How IT Managers Can Find Out What They Should Be Doing!

by drjim on October 31, 2013

IT managers need to talk to their management to find out what they need to be doing

IT managers need to talk to their management to find out what they need to be doing
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There is one universal rule to being a successful IT manager: your team has to be working on the right things if you ever want to be successful. This is one of the IT manager skills that we all need to have. You would think that this would be pretty elementary – of course you’re working on the right things. However, you’d be surprised at just how often this turns out to not be the case. There are a lot of reasons why you might find yourself in this situation; however, let’s spend some time talking about how you can avoid this problem all together.

Why You Need To Talk To Your Management

Just exactly what is your company expecting you to do as an IT manager? In the end, it all comes down to doing the best job of managing the resources that they have entrusted you with. Your IT manager training covered this, right? Your management is expecting you to identify what your team should be working on, prioritizing these tasks, coming up with a plan to accomplish what must be done, implementing your plan, and then communicating to everyone how the plan is going.

One of the key things that any IT manager always needs to keep in mind is that you don’t have access to an unlimited amount of resources. What this means is that your IT team can’t do everything. The other thing that you must be aware of is that the clients that your IT team serves always want the output of your team sooner rather than later.

Given all of this, this means that one of your most important tasks as an IT manager is to be able to assess what the company needs to have done and to identify what part of that your IT team is going to be able to accomplish. What a lot of new IT managers don’t realize is that you’re biggest challenge just might be deciding what you won’t be doing.

What To Talk To Your Management About

When you sit down with your senior management, you are going to want to have a plan for what you’ll be talking with them about. Your goal for this conversation is going to be to find out what business goal they are focused on so that you can start to anticipate the IT needs that they are going to have in the near future.

One of the first questions that you are going to want to ask during this discussion is what they feel the company’s overall mission or purpose is. You just might be surprised at their answer. You’re going to want to drill down a bit on this one and have them tell you what industry you are in. Your assumptions in this area may turn out to be off base and this is exactly the type of thing that you want to learn.

The existence of a 3-5 year plan for the company is something that you would also like to discover if it exists. Assuming that the company thought that this was important enough to pull together, you’d like to be able to take a look at it so that you can understand where the company is trying to get to. Knowing this, you’ll be able to better map what your team can do to help the company get to where it wants to go.

Finally, every company wants to grow. Just exactly how this growth is going to happen is a very important question. During your discussion you’re going to need to do some exploring and find out how the company is planning on becoming bigger over time. IT is going to have to play a role in making this happen and your team is going to be a part of that.

What All Of This Means For You

There is no way that you and your IT team can be effective (no matter how much IT team building you do) if you don’t know what you are supposed to be working on. Instead of trying to guess what you should be doing, take the initiative and go sit down and have a talk with your management.

The purpose of this discussion is going to be for you to find out what is driving your management. What business goals are they trying to accomplish that they’ll be looking to you and your team to help them with? Most importantly, you’ll be searching to find out if they can tell you what the rest of the company really wants from your IT team?

No, these types of discussion are never easy to set up in the first place and even when you’ve gotten them set up, it can be easy to have them pushed off to the side because more important tasks can pop up. However, be persistent. You need to have this discussion with your management otherwise you’ll never know if your team is spinning its wheels. Once you know what you are supposed to be doing, then you and your team will be on your way to becoming successful!

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

Question For You: How long do you think that the meeting with your management should take?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I’m currently in charge of a team of skilled IT development professionals. They each have their own set of skills that they bring to my team and I need each of them to be operating at peak efficiency if I want to have any hope of my team being a success. However, I’m currently facing a big problem: two members of my team flat out don’t get along with each other. Who among us has the IT manager skills to deal with this? What’s an IT manager to do?

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