Scott Vine Structure and Process Facilitate Working with the IT Department
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By Scott Vine

Abstract

Working with the IT department or colleagues in other functions inevitably involves meetings; Scott Vine, co-producer of Jinfo's current Research Focus, "Strategic Alignment of Information Services and IT", considers recently published articles which will help to make meetings more effective.

Item

We are now approaching the final couple of weeks of Jinfo's current Research Focus, "Strategic Alignment of Information Services and IT", and with it my stint as co-producer.

So first thanks to Jinfo and my co-producer Steve Bynghall for making this a wonderful experience: from our initial brainstorming meetings; to finalising the issues we wanted covered; to identifying the people we wanted to write the actual articles and reviews; and of course finally getting the finished content in, edited, and out for you to read. It has been a joy.  

This is not to say it wasn't without its share of stresses, of course (deadlines everywhere!), but I think we have delivered a strong collection of articles that will help to make us (in the information services world) think and reassess our relationships with IT and how we can better understand, work together and achieve mutual goals for the benefit of our businesses.


Making Meetings More Effective

For me as a reader of the Focus I was interested in anyone mentioning meetings. I know what you're thinking: Scott, you need to get out more...

But seriously, I find the subject interesting because it is something that is at the heart of most people's working life (and not just in IS and IT), and yet most people's experience of meetings is that they are either a waste of time and/or just there to fill time in someone's diary. It still feels strange to me that something that should be an important tool in "getting things done" instead often just becomes "having a meeting".

  • Helene Jewell, meanwhile, in her article "The Role of the Facilitator in Effective Meetings" highlighted some of the common problems and issues around meetings, such as lack of clear agendas, expected outcomes or tangible deliverables. She suggested that a neutral, even external, facilitator could help guide, manage and structure meetings by helping to keep discussions on topic, promote full participation and engagement and to focus all participants on the matter(s) at hand.


Towards Greater Efficiency and Less Emotion

My co-producer Steve also rightly talked about the importance of structure in meetings in his article "A More Structured Way of Working with IT".

He also summed up what I think many of us will take away from this Research Focus: "There's no right or wrong way to work with IT, but having some structure can provide a more transparent and less emotive way forward."

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