Category Archives: Training

The ITx Conference – Auckland – 8-10 October 2014


This conference will soon be upon us. I have been fortunate enough to have a paper selected for presentation.

The programme is here and my offering is here.

You can register here

What is ITx?

Established in 2014, ITx is three conferences in one; combining the successful IITP and CITRENZ national conferences with the re-launch of the Computer Science Association’s conference; establishing the broadest and largest non-vendor general IT conference in New Zealand.

ITx focuses on innovation, technology and education and brings IT professionals, decision-makers, leaders and academics together under one roof. This is a conference like no other: where industry, academia and government come together to network, learn and engage.

ITx will run every second year in either Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.


The Institute of IT Professionals NZ (IITP) is the professional body of the IT sector and is the largest IT representative body in New Zealand. IITP has run conferences for almost 50 years, although there was a large hiatus prior to the 2010 50th Anniversary Conference. IITP2013 was held in Tauranga and attracted hundreds of IT professionals and thought leaders.

Computer and Information Technology Research and Education New Zealand (CITRENZ) is the representative body for the IT departments of New Zealand’s Institute of Technology / Polytechnic sector. CITRENZ has been running successful annual conferences for 27 years.

Computer Science Association of New Zealand (CSANZ) is the forum for the University Computer Science community. CSANZ has been active for many years and 2014 will see the return of the popular CSANZ conference as part of ITx.


Input Sought

I am putting together a couple of papers for possible presentation/publication sometime in the future.

The working titles and content outlines are below.

Paper 1

We have met the enemy – it is us
Outline of proposed paper
Why do so many projects fail? Why despite the conferences, papers and books do we still see such a high proportion of failed ICT projects? Why are so many so quick to allocate blame to the project managers?
This paper looks at this issue from the perspective of a practitioner with several decades of experience in projects, project assessment and managing professional services. The core theme of the paper is that the root cause of much project failure is human nature; coupled with a signal failure even today by many who should know better to understand that technology is merely an enabler it is not a substitute for understanding and resolving the actual problem.
The paper will consider why failures continue to occur, the place of project methodologies and why we see projects subject to ‘strong’ governance still failing. The paper will draw upon the experience of the author and make reference to situations actually encountered across the author’s lengthy career. Consideration will be given to the viewpoints of executive management, operational managers, project personnel, vendors and consultants.
The author intends to take a provocative stance in his comments, especially as regards the all too common tendency to blame project managers for the problems, when in his opinion that is far too simplistic. Furthermore, he proposes to question the current fad for governance which all too often confuses protocol and process with the intent of governance which is ‘informed decision making’.
In summation the author intends to offer some suggestions as to commonsense steps which might be taken to reduce the incidence of failure.
Paper 2
Extinguishing scrub fires before they spark conflagrations
Some Thoughts on Portfolio Management
Outline of proposed paper
More and more organisations are finding themselves in the position of having portfolios of projects running. Some projects run well, others do not. Despite the money which has been spent on management systems we still find that the rate of success is poor and that in many cases executives and managers are surprised when programmes and projects ‘go off the rails’ with the velocity in many cases of a runaway locomotive.

The author intends to draw on his extensive experience with two major global organisations to highlight approaches to portfolio management which he has found successful both in identifying at an early stage the possibility of problems and where necessary mitigating the issues arising. The paper looks at these matters from a practical practitioners perspective not a theoretical one. It is hoped that the lessons learned, especially from mistakes made, will enable others to avoid some pitfalls in the future.

Areas considered include the question of risk/ benefit, cessation versus continuation and whether the perspective is different if the programme/ project is in house or external.

Regard will be had as to possible organisational approaches that may or may not offer benefits, including the role of Programme Offices.
In summation the intent is to look at Portfolio Management through the lens of a pragmatic practitioner and to offer some observations on possible approaches to obviate issues, ideally before they become problems.
The thrust of these two papers will be to take a practical experience based look at some of the issues in these two areas. It would greatly assist if anybody with views on the areas outlined would be kind enough to share their thoughts with me. I am happy to acknowledge such input in the paper. Furthermore if anybody would like to act as a reviewer please let me know, as another brain is always useful.

