Tag Archives: is manager

2016 IT Manager Institute training schedule

Hello and Happy New Year. 2016 will be my 14th year delivering the IT Manager Institute to managers all over the world via classroom and self study. We also have open slots to deliver the program in the US and Canada when you confirm 6 or more students. Classroom events can be delivered in 3, 4 or 5 days as desired. Contact me at info@mde.net if you are interested in hosting a class for your company or community in the US or Canada.

This year, we will deliver our open classroom programs in 3-day events. The days will certainly be full in order to cover all the material, but this gives you an opportunity to save in registration fees, time and travel expenses.

Plus, we will deliver two Advanced Institute classes following two of our standard IT Manager Institute programs in Dubai (May 25-26) and the US (September 16-17). These programs are for Institute Graduates ONLY.

CLICK HERE for more information or to download a brochure.


Two more IT Manager Institutes held

We held two more IT Manager Institutes in September and October with 35 IT managers from 12 countries attending.

#52 – Columbia, TN – September 2012

#53 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates – October 2012

We have delivered 53 IT Manager Institute programs since 2003. The IT Business Manager Certification (ITBMC) was added in 2005 with a joint development venture with Belmont University. The Institute is considered by many as one of the best and most practical IT manager development programs in the industry.

Every IT manager needs these tools, , , a closer look at the Practical IT Manager GOLD Series

Managing an IT organization is a tough and challenging job, but it can be much easier and more rewarding when you have the knowledge and insight in how to do the job effectively.

Learning to manage by trial and effort is not only ineffective, it is risky and expensive for your company and can even damage your career.

The challenge is there is usually no one around who can help develop an IT manager in a company, , , technology is not the core competency of most companies so the IT manager has to learn the best way he can.

This is high risk and most of the time does not work very well.

What you need is a set of practical processes and simple tools to help you do what is required to succeed in an IT manager role.

Managing an IT  organization is like anything else, , , once you know what to do and how to go about it and have the tools to do the job, it becomes second nature, , , just like riding a bicycle, configuring a router, or developing a web page.

But if you do not have the experience and know-how, , , managing IT can be a very intimidating challenge with severe consequences.

For example, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why is it so hard to become a partner with my senior managers and what do I need to do to become a partner?
  • How do I deal with a difficult client?
  • Why is budgeting so difficult and take me so long to do?
  • How do I develop an IT strategy and get it approved?
  • What are the steps to turn a problem employee around?
  • How do I motivate my staff when I don’t have money to spend?
  • How should I go about prioritizing the work we need to do when we do not have sufficient staff to do the work?
  • Why are my recommendations so hard to get funded and approved?
  • How do you manage client expectations when all they want is everything they request and have it all completed today?
  • Why do my clients not understand or appreciate our IT organization?
  • Why are our IT projects not being completed successfully?
  • Why is communicating to my clients so difficult for me?

Sound familiar? It should, , , these issues occur every day in IT organizations all over the world. In fact, let’s take the last question, “Why is communicating to my clients so difficult for me?”

Are you aware that this is a major issue for over 70% of all IT employees? There are specific reasons why the vast majority of IT people are not good communicators. You may not be aware of what it is but I can guarantee most reading this article find communicating with clients and senior managers to be difficult, intimidating, or at least challenging.

The cause is real simple and I’ll show you how to overcome it so you can achieve more success, , , this single issue is the cause of many, many IT manager failures. Learn what it is and how to overcome it and you will achieve much more success.

This issue and the others listed above plus others is why I wrote my first ten books we called the IT Manager Development Series, , , to help IT managers of the world achieve more success.

These books and the accompanying IT Manager ToolKit we bundled in as a bonus have been tremendously successful with thousands of copies sold around the world over the past ten years.

I just completed rewriting these 10 books, , , from top to bottom and from front cover to back cover. They are completely rewritten with new content, new and revised tools, easier to read and even new covers.

The new product is, Mike Sisco’s Practical IT Manager GOLD Series. Here they are:

Ten new books that took hundreds of hours to complete, , , all to give IT managers of the world resources to help you achieve more success.

Buyers of the full set also receive a BONUS, , , the IT Manager ToolKit containing over 100 IT manager tools and templates, , , all revised and updated. The tools can be used “as is” or customized to meet your specific needs.

The information and insight in these books teaches you how to manage the “business” of IT versus the technology, , , you need to be viewed as a “business manager”, not a “technical manager” to achieve real success..

The books show you what to do and  how to do things to achieve IT success, and they also explain why certain issues are so difficult for IT managers and IT employees and how to overcome these obstacles.

It’s not good enough to explain how to do something, we also need to know why things work or do not work and what causes them to work or not work. When you understand the dynamics of what causes certain things to occur, or not to occur, it makes it much easier to do what is necessary to achieve success.

The books are straightforward and down to earth, , , just what you would expect from me if you have read any of my ITLever Blog posts or articles.

Practical, simple, and to the point, , , no need to discuss something in 20 pages when you can do it in 1 or 2 pages. IT managers are very busy, , , they need you to get to the point so that’s what I try to do in the books.

