In the previous post on this topic we discussed the first 45 and 60 days of a new CIO’s life. In this post we will look at the first 75 and 90 days (the third month)

The fifth thing to do (first 75 days) is to look externally.


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What are the competing organisations doing? You will need to set up meetings with CIOS of some of the key similar / competing organisations and seek their inputs on how you can bring the best practices into your new organisation. I suggest that you meet at least three (3) such organisations in this first phase.

You should also look at emerging technologies and look at the possibilities of bringing some of these technologies into your organisation. You can also use this time to talk to some of vendors to get inputs on implementing new ideas and how much these will cost.

The sixth thing to do (first 90 days) is to consolidate all the inputs you have received so far and put together a detailed plan for the next three months and a broad plan for the year. The plan at the least should include revisiting or creating the IT strategy, quick win ideas, cleaning any unhygienic systems or processes, a stakeholder map, improvement ideas and clearing up any pain points of key users. Of course, in addition to this, you need to ensure that the plans will cover day to day operations of the organisation. Before you put these plans into paper you will need to make sure that you have access to sufficient budgets to implement these ideas. You should not be promising things that you cannot implement. These plans need to be discussed with your manager and her approval received. You should take the effort to get back to all the stakeholders you have met with your plans to make them aware of how you have addressed their concerns in your plans.

You can prepare a detailed plan for the year and beyond over the next three months when you start getting actual working (post-honeymoon period!) inputs.

Let me summarise these six “things” in a table.


15 days30 days45 days60 days75 days90 days
Meet manager and understand expectationsMeet and understand stakeholdersUnderstand systems, applications, infrastructure etc.Understand organisation processesLook externally. Meet similar organisationsPlan based on these inputs

Keep in mind, we have only talked about the first ninety days! Your “real” work starts after this. After three months most of your stakeholders will consider you to be a regular part of the organisation and will not give you any consideration as a “newbie”. Your managers and other stakeholders will expect you to start delivering as per organisational needs.

You will also need to keep in mind that from the day one you may be called upon to keep the lights burning. There may be many day-to-day issues that you will have to deal with which may cut into your grand 90-day plan. Please be aware of this so that you can prepare yourself in terms of time and effort.

The first ninety days is very critical. You will not get another opportunity to make a first impression. You will have to work very hard. It will be very backbreaking. But the rewards are worth it. Who is that who said that a thing well begun is half done?

In the next post we will look at some of the pitfalls to be avoided in the first 90 days of a CIO’s new job.