The A-Team errrr B-Team!?

Outsourcing engagements need to be managed carefully and properly from the cradle to the grave. When selecting a vendor during an RFP process, you will more than likely be presented with the A-Team that will be working your account. More often than not, you will be given the companies B-Team or even C-Team. What this means is they will present you with top quality talent and resumes of the resources that "will" be working your account.

In one case an organization was presented with top tier CCIE talent to be working on the account. When the deal was signed however, they were being billed for CCIE talent but given junior level network administrators to work the account. In the end the vendor was kicked out of the company after there was numerous fraudulent activities found in addition to the bait and switch of the network engineers.

Another case, had an organization years into a contract start replacing good desktop techs with family members who needed jobs but had no technical skills. The customers suffered through declining service levels while techs were working their issues with no technical skills. The client never bothered to care or inspect the skill sets of the newly hired techs working the account. As a matter of fact, one of the criteria for any techs was that they have A+ certification, none of the family members were A+ certified.

The above two examples, are based on outsourcing agreements where there is some language in the contract on what resources will be on the account. However, Not all agreements talk about the specific resources. A large amount merely speak about the work that is to be completed and agreements on the quality and/or timeliness of this work. With these agreements you need to be extra careful to manage the outsource vendor.

In an example of an agreement which only speaks of the work to be done by the vendor for the client, the vendor disengaged a top flight systems engineer to replace him with a cheaper very junior quite incompetent administrator. The admin did not know how to configure or check on tape backups, did not know how to logon to a Barracuda firewall, did not know how to configure email on an iPad and did not know Microsoft Exchange. The organization suffered from the lowered service levels, but since no SLAs nor specifications on the qualifications of resources was included in the contract, the client got what they agreed to and paid for. The client also was a non-profit that qualified for donated software including Office 365 for free, but instead had to suffer for too long on a poorly set up Exchange 2003 without SSL security.

The above is to illustrate that when outsourcing a business function, close attention needs to be given to the actual resources (people) that will complete the work. Whenever possible, make sure the contract is written in a way that protects you from less than expected resources ruining your customers experiences.

Attack of the Governance Monster!!

Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of decision-making or leadership processes.

Project Management Office, abbreviated to PMO, is a group or department within a business, agency or  enterprise that defines and maintains standards for project management within the organization. The PMO strives to standardize and introduce economies of repetition in the execution of projects. The PMO is the source of documentation, guidance and metrics on the practice of project management and execution. 

Governance has its place in Project Management Offices, however when the governance person or group within the PMO becomes a monster, governance impedes successful delivery of projects which is what Project Management is truly all about.

An organization I did some work for had a governance organization within the larger PMO whose job was to do as described in the two definitions above for Governance and PMO. However, the larger message was missed which is successful project delivery/execution.

Too many projects would suffer from QA of documentation with Project Managers not getting help to complete the documentation which would not provide any value to the delivery of the project. Let that sink in. 

Documentation for the sake of documentation to justify weak project managers existence as they provide governance and tell you how YOU should manage the project, while they sit at their desk creating documentation and processes without any input from the actual Project Managers and Program Managers doing the execution of these projects.

One individual in particular in this governance organization of the PMO, in the spirit of October and Halloween lets call him Ichabod Craine although in this story instead of being Headless he’s actually Brainless, would present challenges to projects that would inundate PMs and provide absolutely NO VALUE. He would recommend that projects be done Agile when they had nothing in scope that would warrant or take advantage of being done Agile. He would perform QA spot checks and ask for documentation to be created that had no reason being created for that individual project just because it is listed in the processes the PMO created. The same processes they created and claim are one size fits all projects when in actuality they don’t. 

Governance and a PMO should provide value to projects. That is they should help the projects to deliver successfully and the use of resources on the project achieve the results originally intended. When the evil Governance Monster rears its head and provides no value to the project and in fact impedes successful delivery of projects, this is when you have failed and need to blow the PMO up.

Or at the very least eliminate the useless individuals within the governance organization that are not providing value, not soliciting the input from the actual Project Managers doing the work and basically sitting around collecting checks at the expense of the successful delivery of the project portfolio. 

Governance serves its purpose, but when it provides no value to the PMO or IT organization as a whole its time to destroy and rebuild. After all who is policing the police?

Tales of a Glass Explorer: 2 Weeks with Glass

Check out my blog post at TechXaminer on 2 weeks with Google Glass!

Google Glass Pick up

Check out my experience over at the TechXaminer site!

Shame on you Google/LG- Put your warranty where your mouth is!- RESOLVED!

