Daily Archives: June 18, 2010

Education is key, , , even for an IT manager

Knowledge is power and positions you to achieve greater levels of success. Over the years, I’ve watched the light bulb go on for a young IT manager I was coaching on a particular  management issue. I’m sure that my mentors saw the same thing happen with me.

Managing effectively at a high level is something most of us can do if we know what to do and how to go about it.  Management techniques and processes can be learned just as a programmer learns how to incorporate a new routine of code into his coding arsenal.

I’ve seen other managers look amazed at the fact that I can submit an IT budget for a large organization in record time and I always achieve my operating budget.

I’ve seen employees light up by being part of a successful and motivated organization while others on the outside were looking in wishing they were part of our winning team.

These things are easy when you know what to do and how to go about it. I didn’t invent all of these tips and techniques, but I’ve done one of the best jobs in the industry in packaging practical processes and tools in training programs, books, and tools that help IT managers achieve more success.

I remember learning how to install a new mini-computer system with business application software for a new IBM customer. It didn’t take me long to incorporate a systems installation project template that I could use for every new installation. All I had to do was identify the responsible person for each task, put in dates for the tasks to be completed, add a few new tasks and it was ready to go.

This simple process saved me countless hours of work, organized each project, and gave the client a tremendous feeling of security because of the specifics all laid out and the confidence I had in knowing my projects worked. And this was long before structured project management programs came into vogue.

I certainly didn’t invent the new installation project plan IBM taught me, but I learned quickly how to use and improve it to boost my productivity and to insure we accomplished the mission.  I consider it one of the keys to why I successfully installed 13 systems my rookie year at IBM and received a Regional Manager’s Award. Knowledge truly helps you succeed.

My books and tools are used by IT managers all over the world and the IT Manager Institute is the most practical training in the industry to focus on the “business aspects” of managing technology resources. Check out the tabs at the top of this page to learn more.

Why is the new CIO revisiting all projects?

“We have a new CIO and he wants new cost justification for all existing projects. What is this all about?”

I’ve been that new CIO before and I’ve done exactly the same thing  –  asked for the cost justification and benefits of all existing projects as well as planned projects. The reasoning is pretty simple:

  1. Is there cost justification?
  2. What is the business value we will get from the project?
  3. Does the project fit within the company’s business needs and issues?
  4. Does the project have the appropriate priority?
  5. Does the project have a business sponsor?

I’ve seen IT organizations work very hard and spend thousands of dollars on projects that provide no value to the company. It’s not that uncommon actually because a real problem exists when “technicians” develop IT strategies without doing their homework and gain agreement to insure their initiatives are in sync with company needs.

Your new CIO’s main obligation is to the company that hired him. His first priority has to be to assess the company’s needs and to inspect every project that spends money or uses technology resources to determine if the IT organization is working on the “right” priorities.

Many studies suggest that over 50% of all IT organizations are out of sync with their company needs. If that’s the case, there is a very good chance the previous CIO was focusing on some inappropriate things.

Jump in and help him size it up quickly. It’s not a personal issue so don’t be too attached to your project even if you are almost done. For example, if you are working on a systems conversion for a subsidiary of the company and the parent company intends to sell that subsidiary, you are wasting time and valuable resources. Even if you are 60% complete, it may be the best solution to cancel the project for the company’s best interest.

Help your CIO refocus the IT organization so it provides the most value possible to your business client. Everyone wins when you do, and all lose when you don’t.