What should I talk about at a conference?

I'm in the middle of writing proposals for Invited Talks and Tutorials at Usenix LISA 2010 and I thought I'd throw this question out to the readers of this blog:

What would you like to hear me talk about?

I speak at LISA a lot. I talk about Time Management, tips for running an IT department, and a few other things. But what would you LIKE to hear me teach or talk about?

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Conferences

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How you handle the dev ops relationship

I'm a sucker for anything concerning how to organize and run an IT department or even just a small team within a department. Technical stuff I can figure out any day of the week. Give me some hot tea, a pair of headphones and an all-nighter with Google and I can go from 0-60 on any topic.

...with the exception of the softer side of IT such as how do I get team members to cooperate? How can I get stagnated projects moving? How can I change the perception of IT from basement dwelling ne'er do wells to gleaming heroes?

I suppose if I had to narrow it down to a specific topic, I'd brush past time management (you and David Allen have done more than enough in that area; Thanks!) and even snub project management (even though I'd love to hear more about that) and instead choose the following:

"How can you shake off the cynical fatalism that tends to grip many an IT department (especially these days) and bond the individuals together as a team to at least move in the same general direction towards high level goals?"

It seems that many IT departments have always tended to have an Us vs Them mentality which, provoked or not, almost always ends up in bitterness and failure. Furthermore, the personalities that are attracted to IT do not seem to me to be given to cooperation within a team. Combine those things with a depressed economy that causes projects and funding to be pulled back and you have now entered a Twilight Zone of IT zombies, shuffling around the offices looking to bite into unsuspecting office denizens with their toxic, bitter attitude. I see that in myself sometimes and I hate it.

Any advice on how to band together a team, promote harmony and push through to get projects done while leaving bitterness and grievances behind? Hmmm... on second though, you might have to change your blog name to Everything Emotional Counselor. =)

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