Quick Outline:

1. Purchase Google Nexus 4
2. 6 Weeks later hairline fracture presents itself in upper right front glass right by front camera. Without any abuse to phone (Drops or smash). Phone is used normally and even less since its not my main phone nor is it provisioned for voice.
3. Camera and touch screen are unresponsive
4. Calls Google Play and told it is LGE who will provide out of warranty service.
5. Calls LGE and told it is out of warranty service and to send it in first i will find out costs later.
6. Calls back Google play and told glass is not covered by the Nexus 4's Limited Warranty.
7. I send email picking apart warranty and Google/LGEs possible violations of Consumer Warranty Act.
8. Filed in Small Claims Court against LG.
9. Court date scheduled for 07/19
10. Case Settled.

Full Story:

I should be getting my Google Glass purchase invite any day now and being a gadget junkie I purchased a Nexus 4 from Google Play store for $300 to experience the full Glass as my daily phone is an iPhone5 on Verizon. I have been both an IT executive and Tech Hobbyist for over 15 years. I own tons of devices and have never experienced a phantom crack in glass. Sure Ive dropped devices before, some have taken the hit and some may have cracked. Hey I have 4 kids, Ive had ipod touches, LeapPads, laptops and DS' take abuse and get cracked screens. I usually have either purchased replacements or performed the repairs myself.

In the case of my Nexus 4, Heres the story. I am in the middle of activating a prepaid sim on a great Tmobile pre paid plan to swap out my AT&T sim. I take off the Ringke case and notice a hairline crack in the upper right hand corner of the Front Screen right by the front camera. I proceed to check the camera and it doesn't work, I stay on the phone with Tmobile to activate my plan and figure I will call Google right after for warranty service. 

After activating the SIM card I try some testing of the Tmobile plan including sending some test text messages. (AT&T sims plan was data only, Tmobile is data/text and voice). I cant send the text messages as the touch screen is unresponsive at the exact screen part to send the text. At this point this is very weird and i perform further testing. So my phone and the hairline crack apparently affects the touchscreen at a certain touch point (middle right of screen) where it doesn't register touch. I proceed to call Google for warranty service.

I explain my story to the Google Play rep who while very very nice, tells me I have to contact LGE and gives me their number. 

I contact LGE and as soon as I speak about the front glass she dives into a long process that I need to follow. I try to get some questions in but she rambles on. Finally I ask her are there any other options besides the one she mentions, which was: that i would have to send the Nexus 4 in, they would assess the repair costs and contact me at which point I can approve or decline the repair. I told her that this was not my fault but a defect with the material workmanship. She reiterates that that if purchased through the Google Play store that was my only option.

I try calling back Google Play and explain to the rep the first two calls and the fact that I am not trying to get over and at this point its not an issue with cost, as I could easily purchase another Nexus for $300. I could also probably sell this phone on ebay/craigslist for ~$200 as is (im sure someone can fix the front glass pretty cheap). She proceeds to tell me the same story about screens not being covered under the "Limited Warranty". Google play recaps their stance in the email sent to me below:

Below is my final response to Google Play:

Google Play,
Let me correct a couple of items here and explain my situation. I do have a Ringke fusion case on my Nexus device  because of hearing all of the horror stories with the rear glass breaking very easily on this device.

I had already contacted Google once and was told to contact LG who in turn treated me like the issue was automatically my fault. 

My issue is that I received a hairline fracture on my device through no fault of my own and that the material workmanship on the phone is defective. 

In searching the Google Play site I found this link about the nexus 4 warranty which says to contact google play support if the nexus was purchased from google play. In fact I have contacted them twice, both times told that glass damage is not covered by the limited warranty. I have read through the Nexus 4 warranty which can be found on LGs site here: and don't see that listed. If someone can maybe reference that in the actual warranty it would be helpful.

In looking through the warranty I would like to make some points relevant to my issue. Section 1: What this Warranty covers

Subsection 1: The warranty is 12 months in length beginning on the purchase date, which I am well within those 12 Months as my purchase was made on 04/18/13 and my incident is on 06/07/13.

Subsection 2: I am the original purchaser as can be seen in my order number - TAKEN OUT FOR BLOG POST

Subsection 3: I am the original purchaser and a resident of NJ and the incident and warranty claim occurred in NJ.

Subsection 4: My Warranty claim is not about the external housing nor cosmetic parts

Subsection 5: I can and have provided my information to accurately prove the purchase date.

Section 2: What This Warranty does not cover

Subsection 1: I have only used the Nexus phone in the intended manner.

