Rebuilding the Office of CTO and African project managers

Rebuilding the Office of CTO and African project managers

Wayne Yan, CTO Dariel Software

A CTO’s primary task is to exploit technology for the end customer’s benefit, distinct from a CIO who optimises technology for internal efficiencies. But is this sufficient in our rapidly evolving digital age?

The skills, knowledge and expertise are too vast for a single individual. No one person can navigate the nuances of banking, healthcare, mining, insurance, and more. Nor can one person keep pace with the swift technological advancements across these sectors.

That is where the Office of the CTO comes in. A multidisciplinary team dedicated to creating and commercialising disruptive technologies; it effectively breaks the mould of the typical C-suite structure wherein each executive is a specialist by nature.

This team not only generates ideas for novel products and innovations but also brings these concepts to market, aiming to deliver profit and revenue. Customer-centricity is at their core, they are not just crafting technology for technology’s sake; they are creating solutions that benefit the end user.

Project managers

As we reconsider our management structures, it may be time to revisit, or at least reimagine the role of the traditional IT project manager. After the IT industry embraced agile, project managers became increasingly rare and then entirely absent from many organisations. The industry sought agility, flexibility, and speed, which seemingly clashed with traditional project management.

The industry now seems to miss the steady hand of experienced project management. We are seeing a deficit in forecasting and tracking capabilities, and a lag in removing obstacles to progress. Was the exclusion of project managers the cause of this? Or perhaps the shift to agile itself, or even a loss of IT skills to overseas markets? Whatever the reason, it appears the industry dispensed with project managers at a high cost.

Organising, managing, structuring, and orchestrating IT projects are invaluable skills. Many businesses are enticed by the notion of self-managed teams, but without appropriate guidance, these teams often falter, or worse. A project manager, juggling multiple tasks, maintains a consistent vision and ensures that the project stays on course.

As businesses grapple with how best to accelerate their digital journeys, it is clear that a narrow, singular approach will not suffice. The Office of the CTO offers a compelling, multidisciplinary approach that leverages the strengths of each team member and focuses on adding real value where it matters most.

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