths and sessions. No surprise there. However, you might be surprised to learn that many TechU events also offer an IT Leadership and Professional Development track with leadership sessions covering topics like governance, experience-based design and consultative selling. So, why do we have an IT Leadership track at a technical conference like TechU?

Technical training and leadership skills go hand in hand

Professionals seek technical skills to help grow their careers and ensure that their IT projects succeed, but there are many critical project success factors beyond technical implementation skills. Projects need a full ecosystem for success. Without that ecosystem, projects tend to struggle or outright fail. For example, a flawlessly executed technical proof of concept or pilot project might never transition into full business production without an ecosystem for success. Building that ecosystem for success requires strong IT leadership skills in your organization. So, as I discuss in a recent video interview, IT leadership and technical training go hand in hand.

I know how frustrating it can be to work on a successful pilot that doesn’t proceed to production. I also know that people other than the designated managers can effectively provide leadership to help create an ecosystem for success. Therefore, whether you’re a technical specialist or an IT manager, these sessions can provide highly practical advice you can use daily in your work.

Investing in skills that matter

If this sounds interesting but you’re not sure which sessions to choose, here’s my recommended approach for selecting sessions in the IT Leadership and Professional Development track:

Invest in yourself. Whether it’s improving your communication skills, learning how to be more consultative or learning tips about dealing with information overload, select at least one session that is about investing in yourself. The advice offered in these sessions has practical applicability in your personal and professional life.

Invest in your team. Sessions like Design Thinking, governance or how to ensure project success teach great techniques for improving your team’s effectiveness and efficiency. Add at least one session from the IT Leadership track to your agenda that helps you help your team be more effective.

Invest in the future. Each new technological innovation requires a plan and business case to build the proper ecosystem for successfully incorporating it into your business processes. Attend at least one session that looks at topics like AI or hybrid multi-cloud from the financial or ecosystem perspective. This prepares you to offer meaningful insight about when, where and how to infuse new technology innovations into the business.

The next TechU is right around the corner

IBM Systems TechU is one of few conferences that offers IT leadership sessions with practical “how to” leadership advice for not just building a vision for the future of your business but making that vision a reality. Join us this October at TechU in Las Vegas or Prague to take advantage of this great opportunity to strengthen your technical skills and complement them with IT leadership skills to help ensure your technical projects succeed.

At the following websites, you can find the full list of IT Leadership and Professional Development offerings for these two events, along with links to session abstracts:

Hope to see you at a TechU event soon.

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