Subsection 2: I have not done any of these items to lead to the hairline crack in the upper right corner of the front glass by the front camera at which I am attempting a warranty claim based on a defect in workmanship.

Subsection 3: My claim has nothing to do with the antenna

Subsection 4: I did notify customer service at LG and they told me to send the phone for out of warranty service with a fee merely because i mentioned it was the front glass.

Subsection 5: serial number is intact and was not removed

Subsection 6: understood

Subsection 7: I did not damage the phone with any accessories nor is this Warranty claim based on anything with accessories. Its based of a defect in the workmanship for my particular Nexus 4 Phone.

Subsection 8: Nothing on the phone was damaged or scratched due to normal use. The damage was caused by a defect in the workmanship of my particular Nexus 4 phone.

Subsection 9:  Product was not operated outside of published ratings.

Subsection 10: Product was not used in a rental program

Subsection 11: Claim is not about any consumables.

Section 3: State law rights

Section 4: How to get warranty service - is currently down with the following error: GCSC is impossible to access the external network.
GSFS system or SCS system use.

Section 5: LG Service Site-

Which again is currently down with the above error

On page 46 Section 7.11- The following laws govern warranties that arise in retail sales of customer goods:

The federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Federal Trade
Commission Improvement Act [15 USC §§2301 et seq; 16 CFR
Parts 701– 703]. A typical Magnuson-Moss Act warranty is a
written promise that the product is free of defects or a written
promise to refund, repair, or replace defective goods. [See 15
USC §2301(6).] Remedies include damages for failing to honor
a written warranty or service contract or for violating disclosure
provisions. [See 15 USC §2310(d).] Except for some labeling
and disclosure requirements, the federal Act does not preempt
state law. [See 15 USC §2311.]
The Consumer Warranty Act does not affect the rights and
obligations of parties under the state Uniform Commercial Code,
except the provisions of the Act prevail over provisions of the
Commercial Code when they confl ict. [CC §1790.3.]
For purposes of small claims actions, this course will focus on
rights and duties under the state laws.

In Closing as can be seen and has been outlined. I see no where that it makes mention that glass is not covered under the warranty. As a matter of fact the Magnuson- Moss act makes mention that the warranty is a written promise that the product, in this case the Nexus 4 phone purchased at Google Play manafactured by LGE, is free of defects or a written promise to refund, repair or replace defective goods. Of which remedies include damages for failing to honor a written warranty or service contract or for violating disclosure provisions.

As a remedy to my warranty claim of a defect due to poor workmanship which led to a crack in the front glass of my nexus 4 phone, i am requesting a replacement phone be sent to me at no charge from Google Play as I purchased the product from you on 04/18/13. 

Thank you in advance.

Wilfredo Lassalle


Update 06/08/13 Received a reply from Google as below:

So Google passes the buck off to LG. I will reach out to LG on Monday again to see what is said.
In the meantime I think I will just go ahead and purchase another unlocked android device outside of the Google Play Store and Not LG. 

Very disappointed in Google this week... More to come. 

Update 06/09/13:

I speak to LG and more of the same that it is not covered by the limited warranty. Again i reiterate this is not about trying to get a free replacement but about the fact that this is an obvious defect in the material workmanship of this particular device. I have tried a last ditch attempt to get LG to honor their warranty by reaching out to LG on twitter. If not I will just take it to small claims court on principal and purchase an unlocked android phone from a different manufacturer this week in anticipation of getting my Google Glass purchase invite anyday now.

Update 06/12/13:

In a last ditch attempt to get this taken care of I reached out and spoke to @LGUS on twitter via DM. Pretty much the same message/stance that physical damage is not covered under the warranty. I have all the paper work done to submit the small claims court. Now I am on a crusade to prove LG/Google wrong, that there is a defect in the build process on these Nexus 4's, which lead to "Gorilla Glass 2" to cracks/shatters under "NORMAL" use not ABUSE. I will keep you all updated.

Update 06/14/13:  Officially filed in Small Claims Court against the Manufacturer for not honoring a written contract (The Warranty). I will keep updating this post on how things turn out!

Update 07/05/13: Just received post card in mail for Small Claims Court date against LG for 07/19/13. LG has been notified as well.

Update 07/19/13: Situation Resolved to my satisfaction.

Talent Acquisition

Human Infrastructure, Talent, Human Capital, Resources, Labor are just some of the names used to describe employees of a company. Most organizations have a way of obtaining talent or Talent Acquisition as it is called in most circles. I feel the process of Talent Acquisition for many organizations is broken and here is why.

