Our top 10 articles of 2019 for IT leaders

Our readers found these articles - on robotic process automation (RPA), Kubernetes, emotional intelligence, agile, and more - the most valuable. Dig in for IT leadership wisdom to start the new year
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How did 2019 treat you and your IT team?

Did you improve your cloud strategy, perhaps with the help of containers and Kubernetes? Did you dip your toes into the water with robotic process automation (RPA), to free up IT people from rote tasks? RPA really took off in popularity on our site in 2019, so we suspect the answer is yes for many of you. In 2020, we’ll help you refine your RPA strategy.

Maybe this was the year your team got more realistic about DevOps and agile: The culture changes – and associated fears, including loss of prestige and control – continue to be the hardest part. Many organizations get a few teams to buy in, but stall as they try to scale this way of working across the whole organization. Others profess to be working in an agile way, but simply break the legacy software development process, with its reliance on old-world project management, into two-week sprints. A true willingness to experiment, fail, and iterate never emerges.

As consultant Bob Kantor wrote in Beware the dark side of agile project management, “Many organizations are still doing waterfall development, but within what they think is an agile framework.” If this rings a bell, consider making 2020 the year you prioritize nurturing an environment where agile teams feel safe running fast and iterating. The results can be breathtaking, as CIOs who’ve made the leap to DevOps success tell us.

As digital transformation work continues, one of the most popular leadership topics on our site is how to build your emotional intelligence. Whether you call them “soft skills” or “core skills, competencies including empathy, curiosity, communication, and collaboration prove vital for work on today’s cross-functional teams. In the coming year, we’ll work harder than ever to help you keep building this skill set, both personally and among your team members.

To do that, we will continue to deliver expert, novel advice from both your peers and subject matter experts. For now, let’s check out the 10 most-read articles of 2019:

10. How to identify Robotic Process Automation (RPA) opportunities

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) doesn’t suit every process. Here’s how to identify the best use cases in your organization.

9.  10 emotional intelligence tips from the masters

Your EQ impacts almost every aspect of your career success.

8.  Beware the dark side of agile project management

Many teams don’t do true agile project management; they simply break legacy development process into two-week sprints. Here’s how to improve – and reap the benefits.

7. How to explain Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in plain English

What is robotic process automation (RPA)? What kinds of tasks can it handle? Here’s a primer for IT and business leaders – and anyone needing to demystify the concept.

6.  5 bad habits that steal your time at work

How to flip the script on your to-do list.

5. Job hunt etiquette: How to handle 6 tricky situations

What is the polite response when a company goes dark, or tells you that you're the runner-up, not the winner, for example? Use these tips from job hunt experts.

4. How to build soft skills: 10 must-read books

Want to communicate more effectively? Resolve conflicts wisely? Keep your cool with difficult people? Improve your soft skills with these books.

3. How to explain Kubernetes Operators in plain English

What are Kubernetes Operators, and why are they so valuable to organizations working with containers? Here’s a primer for IT leaders – and anyone needing to demystify the concept.

2. Emotional intelligence: How to work with people you don’t like

These nine tips will help flip your perspective and improve the relationship.

1. 8 powerful phrases of emotionally intelligent leaders

Add these words to your leadership vocabulary.

[ Get our #1 eBook of 2019: Teaching an elephant to dance – a free guide on leading teams through the six stages of digital transformation. ]

Laurianne McLaughlin is Editorial Director, Digital Communities for Red Hat, leading content strategy. Previously, she served as Content Director for The Enterprisers Project, Editor-in-Chief at InformationWeek.com, and Managing Editor at CIO.com.