How Can An IT Manager Create An Effective Budget?

by drjim on August 2, 2012

Image CreditDon't gamble with your team's annual budget!

Don't gamble with your team's annual budget!

Look, you have to create an annual budget for your IT team so just get over it. Since you have to do it, it sure seems like you’d want to find ways to turn this chore into a team building and planning tool. If this sounds like a good idea to you, then we’re going to have to have a talk about just exactly how you can go about making this happen.

Understand The Process

The good news for an IT manager who is setting down to create a budget for their IT team is that the process of creating a budget each year is not a blank sheet of paper. Instead, the company already has a process in place to complete this task.

The bad news is that you may not know how the process works. In order to save yourself a great deal of grief, take the time before you start to create your budget and show some leadership skills. Find out how the budgeting process works. This will include understanding what tasks need to be completed on what dates, who is involved, and what types of approvals are going to be required.

Understand The Company’s Priorities

Once again, you are not going to be creating your IT team’s budget in a vacuum. The company has grand plans for the upcoming year and it is going to be in your best interest to find out what they are before you start to create your budget.

Your goal needs to be to learn what the company wants to accomplish over the next year so that you can align your IT dream team with the company’s priorities. The last thing that you want to do is ask for funding for a project that has nothing to do with what the company is trying to make happen this year.

Understand Your Management

We all work for a management team. That team is going to be evaluated at the end of the year based on what the teams that report into them have been able to accomplish. This means that you are going to want to have a good understanding of what your management’s objects for the year are.

The best way to start to understand these objectives is to ask your management what they want to accomplish this year. Once you know what it is, you are going to have to incorporate this knowledge into the budget that you are creating. Your budget should answer the question “how will we help you to be successful” for your management.

What All Of This Means For You

Your IT team’s annual budget is a very powerful tool that you can use to control what the team works on and what they are able to accomplish this year. In order to do it effectively, you are going to have to keep a few things in mind as you create the budget.

The first is that in order to successfully create a budget, you are going to have to make sure that you understand the company’s budgeting process. Next you are going to have to make sure that the budget that you create is aligned with the company’s priorities. Finally, you need to make sure that you are going to be in sync with your management’s objectives.

Nobody ever said that this budget creation thing was going to be easy to do! However, if you take the time to do it correctly and you make sure that it is in alignment with its environment, then you’ll have a powerful tool with which to become a successful IT manager.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What should you do if your management’s objectives don’t align with the company’s priorities?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Look, as an IT manager you have to create an annual budget for your IT team so just get over it. Since you have to do it, it sure seems like you’d want to find ways to turn this chore into a team building and planning tool. If this sounds like a good idea to you, then we’re going to have to have a talk about just exactly how you can show some leadership and go about making this happen.

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