As an IT manager you probably find yourself in a difficult position quite often. You think that you know what you and your team are supposed to be working on; however, all too often different people seem to show up and ask you to work on something completely different. How’s an IT manager supposed to know what to do? It turns out that there is a simple solution to this problem: take a survey.
Who To Ask
The first question that you are going to need an answer to when you are planning on conducting a survey is to determine who needs to participate in the survey. As the manager of an IT team, you need to take a moment and understand where your team fits within the rest of the company.
Your goal should be to try to include as many people as possible in your survey. What you really want to do is to get as many answers to your questions as possible in order to easily detect any trends that are occurring in people’s responses. This means that you are going to want to start by including your IT management in the list of people who will be asked to complete your survey. This will include senior managers and IT department managers.
However, you don’t want to stop there. Your IT team exists to serve the entire company. There must be specific departments within the company that you have been working on projects for. Make sure that the leaders of these departments along with the department members that your team has been interfacing with are included when you build the list of who you’ll be sending your survey to.
What To Ask
Once you know who you’ll be including in your survey, the next question that you are going to have to find an answer to will be the issue of what to ask them. The good news is that you already know the answer to this question.
The first set of questions that you are going to want to ask your survey participants will have to do with their overall perception of your IT team. You’ll want to ask them about how responsive they believe your team is and how effective the team is when they do respond to the individual’s needs.
The next set of questions should deal with the survey taker’s belief in terms of how well your IT team is aligned with the other department’s business goals. Do they feel that your team is focused on their needs and issues or does you team not pay enough respect to what the survey taker is trying to accomplish for the company?
Every interaction with your team should make the survey taker happy. Ask them how they view your team in terms of: professionalism, courteousness, knowledge and follow-up. Before you conclude your survey, take the time to ask the person who is taking the survey to tell you what three things your team could be doing or doing better.
What All Of This Means For You
Too few of us IT managers are mind readers. Instead of being able to tap into other people’s heads, we need a different way to find out just exactly what our teams are supposed to be working on. One way to solve this mystery is to take the time to conduct a survey.
In order to conduct an effective survey, you first have to determine who you will send the survey to. This should include your senior managers, department managers, and the heads of other departments in the company that you work with. The survey itself needs to ask probing questions about how satisfied the various parties are with the work that your team is doing. Additionally, you need to find out what their suggestions are for how your team can do a better job.
The problem that every IT team has is that there are a number of different parties that we may be serving at any one time. The responsibility for finding out what these different masters both want us to do and how they view the work that our team is doing, we need to ask them. Take the time to do this and study what they tell you and both you and your team will become even more valuable to the company.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
Question For You: How many people do you think you need to take your survey in order to get valuable results that you can use?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Think about the last time that you went on a trip somewhere. I’m sure that you packed some clothes, got gas for the car, and of course got directions so that you’d be able to end up where you wanted to. It turns out that being an IT manager is very similar to going on a trip: if you don’t have the right directions then you’re not going to be able to get to where you need to be. You need to have the IT manager skills needed to do this correctly.