Should I ask for more money?

I received a question from one of my IT Manager Institute students that I think is worth a discussion.

The situation
“We will be conducting Business Continuity Testing in about two weeks and validating our Disaster Recovery (DR) strategy.

We will be testing the following:
Systems:
–  TPS, TDS, TPI, LSA, LPS, HBC, FPS, CRS, SCI, TSS, TPM (These are all in-house developed systems, client server)
Network:
–  HO Internet link will be brought down
–  Telcom VPN connection into HO data center will be brought down
–  International circuits for two country networks will be brought down
–  HO TEBA bank link will be brought down
–  3G link for mobile users will be brought down
Other processes & systems:
–  Active Directory to be failed over to DR (Disaster Recovery site)
–  Job Scheduler (EDI’s) to be failed over to DR
–  Internal and external mail to be failed over to DR site
–  FTP Server to be failed over to DR

It might not look like a big deal but it is one heck of a lot of work to get to the point where we can switch off our data center and within about an hour be up and running at our Disaster Recovery (DR) site, with everything working.

In my opinion the team of people that made this possible deserve a big bonus.”

The question
“My question to you is would it be unfair to ask executive management for a bonus and if so how do I approach it?”

My response
The first question that comes to mind is, “Do you have budget to cover a bonus?” If so, probably no problem; if not, it might be an issue.

2nd question, “Do you have money budgeted to do something other than a cash bonus?” If so, also probably not a problem.

Bonuses don’t have to necessarily be in cash. Could be gifts, nights on the town with their spouse, a nice dinner you host with the team and their spouse, paid time off, etc. What’s important is that you show your team you appreciate their hard work and the results they achieve.

The biggest issue is whether you have the money to pay for it in your operational budget or if you have to ask for extra money outside of your budget. Having to ask for more money is something most executives don’t like to hear, , , not to say it would be wrong to go ask for it, , , only stating what I think about what they will “hear”.

Senior management wants their IT department to be in control of their finances. What this means is that you need to plan for such things, , , even when you don’t necessarily know specifically what the money will be used for.

Do you remember the example I mentioned in the IT Manager Institute class where I put $1,000.00 in my 1987 budget for an employee event, , , not knowing at the time what the event would be? We ended up using it for the houseboat meeting and all day outing on the lake. Didn’t know we would do this when I budgeted for it, but I had the money allocated when we determined what we wanted to do for my staff 8 or 9 months later.

It’s ultimately your call, but my approach would tend to be to do something that is within your current budget without having to ask for “extra money”. If you have it covered, go for it, , , if not, you might want to do something else that’s a bit creative like “paid time off” for a job well done.

It’s worth the effort for you to show appreciation for your staff’s efforts and their results, , , I would just do it without having to go ask my company for more money, , , the company has already approved what it is willing to spend in IT for this fiscal year, , , you should try to make it happen within that commitment. Next year, , , plan to spend some money for performance excellence and make it part of next year’s operational budget.

Lastly, I’m glad to see you are testing your Disaster Recovery strategy. It’s going to help you sleep at night knowing that everything will work properly when and if the event takes place. Your company owes you a bit of appreciation for anticipating and taking care of such an issue before it happens.

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