IT Management Slideshow: Lessons from Hollywood for Today's IT Leaders

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 02-17-2011

What is unconventional success?

Unconventional success does not mean abandonment of sound business principals.

What is unconventional success?

Big picture

Even as you encourage unconventional thinking, you must constantly keep in mind market dynamics and risk factors (costs, deadlines).

Big picture

Productive creativity

Creative teamwork sessions cannot amount to aimless flights of fantasy.

Productive creativity

Start with a strong foundation

Organizational goals must always form the foundation for your creative endeavors. Managers need to establish expectations for outside-the-box strategizing.

Start with a strong foundation

Know your history

To come up with a product or solution that differentiates, you must understand how the standard versions were created.

Know your history

Whats unique now?

M*A*S*H was a smash hit because it depicted a conventional war setting while presenting then-unique irreverent, anti-authority satire.

Whats unique now?

Bigger isnt always better

An insatiable drive to be No. 1 often causes organizations to focus on factors other than quality. Remember: Slumdog Millionaire, a small, indie film, won an Oscar for Best Picture.

Bigger isnt always better

Surround yourself with those you trust

Much like big IT initiatives, Hollywood studios entrust directors and actors with millions of dollars in up-front investment to make a film or TV series. The lesson? Elevate the mutual trust factor with your employees, your vendors/partners and your CFO and CEO.

Surround yourself with those you trust

Ask questions and shut up

Are you initiating conversations with your teams just to validate your own pre-determined biases? Instead, ask open-ended questions about tasks, goals and progress. Listen without prejudice.

Ask questions and shut up

Know your customers

Much like big tech projects, film and TV shows once relied heavily on focus groups to predict success. Now, you have social media at your disposal. Use it to understand what your customers want and need.

Know your customers

No skin, no deal

Actors are, arguably, more energized when they have equity stake in a film or TV show. Likewise, a sense of ownership matters in tech, too. If your team members don't have a personal stake in results, they won't deliver.

No skin, no deal

Know the rules of your industry

Whether your code-of-conduct comes from Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, ECPA or the Motion Picture Association of America, you can't perform effectively unless you understand what's required of you and your teams.

Know the rules of your industry