The Importance of Shipping — For IT Leaders

The Importance of Shipping — For IT Leaders

IT Leaders…

Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself this question:

“Am I delivering difference-making technology to my organization, or am I maintaining the status quo?”

If your answer is the former: Congrats…you are doing your job as an IT Leader. If your answer is the latter: Read on.

As an IT leader, one of the most critical things you can do is deliver innovative technologies to your organization. Maintaining the “status quo” or “keeping the lights on” is not going to do the trick.

You have to innovate, and …

You Have to Ship!

What Does it Mean to Ship?

Shipping means delivering your ideas to the world. It is not enough to have great ideas. Everyone has great ideas floating around in their head. But if you do not deliver those ideas to the world…they are meaningless. Innovative thinking is great and can lead to amazing things. But only if you do something about it.

If you are someone who Ships; it means that you are someone who can take your most innovative ideas and turn them into reality.

It’s the most valuable thing you can do as an IT Leader.

How to Become a Better “Shipper”

OK, if you want to boost your Shipping powers a little; here are some suggestions on how to become a better Shipper.

Avoid being a Perfectionist

A lot of people delay starting a big project because they are waiting for the “perfect time” or waiting for things to be “just right”. They are being perfectionists. Perfectionism is just a dressed-up form of procrastination. There is no “perfect time” and you will never be 100% ready. Gather the minimal amount of info you need…and go!

Stay Strategic

Challenge yourself to think strategically. Make time for strategic thinking. A useful habit I adopted is making time at the beginning of my day as my strategic thinking time. I sit quietly, let my mind wander, and write down my thoughts. Don’t be afraid to think big or come up with “crazy ideas.” If you want to Ship, you have to cultivate the ideas to act on.

Begin with the End in Mind

What are your organization’s strategic goals? What are the biggest problems? Start there. Start Shipping the projects that help achieve the most important goals or solve the biggest problems.

Manage your Time — Think like a Lion!

A lot of people fail to Ship because they simply do not manage their time and priorities well. Here is a mindset that helps me stay focused on big, strategic projects. Think of yourself like a lion. Your big projects are antelope. Your smaller tasks are mice. What would a lion hunt? Antelope, of course. So be a lion and keep your focus on hunting antelope.

Permissionless Leadership

Don’t wait for permission to innovate and Ship. The world needs leaders. Not people waiting for permission to be leaders. If you work for an organization with a culture that frowns on acting independently … it might be time for a change if you want to be a Shipper.

Quotes on Shipping

Here are some great quotes to inspire you to become a better Shipper.

“If you don’t ship you haven’t done your work. We’re not waiting for you to tell us about your notebook filled with ideas.” — Seth Godin

A great “gut punch” quote. A strong reminder that in the end, it is your work that counts…not your ideas.

“No one should know what you’re going to do until you’ve done it. The likes hit different when it’s for an accomplishment instead of a plan.” — Ed Latimore

Don’t bring half-baked ideas to people to try to impress them. Share your creations instead.

“Real Artists Ship.” — Steve Jobs

A great reminder from the master of shipping himself. You are not an artist until you deliver your art to the world…until you Ship.

“The pain that comes with action is acute, scars you, and makes you grow. The pain that comes from inaction is low-grade, softens you, and decays your soul.” — Kyle Eschenroeder

Don’t let the fear of change hold you back from delivering innovation. Procrastination is the enemy of creation. And in the end, the pain of procrastination is greater than the pain of action.

“IT does not wait around to be told what to do. IT is consultive and proactive and drives innovation, value and results.”- Martha Heller

A reminder of the importance of permissionless leadership. Great IT Leaders don’t wait for permission to start bringing your most innovative ideas to life.


Don’t get caught up in trivial tasks. Don’t use your time and energy maintaining the status quo. Don’t let your best ideas die in your head.

An amateur comes up with ideas. A professional creates.

They Ship.

Be an IT PRO fessional…and Ship!

Originally published at on December 17, 2020.




What do you get when you cross a CIO with a Stoic? Me! I write about Stoicism, Mindset, and Tech. My Stoicism Course:

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Michael McGill

Michael McGill

What do you get when you cross a CIO with a Stoic? Me! I write about Stoicism, Mindset, and Tech. My Stoicism Course:

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