5 must-read Harvard Business Review articles in February

5 must-read Harvard Business Review articles in February

Check out these five thought-provoking HBR articles, curated especially for CIOs and IT leaders

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Harvard Business Review Top 5 articles for October 2015

Each month, through our partnership with Harvard Business Review, we refresh our business library for CIOs with five new HBR articles we believe CIOs and IT leaders will value highly. The curated pieces below are available now through the end of February. 

Is waterfall sneaking back into your agile workflows?

It’s not uncommon for organizations undergoing an agile transformation to get stuck somewhere in the middle. This is known as AgileFall – where you try to be agile and lean but traditional waterfall development techniques keep sneaking back into the process. In this article, Steve Blank shares a story from a Fortune 10 company that found itself stuck in AgileFall – and the mindset shifts needed to get back on track. Blank explains the five operating principles of Lean/Agile that everyone needed to agree upon in order for agile to work. If AgileFall sounds familiar to you, download this article to learn a few small tweaks that can make a big difference in your organization. 

Download “When waterfall principles sneak back into agile workflows

Why digital transformations fail: 2 big reasons

In a survey of 1,350 global leaders, most reported poor returns on their digital reinvention investments, primarily due to an inability to scale digital innovations beyond the pilot stage, according to research conducted by the authors of this report. As Mike Sutcliff, Raghav Narsalay, and Aarohi Sen explain, only 22 percent demonstrated both high returns and successful scaling. Their research uncovered two critical challenges most businesses face – and how leading companies deal with those issues before they derail digital transformation plans. Download this article to learn more. 

Download “The two big reasons that digital transformations fail

How to prepare for automation: 2 keys

What will make a career sustainable in the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Tiger Tyagarajan, CEO of Genpact, makes a case for continuous education and life-long learning in this HBR article. He offers a few ways business leaders can make this a priority and support and foster their team’s curiosity and quest for knowledge. For instance, leaders must provide training around both hard and soft skills needed for the age of AI. They must also recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all model for education. “As automation inevitably eliminates human hands in manual and monotonous business processes, it’s my belief that the role of employees will be defined by an evolved skillset and an open mindset,” Tyagarajan writes. He calls on executives to “to gear the workforce away from the narrow-focused career path and toward a more evolved career lifespan.” Download the article to learn more. 

Download “To prepare for automation, stay curious and don't stop learning

Teams can fight burnout – together

Despite the fact that many companies are offering more employee wellness initiatives, like yoga rooms and gym memberships, burnout remains an issue as employees are driven to produce more, better, faster results. In this article, authors Tony Schwartz, Rene Polizzi, Kelly Gruber, and Emily Pines describe how one team at Ernst & Young set out to fight burnout – together. Each participant in the experiment agreed to five key work behaviors that prioritized a balance of productivity, mental breaks, physical activity, rest, and work-life blend. Download this article to learn how this plan benefitted both the individual participants and the company as a whole – as well as how you can advocate for a similar program within your organization. 

Download “What happens when teams fight burnout together

How to build a culture that embraces data and AI

“Many organizations aspire to have cultures that embrace data, analytics and AI, and other new technologies, but few make specific attempts to create such cultures,” writes Thomas H. Davenport in this HBR article. To tackle cultural change head on, one company created a program to get senior and middle-level executives excited about the possibilities of technology, Davenport describes. “The bulk of the program involved expert-led instruction and hands-on and immersive workshops to build customer empathy, understanding emerging tech, and practice pattern recognition to spot trends and opportunities ahead,” he writes. Through insights about the program’s design and the perspectives of participants, Davenport offers a wealth of information on how businesses can turn anxiety about emerging technology into excitement, and build a culture of change agents. 

Download “Building a culture that embraces data and AI

Also read: 

IT talent strategy: New tactics for a new era

The year 2020 brings completely new IT talent challenges to organizations. In the decade ahead, technology talent will play a pivotal role in whether companies succeed or fail. This new research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services identifies five talent practices CIOs should adopt now to ensure their organizations thrive in the future, offering insights from more than a dozen CIOs and talent experts. Download this report for real-world examples of how you can attract and cultivate the IT talent that will help you succeed. 

Download: "IT talent strategy: New tactics for a new era"

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Carla Rudder is a writer and content manager on The Enterprisers Project.

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