The CIO Paradox: Micro Review

Even though the book “The CIO Paradox” was written almost 8 years ago, its still very relevant and describes the challenges that are facing IT and technology leaders today.

Martha Heller has captured some of the key challenges of the being in a leadership role for a IT / technology organization. She presents it as paradox but the way to confront it is to look at it as a delicate balance that is aligned to your business strategy — how do you balance cost and innovation, operations and strategy, centralization and federation, short-term and long-term, futuristic technologies and legacy applications and so on.

The book explores this through interviews with many CIOs from different organizations. As an IT leader, you will find this a quick read because it describes many of the same challenges that you probably face every day. It doesn’t go too deep into any one of these and that could have made this a little bit more intriguing. Also, the book is a little bit dated so its still very “Enterprise IT” focused rather than more on the strategic “Technology” arm creating “technology & business products” to drive your business.

However, its a good read if you are early in your tech leadership journey and has some good practical advice and stories (as well as some tools) that will prepare you for the top job in IT. Read it for all the real world experiences many of which are still sadly relevant 8 years on :)