Ruth Morton and Applying Agile Methodologies to IT and Your Career

by Joey deVilla on November 14, 2011

Ruth Morton Asks: Can IT Pros Benefit from Agile Metholodologies?

ruth mortonOne of the people with whom I had the pleasure of working during my days at Microsoft was technology Advisor Ruth Morton, who’s based near Microsoft Canada’s headquarters just outside Toronto. While my audience was developers, hers is what Microsoft calls “IT Pros” – the people who set up the machines, install/deploy/update the software, set up and keep the network running and do all those other things that we who write code consider to be Someone Else’s Problem. In addition to showing IT Pros the latest and greatest Microsoft tech, she talks to tech managers about using technology in the service of keeping their businesses running smoothly, to women about careers in IT and to students about their futures in the field of technology. Right now, she’s in Vancouver at the TechDays cross-Canada conference, where she’s running the Security, Identity and Management track.  If you’re in the Toronto area and do sysadmin-y stuff or deploy Windows and Office for a business, you’d do well to get to know Ruth!

In her latest post at Microsoft’s IT Manager Connection blog, Ruth writes about applying agile methodologies in places beyond its original domain of software development. She asks:

Even though the Agile Manifesto was born of a desire to create a mechanism for better software delivery, I see applications outside of that world too. In life, keeping an eye on your goals while planning a little at a time allows you to adjust for change, take advantage of opportunity and be released from disappointment because The Grand Plan didn’t pan out exactly how you anticipated. In desktop deployment projects, applying elements of the Agile methodology should allow you to be more flexible, adapt as issues are discovered and respond to your client’s needs. Less documentation, more collaboration with the customer and being responsive to change.

Now, I’m not out there deploying Office and Windows these days, so I don’t have the opportunity to put my theory into practice. What do you think? Is it possible to be "more agile” in client deployments?

(You might want to take a look at the Agile Business infographic in my last blog post.)

If your line of work is along the lines of “IT Pro” or sysadmin and you’ve got an opinion, let Ruth and company know over at her AlignIT for Infrastructure and Development Managers LinkedIn group.

Go for IT: My “Last Lecture” at Microsoft

In her article, Ruth mentions a presentation I created titled Go for IT: How to Have an Awesome Career and Life. While working at The Empire, I gained a bit of notoriety for building offbeat presentations that veered away from the standard Microsoft template. That, coupled with the fact that I had a good rapport with students, was probably why one of my last assignments was to create a new presentation about career planning aimed at students in college and university.

In making the presentation, I read a lot of Daniel Pink, watched Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture and looked back at some twists that had taken place in my own life. These all served as inspiration for Go For IT, and I’m sharing it with you now. It comes with copious speaker notes; with only a little practice, you too can deliver this presentation to students thinking about going into a technology career and asking themselves “What now?”

If you’d like the original slide deck in either PowerPoint of Keynote format, drop me a line and I’ll send it your way.

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