You call yourself an IT manager or IT executive, , , so what do you tell people when they ask you, “What is your strategy?”
Strategy comes in many different forms. It would be helpful to understand the context of the question when someone asks you this question. If no one is asking it, , , you should be asking yourself the question, , , and hopefully you have specific answers.
Let’s talk about three key strategies:
- Short term strategy – No matter what your situation, there are things that need to be addressed sooner than later. Your team is focused on projects and things “right now”, , , you should always be able to articulate what you are focused on and plan to accomplish in the next 60-90 days.
- Long term strategy – What are the ultimate goals and objectives of your team? Senior management and department managers need to know where you are headed long term, , , so do your IT employees. You need to be able to justify what you are doing and articulate every major initiative in business value terms for why you need to spend money and time on such work.
- Personal career strategy – What do you want in life and career? I can assure you that if you do not spend some time to think about this and put a plan into place, you won’t get very far in life. Analyze what you want, decide you want to achieve it for yourself, and develop a strategy that will take you there.
Successful people are like successful coaches, , , they approach their business with a game plan. It is developed based upon the goals they want to achieve and the obstacles and circumstances that surround them. They don’t take “No” for an answer, , , obstacles become challenges to overcome and the game plan helps them do just that.
Do you have a game plan? If not, there is no better day than today to start developing one.
Let’s progress from an established manager’s game plan to day 1 of a new position:
What are your priorities, what do you need to know, and where are you going to find all that information?
Documentation is the scourge of IT, and without it, you’re going to be picking the brains of those around you, trying to piece together a whole lot of subjective views. You can’t depend on “the boss” to give you details … He/she probably has only 20-25% of the information you need, and your colleagues and staff will all have only their views, depending on how forthcoming your predecessor was with sharing knowledge. (S)he’s your predecessor for a reason, so you need to know that, too.
I tend to focus on documenting as much as possible: system information (locations, users, hardware, software, licences, inhouse vs outsourced services, vendors), standards, procedures, processes. This way, we should be covered when people leave, book off sick, take vacations, etc.
Do you have a game plan for your first day, week, month in a new position? (A template would be nice.)
Great points and question. Yes, I have a template I use and it is available right here on ITLever.
Take a look at the post where I replied to a somewhat similar question from a young Application Programming Support Manager at https://itlever.com/2011/03/23/advice-for-a-new-it-applications-manager/
This post includes several resources including a post titled, Fast Start for an IT Manager. This post includes a 20-minute presentation on the topic and discusses a couple of tools that can help you.
Hope this helps,