A special interest group (SIG) is a small group of members with a shared interest in advancing a specific area of knowledge. SIG group members work together to produce solution(s) for that specific area of knowledge which is communicated to the entire membership of CIO Index. A SIG operates in perpetuity - creating and continuously enhancing the solution(s) through a research and feedback loop. Participation on a SIG provides an unprecedented opportunity to network, learn, and for the leader of the SIG an unparalleled opportunity to hone in leadership skills - leadership is management without the benefit of command and control; if you can lead a SIG, you can manage anything.
There are three things that are mandatory for a SIG: a) Problem b) Participation b) Deliverable
A SIG focuses on a specific problem. This is a narrow field of endeavor - all complex problems must be broken down into smaller, and manageable set of problems with a SIG for each.
A SIG must produce a deliverable. Members can research, collaborate with external entities, experiment within organizations, and perform extensive analysis as required. However, at the end of the day, they must produce a deliverable that reports on the solution to the problem they are tackling. This solution can be modified or improved over time but at a given point in time, there must be a solution.
A SIG, therefore, makes participation mandatory. This is not a spectator sport and members must be assigned tasks and deliverable(s) with timelines and an expectation of delivery. Much like a football team cannot have its member(s) sit in the stands, a SIG does not invite observers.
Frequently Asked Questions
The primary difference is in three areas: small size, narrow focus and participation. A SIG typically has 6 but at the most 12 members. A SIG is focused on a specific problem not even an area of expertise. For example, a SIG could be working on creating an IT Strategy Template not on IT Strategy subject area. A SIG mandates participation - each member is assigned task(s) and deliverable(s). SIGs are NOT for observation.
Often, a SIG addresses a complex problem involving many interconnected problem areas. Some SIGs might attract wide attention and result in heavy member enrollment. Such SIGs comprise of three groups: 1) Executive Board 2) Core team 3) Working Committees. The core team comprises of ALL members who have joined the SIG. The SIG is broken into smaller working committees each with 6-12 members who address a specific problem within the broader context. Each working committees chair represents it on the Executive Board. The Executive Board provides governance to the SIG and key decisions must be approved by it - all decisions are final.
CIO Index members who are grappling with a complex problem can join an existing SIG on the topic or, should one not exist, request the formation of a SIG to tackle it.
Members who want to learn, network and lead should join a team. Please note that participation is mandatory for members of a SIG so make sure you have the time before signing up.
Members have the opportunity for networking - working with peers from across the globe provides the best opportunity to make lasting connections. Members learn not only how to solve the problem at hand but also how to solve a problem. The former can provide immediate business value. The latter is an invaluable career enhancing tool for a manager. SIG members get noticed within the community and outside because their work is used by a wide audience. The biggest benefit comes to those who lead a SIG - they learn how to motivate, guide and lead members without a command and control structure. How do you help a person perform who does not report to you nor does their livelihood depend on you? If you can lead a SIG, you can manage ANYTHING!
Participation requirements, and resulting time commitment varies by SIG. The leadership works with team members to determine the expectations. However, expect a time commitment of 5 hours a week.
CIO Index provides both synchronous and asynchronous tools to facilitate SIGs. Our online platform has full featured social groups (all the functionality of forums on Linkedin, and more). Each SIG is assigned a dedicated social group where members can hold discussions, and post documents with instant notification sent to the SIG membership. For synchronous communications, we use Citrix's GoToMeeting platform.
There are two types of SIGs - Public, and Private. A public SIG can be joined by any member. A private SIG is by invitation only and a link to join is sent to the invitees. Please visit the SIG home page on CIO Index to see a list of active public SIGs. You can also search for active public SIGs. Click on "join" to become a member. Some SIGs require approval so you will be notified when the moderator has approved your request.