Governance – Getting your all your ducks in a row for Shared Services Success

Earlier today I gave the presentation embedded below to the Conferenz conference on Shared Services in Wellington.

I thought some of my readers might wish to see it as well.

Speaking engagement

I am speaking at a conference in Wellington on 24/25 June. My topic is Governance in the context of Shared Services.

More details to follow shortly.



On being silly

As a consultant I write and have written  about the need to keep my promotional outlets and social media current.

Like so many I have ignored my own advice. Over the last little while I have not kept them as current as I should have.

So, I am human and make mistakes, but this is one I must learn from.

IT Governance Conference

On Monday I attended the IT Governance Conference in Auckland organised by Brightstar in conjunction with the ISACA Auckland Chapter.

It was a most interesting day with presentations from amongst others Mark Toomey, a thought leader on IT Governance especially in regard to ISO 38500, Basil Wood of BazPractice, Jeremy Bendall of Effctive Governance and Katrine Evans from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner amongst others.

A most useful day.

More on Mark’s and Katrine’s presentations in particular a bit later.

Mark Toomey to present on ISO38500 in Wellington

My company, Manning Charles & Associates Limited, in conjunction with Basil Wood of BAZ IT Ltd and Infonomics Pty Ltd, Mark Toomey’s company is pleased to announce that Mark Toomey will be presenting a half day seminar on ISO 38500 – Corporate Governance of Information Technology

Effective governance of IT projects would increase GDP in Australia by between 1.6 and 3.1%! – Dr Raymond Young, Macquarie University

Mark Toomey, who worked with Dr Young at Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) to develop the world’s first jargon-free standard for corporate governance of IT, which ISO 38500 is based on, will be in Wellington presenting a seminar for business leaders on the ISO 38500 standard on April 7th.

The ISO 38500 standard is a business leaders’ framework for managing risk and maximizing the value of IT without jargon. It promotes effective, efficient, and acceptable use of IT in all organizations.

This half day introductory seminar explains the drivers for ISO 38500, the benefits of the standard, and the key concepts that it defines. It explains how corporate governance of information technology is part of corporate governance, and how the system for corporate governance of IT spans from the boardroom to the coalface of the organisation.

Participants in this seminar will learn how to:

* Articulate the drivers for, and key benefits of, effective corporate governance of IT;

* Explain how Corporate Governance of IT is part of corporate governance overall;

* Distinguish between Governance of IT and Management of IT, and position these activities in the System of Governance;

* Explain the demand and supply aspects of controlling IT;

* Describe the key activities in the Governance Cycle;

* Summarise the six principles for good governance of IT.

As part of this session, participants will briefly assess their own organisation’s effectiveness in Corporate Governance of IT, using a 30 point checklist.

Participants will receive a workbook containing the slides and their self-assessment checklist.

“My recommendation of Mark is unconditional because he is one of the few independent thinkers in the field of IT Governance. He didn’t read it in a book and simply repeat the party line, he has real insight. No one else that I’m aware of has had the understanding to convert the new Standard into a diagnostic tool.” – Dr Raymond Young

Location is in process of confirmation, but will be in the CBD.

The cost for this session will be NZ$625 + GST, including refreshments and workbook. Discount available for bookings of 3 or more

Contact me on 021 533651 or


UPDATE:– Seminar will be held at Wellesley Hotel, Maginnity Street, commencing at 9 am sharp, registration from 8:30 am followed by lunch at 1 pm

Download Registration form from link:- Brochure – Intro to ISO 38500 – Wellington-1

Listen, Listen and Listen

Some weeks ago when preparing some material for a client training course, I found this very funny video clip. It makes a number of points, but a critical one is the importance of listening not just in negotiation, but in all cases

Negotiation Skills

Whilst researching and preparing a training session on Negotiation Skills I came across this useful video clip:-

New Training Sessions

I have been working on a set of new training sessions.

Once these are refined readers will have an opportunity to access.

Principal subjects:-

  • Conflict Resolution
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Consulting Skills
  • Quality Delivery