The CIO's Experience, Through the CIO's Eyes

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 12:02 PM

After I interviewed Rob Austin, head of Harvard Business School's CIO exec program, last spring about his planned book on the experiences of a new CIO, a bunch of you wrote to me in our comments section or via e-mail asking when it was coming out.

First, apologies for not making it completely clear that at that time, the book was not in finished form and did not yet have a publisher. It does now. Adventures of an IT Leader will be out April 21.

I just read an advance copy before an interview I did with two of the authors (Austin and Richard Nolan, an emeritus professor at HBS and a professor at the University of Washington's B-school), and I definitely recommend that CIOs and aspiring CIOs check it out.

I'll post the interview soon, but here's their underlying point: CIOs need to learn general management skills. Their protagonist, Jim Barton, the newly named CIO of the fictional IVK Corporation, came to the job with no prior IT experience. He ran a division at IVK and was a vocal critic of IT, which led the new turnaround CEO to bring him to table. The point is, Barton was a problem solver, not a techie; a business operative, not a career geek. More and more business leaders are turning to those types of leaders to run their IT shops.

Austin, Nolan and co-author Shannon O'Donnell, a Cutter Consortium consultant, take readers through all the various challenges any CIO encounters, all through the eyes of Barton and his many employees and advisors.

I haven't seen a business book like this before, so I'd be curious to hear what you all think of it once you have a chance to read it.