Too many recruiters are trying to match a job description with someone that has done the exact job before. Hey look I can understand how that sounds like it makes sense. If I am hiring for a windows XP migration project, I would like someone that has done it before, right? Well I'm here to challenge that thought process and here is why. 

Shouldn't it be the best person to do the job? Shouldn't it be more than just a person who has done the exact job before? A google search or a plethora of IT Consultancies could outline how you would migrate off of XP. Wouldn't it make more sense to give the project manager position to someone that has a pedigree for delivering projects successfully rather than one that is pigeonholed into Windows XP migration projects? 


This is why I like to hire staff based off of aptitude and ability to learn things quickly. In the example I have been using for a Windows XP migration project, I would probably hire a Project Manager that has a history of delivering different projects successfully. That during the interview process, the Project Manager showed he/she has the ability to pick up the intricacies of the organization and our processes/procedures. Even if the PM didn't manage an XP migration project or a similar project as long as I can determine that the PM has the ability to deliver projects successfully and integrate with our organizational culture I would hire that PM.

In future blog posts I will write about Talent Development & Talent Retention and tie them back to this blog post.

Let me know in the comments what your or your organizations hiring/talent acquisition style is.

Upgrade Your Windows XPerience

"If you're a #cio still without an XP migration plan you shouldn't be a CIO!"- Will Lassalle

The above is a quote from me last week during the Microsoft CIO Summit. I mean every word of it. Matter of fact I would go so far as to tell the CFO or CEO that the CIO reports to, to take a chance and hire me at least I am not leaving your organization at tremendous risk. 

On April 8, 2014 - 51 Weeks away from now- Microsoft will terminate extended support for the wonderful Operating System Windows XP. That will mean big problems for PC users and bigger problems for organizations that still rely on Windows XP.

Windows XP still maintains close to a 39% hold on the desktop operating system market. Think about that for a minute. With less than a year to go on extended support (which means no more security updates) 39% of the worlds desktops still run an operating system from 2001. I dont know if that is a testament to Windows XP or another kick to the dead horse known as Windows Vista. What I do know is that CIOs and IT departments have a problem.

I follow the iPhone JB scene and for the most part exploits in iOS are searched for and when found kept secret in a classic cat and mouse game being played by Apple and Jailbreakers. Jailbreakers find an exploit and wait for a new software update from Apple so as to not burn the exploit. Apple plugs the exploit in a future revision. Rinse and Repeat.

Now imagine malicious hackers chomping at the bit to expand their bot-nets realizing they have MILLIONS of machines that will be exposed to whatever exploit(s) they find that are not patched and more than likely will not be patched after April 8, 2014. 

I guess some IT directors and CIOs are hoping/suspecting that Microsoft will be the good guy here and extend Windows XP support....AGAIN. 


Enough is enough. Sure Windows 8 has its detractors but Windows 7 has been given glowing marks and ~45% of the desktops in the world are already on it. I have worked on two successful XP to Windows 7 migrations and 1 failed XP to Windows Vista migration. Migrations are very time consuming with the biggest time consumer being application testing/remediation.

There are so many tools available now, including application virtualization that should make migrating easier than ever. Whats the excuse for not having a plan or already having migrated off of Windows XP? Budgets? Please! Go ahead be "Penny Wise Pound Foolish". 

I put the blame squarely on IT leadership at these organizations. Sell the upgrade and the risks of not doing it to your CFO, CEO and/or Board of Directors. Do your job! Putting your organization at security risk is one thing but also not taking advantage of the productivity increases is another (and a topic for a future blog post). 

I know of an organization that was just infected with a 5 year old virus outbreak, mainly because of lack of IT leadership. The organization still runs Windows XP as the main OS. Needless to say they havent even started thinking about migrating off of Windows XP and surely will not get it done by April, 2014. They are so lazy they actually have virtualized Windows 95 to avoid rewriting an old DOS app!

So clueless CIOs and IT go ahead and focus on the whole BYOD, BIG DATA, and Business Intelligence craze. They will work great on a crippled and infected Windows XP network.

New Home for the Next Great CIO blog

Hello and welcome to the new home for the NEXT GREAT CIO blog.
Had to make the switch in anticipation of the increased Google Glass content and better integration with Google Plus.

The move should lead to increased content and a more media rich experience.
Thanks for visiting!

Lessons (Learned) Forgotten...


The purpose of lessons learned is to bring together any insights gained during a project that can be usefully applied on future projects.

Everything learned from previous projects, whether they were successes or failures can teach a project manager important lessons. And individual project managers usually do learn from their own previous experiences, but are these "lessons learned" shared with others within the project team or within the same organization or with the broader project management community as a whole?

