How To Negotiate A Bigger Budget For Your IT Team

by drjim on June 21, 2012

Image Credit Getting a bigger IT budget for your team just requires some effort…

Getting a bigger IT budget for your team just requires some effort…

If there is one thing that all IT managers want, it’s more money. For you see, we all believe that if only the company would boost the annual budget for our IT team then just imagine the great things that we could do! You can sit around hoping that the company will suddenly realize just how valuable your team is or you can do something about getting a bigger budget. Let’s look at what steps you can take to make this happen…

Getting Decision Maker Buy-In

One of the biggest challenges that an IT manager faces in getting bigger budgets has to do with getting support for their team. Often times the folks in the finance department have no idea what your team does for the company.

Take the time to educate both the finance teams and your company’s management. Taking the time to do this will ensure that when it comes time to allocate budget money, your team will be at the top of their list.

Know Your Budget

Every line in your budget has a story behind it. Make sure that you know what your IT team’s budget story is so that you can tell it to the people who will be allocating the budget dollars.

The one thing that you don’t want to have happen is to have someone ask you about a line item in your budget and have you not be able to explain why you are requesting those funds. Make sure that you know what your team’s budget story is and that you can tell it to others.

Practice Good Communication

Obtaining a budget for your team is a process that can take a considerable amount of time. During this time, make the effort to keep your team informed about what is going on and what the status of your efforts are.

By keeping the team informed, they will be able to keep you informed also. This means that if there are any unplanned events that occur, your team will be able to notify you and you’ll be able to evaluate how they impact your budget request before anyone else does.

No Surprises!

Every budget request is based on a set of assumptions that you’ve made. As with all such things in life, things can change and those assumptions may turn out to be incorrect as time moves on.

Make sure that you don’t get hit with any unpleasant surprises. If an assumption that you’ve made changes, then find out what has happened to change it. Once you know the background, take the initiative and inform the people who are in charge of allocating budgets – it is far better that they hear this from you than anyone else!

What All Of This Means For You

Budgets for IT teams are a case of give-and-take. What one team gets is what another team does not get. This means that if you want your IT dream team to get even more funding in order to do bigger and better things during the next year, you are going to have to do some budget negotiating to make this happen.

You are going to have to start things off by getting buy-in from decision makers. Then you are going to have to make sure that you fully understand your budget in order to ward off any questions. During the budgeting process you are going to have to show some leadership and keep your team fully informed about your progress. Finally, the one thing that can sink your quest for a bigger IT budget would be unwelcome surprises. Make sure that there aren’t any!

It is possible to get a bigger slice of the pie for your IT team. However, this isn’t going to happen all by itself. Instead, you are going to have to take steps to make it happen. Follow the steps that we’ve outlined for you and then you’ll be able to sit back and make the most of your new, larger, IT budget!

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

Question For You: What do you think would be the best way to keep you team informed on the status of the budgeting process?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

“Be more innovative” – how many times has your management told you that? Although being innovative isn’t really part of the IT Manager’s job definition, IT Managers still want their IT teams to always be staying ahead of what their internal customers want. We’d like to be able to have our team be solving problems that our customers might not even know that they have. However, it turns out that being innovative is very hard to do. Good news – I’ve got three ways that an IT Manager can capture some of that innovation stuff and apply it to their IT team.

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