Coaching for Cloud: What IT Can Learn from Phil Jackson

After years and years of managing and selling consulting services, I am imprinted with a Day “0” mantra from a long list of project managers that when repeated sounds like this:  “Do they have the hardware environment ready? Can we start the project.”  As much as I hate to upset tradition, we might want to consider a new approach before starting on a Cloud journey. 


I recommend an updated mantra that says “Do we have the right people, in the right place, with the right skills to execute the plan?”   When one examines successful complex teams, there is certainly more than equipment that factors into success.


I have had the opportunity to spend time around some of our best college and professional sport coaches.  Phil Jackson, then the Coach of the 6x’s World Champion Bulls, invited me for a few summers to participate in a basketball camp where he executed his plan on our aging group of over 40 year olds, non-professional, mostly out of shape adults.  He had a plan; he assessed his talent; and he developed the talent (or as much as a weekend would allow) to accelerate the time line to achieve desired outcomes (survive the weekend).  In our case, his expectations were not too high.


The VP of Operations should have clarity around the core Cloud team’s roles and the skills they will need to drive the project.  BMC Education Services and our Consulting Services team will team to define the recommended skills specific to you the environment.   We recommend a “cloud skills assessment” for each team member to provide insight into their current technical skills and identify technical training needs. 


This approach provides an opportunity to build a team skills map to see how one team member’s strength can be leveraged to fill another’s weakness.   BMC Education Services provides a comprehensive Cloud Learning Path with course options that map to roles and preferred learning modality.  Our Education Architects will review the team’s skills map and create training plans for each team member.  In physical training terms, this is much like having a personal trainer who adopts the basic training strategies to the unique needs of the user.


Cloud environments are complex technical, people, process and political solutions.  They cross business boundaries to deliver much needed business value so training cannot be constrained to the IT organization.  While skills’ training is a critical success factor, solution adoption also requires having a communication plan. 


All stakeholders impacted by a successful Cloud environment have had expectations, responsibilities and timelines clearly communicated. The most successful team understands that it is not just the stars of the team that need to understand the roadmap to success.  Teams that accelerate toward their business goals have a strategy for enabling everyone impacted. 


At BMC we provide an Education Solution Accelerator (ESA) that is designed to support customized, multi-language and BYOD options.  Our education solutions are all designed to provide a framework for adoption. The first step to build a successful Cloud environment is to make sure that everyone impacted understands the vision, the roadmap, and the enablement model that they can leverage.  Getting the right people trained, with the right skills, at the right time takes effective managing and partnering.

These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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