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A Path in the IT Career

Level 13

A practice leader denotes an IT professional who cannot only walk the walk and talk the talk; but also build and lead teams to do the same. Practice leaders have to be the calm within the ever-changing storm. Everyone is talking about technologies and forgetting that friction comes from two sources – people and process.

Tech is easy, but people are non-linear, differential equations that are hard to solve since they change over time. People influence processes. Think of processes as forces that can be directed positively or negatively by people. People pollute processes with political motives, selfish decisions, and personal biases. These inheritances introduce friction into processes and further affect future personal interactions.

Leadership sets the edge for an organization’s culture. It is the driving force for either good or bad. Where will you lead your organization? And will it retain and attract people that move the organization’s culture forward while continuing to win business? Leaders need to have answers to these questions.

Becoming a practice leader is one path that an IT professional can take in their career. It combines the technical expertise and experience to deliver services into practice with the ability to communicate and lead through complex scenarios. Is practice leadership a path that you are taking? What are some of the things that have worked for you and your teams? Conversely, what are some of the things that have not worked? Let me know in the comment section.


Haven't thought about it, indeed a nice write up

"People pollute processes."  What a truth!  And I fear I'm one of the polluters, although as time passes I seem to recognize--and control--more and more of my potential polluting behavior.

Some of the best communicators seem to find ways to get the message across, to effect change, without treading on toes or causing offense.  I observe some of those good behaviors from peers and managers, and they can include:

  • Listening a lot more than talking.
  • Being mindful of the others' viewpoints, biases, prejudices, agendas. 
  • Being politically correct (I know that's a sore spot for lots of folks, but we need to temper our conversation with compassion and realism).
  • Being the oil the calms the waters (helping people keep conversations peaceful and on target and on task, rather than being accusatory or going off onto tangents to vent other griefs or frustrations)

That list could go on and on; applying each line to my own listening and thinking and speaking seems to be a nice thing for me--and for those around me.

Level 20

Are you going to Cisco Live this year kong.yang​?  Also I'm in the practice leader phase of my career now as well.  I've tried to keep doing engineering as an engineer (CIS/MIS) and tried to avoid becoming just another manager as well.  I've been able to thread the needle up to this point without having a bunch of direct reports as my calendar is already full of enough meetings that I either run or attend.  Being a Principle Engineer for the company is a good thing without having to be classified as just someone managing people.  I always want to still work tough technical problems and design and implement tough complicated projects.

Level 20

The old God gave you two ears and one mouth so you should listen twice as much as you speak/talk.   That's a good one for sure!


Level 13

I won't be at Cisco Live this year. adatolepatrick.hubbard​ will be there. I'll be at the VMworlds, Ignite, and re:Invent.

Level 20

Awesome!  Thanks for the update.

Dramatic inner peace.


Level 13

Nice Article

Level 12

I don't see anything peaceful about that situation! All in good fun of course

It's obviously very windy.

You have debris being blown at you at a high speed. Flower petals can hurt if they fly fast enough!

Your standing on a rock in the middle of a lake, in the high wind, wearing a cape for some reason. Must be pretty hard to maintain your balance on that rock and not slip/slide/fall into the water.

You had to swim to get out there, and you have to swim to get back to shore. And you have to get your sweet cape wet as a result.


well wonderful comments on the post as well

Level 13

Inter peace... Sit and listen.

Nice article.

Level 16

Thanks much kong.yang nice write up. We should always strive to do our best/be our best.

Nice article.

    As a manager and a leader (I would never admit that out loud) I am continually struggling with keeping my teams focused on developmental and creating a "path". Many people in my IT have settled and are complacent when I feel that they can do more.


People indeed make leadership difficult at times. But that's the difference between management and leadership. A good leader leads by example, empathy and caring. A manager is a "cat herder."

cowboys herding cats - YouTube

About the Author
Mo Bacon Mo Shakin' Mo Money Makin'! vHead Geek. Inventor. So Say SMEs. vExpert. Cisco Champion. Child please. The separation is in the preparation.