If I was Alan Chapman, the acting executive director of the Queensland Government Chief Information Office, I'd be really irate right now.
Alan Chapman (Credit: Queensland government)
Chapman sprang into the IT public eye when he became the acting
chief information officer following predecessor Peter Grant being
seconded to Queensland Health in July 2007. He continued in the
role when Grant jumped ship to Microsoft.
In fact he'd held it, in acting capacity, for almost a year
and a half before the title at least was handed to Mal Grierson in
November 2008 when the Department of Public Works became the lead
agency for the government's IT function. (Grierson was the director
general.) Chapman then became the "acting" executive director of the
Chief Information Office.
As I understand it, Chapman still did exactly the same thing he
always did as acting CIO when he was the executive director, just
without the title.
Meanwhile Grierson is said to wear the title of CIO so that he can swing
his considerable political weight to try and get
agencies to swallow the government's consolidated IT vision.
Now, after doing the work for a title he doesn't own, Chapman is
being rewarded by having his office split up and "having the
opportunity" to apply for one of the roles heading up one of the
If I was him, I'd tell the government exactly where they could
put those roles. But given his character, he might actually take
one. Chapman is said to be an extremely capable IT leader, but who
isn't enough of a political animal to really flourish in the upper
ranks. He's spent 25 years working for the government or
universities which must, at times, have been a thankless job.
Describing himself in a ZDNet.com.au
interview last year, Chapman said he had experienced "all aspects of ICT from the inside
including software development, IT operations, architecture,
design, procurement and strategy". The broad perspective didn't
evade him either, he said.
In the interview he said his ideal CIO position would be working
"for a moderately-sized software technology start-up". "I think the
challenge combined with the raw energy and enthusiasm would make
for an exciting job," he said.
In my opinion, now is the time for Chapman to live that dream.
Sure, markets aren't great. Sure, government is about as safe as
you can get. I still think that if he doesn't do it now, he won't.
Yet if he's that worried about security, there are plenty of other
state governments who'd love an experienced CIO. There's a general
dearth of good men out there as I've been told over and over
The most important thing in my opinion is for Chapman not to take a demotion
by applying for a portion of his former role. It isn't
constructive. All it would do would be to reward the Queensland Government for shafting him.