Smart IT Managers Know How To Do The Budget Dance

by drjim on June 14, 2012

Image Credit When creating a budget, it's important to know who should lead…

When creating a budget, it's important to know who should lead…

Creating a budget for your IT team can be a challenge for any IT manager. There are so many different things that you need to keep in mind. It turns out that you also have to show some leadership and have a good understanding of your organization and how to maneuver within it during the budgeting process. Here are some tips on what you’re going to need to be doing in order to get the budget that you need.

Understand The Process

Successfully creating a budget for your IT team is a little bit like getting good at jumping on to a moving train. The company already has a process in place for creating a budget and you need to find out what that process is and adapt to it.

What you need to find out are things such as understanding how the whole budgeting process works at your company. This includes determining if there are any guidelines that you need to follow, what the timing of the budget creation process is, and how the company’s management will use your budget once you’ve created it.

Communicate All The Time

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that one of your primary talents is probably not finance. That means that this whole budget creation process is a bit out of your league – sure you can do it, but you’ll still need some help along the way.

What this means is that you are going to have to be working on your communication skills as you create your budget. You are going to have to be staying in contact with a someone within the finance department. They are the person that you’ll be able to ask questions to when you run into something that you don’t understand.

Additionally, when you are creating your team’s budget you’ll end up making a number of assumptions. Run your assumptions by your finance department contact to make sure that they are correct.

Identify The Real Issues

I wish that I could tell you that everyone in your company will always be open and honest with you while you are creating your budget. However, the reality is that this simply isn’t true. It’s not necessarily that they are hiding anything from you, but they may not even be aware of what the real issues are.

This means that as you go about creating your budget, you are going to have to do some digging. As you work with various people while creating your budget, you are going to have to uncover what the real concerns are that are driving their decisions are. Once you know what these are, then you can take steps to address them.

What All Of This Means For You

The task of creating and getting a budget approved for your IT dream team is not a simple mechanical process. Instead it is a very careful dance that you need to do with the rest of the company as you lean to deal with the organizational issues that every company has when it comes to the budgeting process.

You are going to have to understand how the company does its budgeting process. This means that you are going to have to stay in contact with people in your finance department in order to ensure that you understand what is needed from you. Finally, not everything will be clearly laid out for you – you’re going to have to do some digging in order to uncover what the real concerns that are driving budget decisions are.

Taking the time to learn about and to manage the human side of the budgeting process is the key to creating and getting your team’s budget approved. Yes, this will take some extra time; however, it will make the overall process flow that much easier and so it’s well worth the time that you put into it.

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

Question For You: Given when the budget is due, when do you think that you should start working on it?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

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…

Be Sociable, Share!

Previous post:

Next post: