Daily Archives: August 31, 2011

IT Manager Institute class request proposal

Trying to cost justify the IT Manager Institute or maybe another  training program?

Use the IT Manager Institute proposal as a guide to communicate your request.

CLICK HERE to download a Word document you may edit.

Are we having fun yet?

Managing an IT organization is challenging. I believe it is the most challenging and difficult management job in a company.


Primarily because you have to understand the business needs and issues of all departments in the company, , , not just in the IT organization.

Not only that, these issues change often if not daily and even if they did not change, , , technology is changing at such a rapid pace that it puts tremendous pressure on an IT organization.

To say your IT management role can be stressful and include lots of pressure is an understatement. Even when the client isn’t pressing us, , , our personality types cause us to place pressure on ourselves.

IT managers are their “own worst critic”, you know.

You need ways to relieve or reduce the pressure. Work needs to be fun, , , we need to enjoy what we do for a living. If you do not, I can tell you life is too short. If you don’t find ways to enjoy work, , , your life may be much shorter than it should be.

I’ve seen far too many people stay in jobs that are not fulfilling for them and certainly not something they enjoy. Don’t let this happen to you.

I’ve been in a couple of company situations that were awful for me. I’ve also been with companies that were tremendous, , , so I recognize the difference.

From personal experience I can tell you about how stressful it is when you find yourself in a situation where it is all you can do to get up and go to a terrible job that you literally hate what you do.

I can also tell you how exciting it is to be doing something you truly love to do and that you receive gratification in doing. You work harder and longer, but work does not seem like work, , , because you enjoy it so much.

Start today by identifying what makes you happy at work. Better yet, what is the type of work that you enjoy doing. It may be something totally different from what you do today. For me it became a slightly different focus of what I had been doing for over 20 years.

When you find something that makes you want to “jump out of bed each morning and get to work” because you love what you do, , , you are onto something very powerful.

Find this thing you have real passion for and watch out, , , great things can happen.

Learn to have fun at work. Find ways to do things with your employees that helps them have fun as well. An IT organization deals with negative issues much of the time, , , don’t let this be what defines your organization.

You will see, , , when people start having fun at work, can laugh at themselves and others, , , when they enjoy being part of your team, , , tremendous things happen. Create a work environment of “work hard and play hard” and you will see a big difference in what your team can accomplish.

It starts with you, , , if you aren’t having fun and enjoying the challenge it is transferring over to your employees. Find ways to enjoy and embrace the challenges so you can help your team do the same.

Make it a point and remind yourself to do one thing every day that is simply a fun thing to do at work. Over time, it becomes easier and easier to enjoy your day and ultimately it just becomes a normal thing for you.

Project scope creep is going to get you

Do you know what “project scope creep” is?

Who do you think are the main cause of scope creep in your company?

Scope creep happens after you define the scope and deliverable of a project and make a commitment to deliver it. As your team works on the project, over time you discover your client’s expectations of what you will deliver has increased, , , in some cases quite substantially more than what the original project scope was defined to be.

Here is an example. Your original project to develop a new software feature was going to take 300 hours but 60 days into the project the client thinks you are going to develop functionality that will probably take 500 hours, , , your project has mysteriously grown by 40%.

As a result, your project will not be successful, , , you will either deliver less than expected or you will complete the project much later than expected.

Why did this happen and what caused this huge increase in scope, , , better yet, who caused it?

The phenomena of scope creep comes back to “who caused it”. Most think the client is the culprit.

It’s usually not the case, , , most of the time scope creep is caused by your own IT people. That’s right, , , we are the primary cause of scope creep. It is like “shooting ourselves in the foot”.

Here is what happens. Your people, in this case programmers and business analysts, are very bright and conscientious people. They want to do a good job for your clients.

As they begin working on a software feature enhancement to address a client issue, they think of things that could make the product even better, , , little things, mind you, , , but great ideas that will help the client beyond the initial scope of what we originally agreed to do.

Before you know it, the client is all excited about what he is seeing and hearing about his new software feature. As parts of the code are completed, more discussions take place because the programmer and business analyst identify additional things that can be done to improve the situation, , , all good things.

The problem is that these “good things” add work to the project and will make the project run longer and cost more than originally planned.

In many cases, these discussions take place in the background and the project manager is not even aware he is literally being set up for failure, , , albeit unintentionally and more of people trying to do good things for the client.

Coach your employees and teach them about scope creep. You want them to be creative and to come up with good ideas, , , you just need them to bring these ideas to the project manager first to discuss them, , , not to get the client all excited and have his expectations get out of line with what has been committed to.

If the idea has value, we will take it to the client together to evaluate the situation. If it has enough value to change the scope of the project, we will do it in a way that will manage the client’s expectations as to delivery date, cost, etc.

Teach your employees about scope creep and ensure they understand there are only two people who can add additional scope to a project, , , the project sponsor or the project manager. All good ideas need to go through one of these two people.

Projects have to be managed and one of the elements of project management is to manage scope creep.