5 Steps IT Managers Need To Create A Strategy

by drjim on October 20, 2011

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An effective IT strategy can result in success for your team

An effective IT strategy can result in success for your team

Hmm, isn’t strategy something that the big boys are supposed to be taking care of? Most IT managers probably don’t think that they either have the skills needed to create and implement an effective strategy or that it’s simply not part of their job. Just to be clear about this: creating and implementing an effective IT strategy for your team is most definitely a part of your job. Now let’s figure out just exactly how to go about doing it…

Step 1: SWOT

The first step in developing a workable IT strategy is to take the time to perform a SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The key here is to perform this analysis from the vantage point of your team: what do you do well, where is your team dropping the ball, what projects or opportunities do you see coming your way, what might make your team not matter anymore?

Step 2: Identify Internal Resources

Once you’ve identified the opportunities that are available to your team, you next need to determine how you can take advantage of them. In order to be assigned to work on a project or to obtain new resources, you need to be able to leverage internal resources. Use this opportunity to reach out to people and organizations within the company and forge relationships that will help your team to be able to accomplish more.

Step 3: Threats & Opportunities

Your team will always be facing both threats to its value to the company as well as opportunities for it to become more valuable. You need to look at each of these and identify what alternatives you have for dealing with them. Ensure that you both have accurate information as well as all of the information that you need. Once you’ve done this, pick one of the alternatives and make it your strategy of record for dealing with this threat / opportunity.

Step 4: Building A Good Fit

What’s going to make a strategy work with your team is to find a way to make the all of the different parts work together to make your team stronger. An example of this could be if you wanted your team to play a big roll in the company’s rollout of a new vacation management program you might have your team take a Ruby training class so that you could offer to take care of both the front-end and the back-end parts of the project.

Step 5: Alignment

Just coming up with a strategy is not enough. Once you’ve created the strategy, you need to sell it to your team. You’ll know that you’ve successfully done this once everyone knows what the strategy is and understands what their role in implementing the strategy is.

What All Of This Means For You

Creating and implementing an IT strategy for your team is a part of every IT manager’s job. The trick is knowing the 5 steps that are involved in doing this correctly.

Creating a strategy starts with performing a SWAT analysis, finding internal resources and using them to come up with a strategy to counter threats and take advantage of opportunities, combine activities in order to create a good fit among internal activities. Finally, take the time to create alignment between the various players.

Creating a strategy is the key to providing your team with a clear direction for the work that they will be doing. That’s why it is such a critical task for IT managers to do well. Follow these 5 steps and you will be seen as a strategic IT manager!

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

Question For You: How often do you think that you should revisit your IT strategy to see if it needs to be updated?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So what’s it going to take to make you a successful IT manager? Is it going to be your understanding of a wide variety of emerging technologies? Is it your ability to understand where the company stands in the marketplace and where it wants to go? Or is it your business skills that allow you to seamlessly network with the rest of the company in order to lead your IT team? Turns out that these are all good to have; however, what it’s going to take to get you to the finish line is something much more valuable: personal energy.

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