Capturing lessons learned from projects is key for any organization. Unfortunately, project teams are usually moved quickly from project to project and capturing lessons learned is never a priority. To ensure efficiencies over time and development of best practices, it is essential to capture lessons learned on your projects.

Now the flipside to capturing lessons learned is ACTUALLY UTILIZING lessons learned in future/present projects! I have been working in formal project management for over 13 years now and have yet to come across an organization that actually looks at lessons learned captured from previous organizational projects while kicking off or initiating new projects.

"Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it"

Why organizations/PMOs and those who adopt PMI methodologies or require PMPs dont utilize Lessons Learned repositories is beyond me. It becomes very frustrating with high project failure rates to be in senior management and see issues arise that could have easily been avoided if they would have been mitigated early on from the knowledge gained of Lessons Learned from previous like/similar projects.

But organizations and PMOs  should not be the only ones on the hook for this epidemic that further leads to high failure on projects. Project Managers themselves need to take some blame too. Share your career portfolio project lessons learned in a blog, article, web site or your next networking event.

Maybe a great project that PMI, Prince2 or any other advancement of project management organization can do is create a global project lessons learned database. This database can accept and catalog lessons learned from project managers globally on projects of any kind. Organizations globally could/should contribute to this for the simple fact it will help them first and foremost but also help projects globally and investment of dollars lost into additional projects and the benefits of those projects. - according to this article from 2009 the cost of IT Project failure globally is $6.2 TRILLION!!! $6.2 TRILLION!!!

Imagine a world where we could learn from these mistakes, and mitigate these project pitfalls early. Money that could be invested in infrastructure, innovation and new capabilities worldwide.

Its time for project mangers, organizations, and PMOs to start really documenting/using lessons learned to help deliver more projects successfully while avoiding the sins of the past.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section!

Will Lassalle, PMP, MBA

Google "Glass" in the Mirror


I am very perplexed. Am I the only person who reads contest rules even if its just a glance?

Those are the cached rules for the #ifihadglass application to be selected as one of 8000 to preview google glass.

I see lots of people on both Google+ and Twitter who are very excited to be admitted into the google glass explorers program. You know the program outlined in the terms of the application which specifically states its $1500 PLUS APPLICABLE TAX! Since you can only pick up in one of 3 locations New York City, Los Angeles or San Francisco its also been outlined that you have to pay your way to get to one of those 3 sites to pick up the glasses after you have paid for it with your own credit card online. In New York City you would have to pay $1,633.13 for the glasses, in San Francisco or Los Angeles you would have to pay ~$1,635.

You also have to travel to the google location and pay your own way to get there. So you have to add in Travel and Expenses to get to NYC, LA or SF. This isn't a prize, you arent getting something for free, you are getting exactly what you signed up for!

Which is what confuses me from some winners who are complaining about not being able to pay the $1500(which is really over $1600 when uncle sam gets his cut plus Travel and Expense). Its a shame really. Hundreds out of the 8000 "winners" that will not be able to participate thus taking spots from people who actually took the time out to read the rules and would have made better choices for the simple fact they can follow rules/instructions.

My guess is that within a couple of weeks, Google will start out by asking people to pay the $1500+ applicable tax at a secure web site. Those that don't pay after a few days will be removed from the program and hopefully others asked to join.

I really admire those that have won and are trying to get the funds together in creative ways. There is a group on Google+ and you can follow the hash tag #glassexplorers on twitter.

Yet again, I am very Perplexed at those who think they have "won" something and never had any intention of really participating in the program. Unless they thought Google would just give away the glasses to the 8000. Eh I guess $12,000,000 is a drop in the bucket for Google what with all the free publicity they are getting from this.

I know what I am going to do with the Google Glasses, and I know a lot of peers that if selected would have done some awesome things with them. I think there is hope for them in a second chance drawing, once these people that "applied" but didn't read the rules' credit cards are declined.

Through the looking "Google" Glass!

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 5.47.11 PM

Well folks it looks like the blog will be a little more creative and interesting with me being selected to the Google Glassexplorers program! Be on the lookout for more quick blog posts, google hangouts and pics/video from this IT Executive on the rise's point of view...Literally!

Through the looking glass..

Interview with IT Transformation Institute

Recently I was interviewed by the IT Transformation Institute. Check it out at the link above. The audio version is around 30 minutes. Some great questions and thoughts from yours truly.

Please leave any feedback/comments.


Testing, Testing 1, 2, 1, 2