Simply put, each book conveys:

  • What to do to achieve success
  • Instruction on how to go about it
  • Tools and examples to help you implement each concept quickly

Here is the order I recommend reading the books if you purchase them:

  1. Start with IT Management-101. You can download this one for free when subscribing to my free Practical IT Manager Newsletter. Go to www.mde.net/free to subscribe. This book is a great foundation and why we make it available for free.
  2. Next, read IT Due Diligence. This book gives you a process and all the tools you need to conduct an effective IT assessment, , , the very first thing you should do in a new IT manager responsibility. You have to determine the business needs and issues plus your IT capacity to develop an appropriate IT strategy of the work you should focus on.
  3. Next, , , IT Strategy. You have to organize your IT assessment findings into logical and appropriate projects of work, , , and they must be prioritized. This book helps you do just that and gives you a few tools that will help you prioritize your work, communicate your recommendations, and gain approval from senior management.
  4. The key to IT credibility is delivering projects successfully, or “doing what you say you will do”. IT Project Management provides everything you need to start delivering your projects successfully, , , even insight as to why they aren’t completed successfully in so many IT organizations around the world.
  5. IT Organization would be my next read. Learn how to right-size your organization by determining what you need and what you have. You need an IT organization strategy, , , this book helps you define what it should be.
  6. If you manage an organization, you better learn how to motivate people, , , IT Staff Motivation and Development is next. I’ll give you proven techniques that will help you motivate your staff like never before and with no money.
  7. IT Budgeting is next on the list unless you are in the midst of your company’s budgeting process or about to go into it, , , if so, you may want to move this up the list of reading. I’ll show you how to simplify budgeting and be confident you create an achievable budget, , , and do it faster and easier than ever before. Budgeting is not difficult if you have insight and tools to make it happen.
  8. IT Asset Management, , , not one of my favorite topics to write about but a necessary focus to manage your IT organization successfully. One of the tools I give you in this one can help create your IT credibility, , , it may be my very best tool in what it has done for my career.
  9. IT Assimilation focuses on the transition activities after completing an IT assessment or company acquisition. You can read this one near the end or right after IT Due Diligence.
  10. The last book is the very first book I wrote, What To Look For in a CIO. Written for executives who are interested in the success of their IT organization, it explains the differences in IT manager types and provides a process to help you define what you need in order to attain more value from your IT investment.
  11. Finally, review the INDEX file in the IT Manager ToolKit to see what’s in it, , , ,there are dozens of additional IT management tools not discussed in these ten books.

Save $195.00 by buying the bundle! You will pay $474.50 if you purchase the books and ToolKit separately. Purchase our best selling bundle like thousands of IT managers have and save! It is one of our BEST VALUES.


BONUS  –  Order by November 30th, 2011 and we will send you a special Executive Report (a $150.00 value) that will give you insight into what makes IT employees tick, , , something every IT manager needs to be aware of. 

The IT-Business Disconnect:
IT Manager Work Behavior – a Key Contributor

Take the quick survey in this report and see if your work behavior is similar to most IT managers and their employees. There are very real reasons why our type of personality is drawn to technology. As technicians these personality traits help us succeed, , , but as IT managers these same traits can cause you to struggle with many things and even fail in your new position. Learn why.

All of my writing is practical and to the point. We don’t have time for lots of theory, , , we just want to know what to do and how to go about it to succeed. This is exactly how I try to present the material in each book:

  • What to do to achieve IT success
  • How to go about it
  • Examples and tools to help you make it happen

The books will be highlighted and sold at itmanagerinstitute.com. We are overhauling our entire infrastructure so don’t be surprised if you see a bit of “work in progress” for a while. That’s right a complete overhaul of our entire infrastructure , , , equipment, web sites, shopping cart and order fulfillment, plus a few very exciting features to support our company strategy that you will begin seeing in the weeks ahead.

Additional titles, new tools, and more training are planned and will be released in the months to come once we have the new infrastructure in place.

2012 is going to be our best year yet!

What’s different about the ITBMC certification?

Certifications have become pretty much the norm in the IT world. Let’s see, there are dozens of technical certifications, project management certifications, and even a few management certifications. In fact, you can get a certification on almost anything in the IT world, , , it seems that IT people really like certifications.

I may be an exception, , , ,they don’t mean that much to me and never have. The same thing goes for titles, , , call me whatever you choose, just pay me well, let me do my job, and recognize me for the results I get.

But, , , titles and certifications are important for a lot of your people so you don’t want to underestimate the importance in someone else’s mind. In addition, some certifications are now required just to get in the door for an interview with some companies.

In reality, a certification doesn’t mean you can actually do the job well, , , it just means you have received the knowledge and been certified by passing an exam in many cases.

You probably know my company offers the IT Business Manager Certification, ITBMC. I never would have if not for the encouragement of the managers who attended our first few IT Manager Institute programs.

I’ll deliver the 44th and 45th IT Manager Institute program this month and I can tell you that the ITBMC certification has probably been one of the reasons for the longevity and success of the program, , , this is our 9th year in delivering the program with hundreds around the world to receive their ITBMC status.

I can hardly wait to deliver each new class, , , they are a lot of fun and seeing the enthusiasm for the program is very rewarding.

At the end of the day
Certifications do not guarantee you will be successful. What they indicate is that you have received knowledge about a particular subject and passed an exam that suggests you have a good comprehension of the material.

Execution is something else, , , you still have to do the work that is required in order to achieve success.

That’s why I structured the IT Manager Institute program to not only deliver the material of what to do and how to go about it in class, , , I also give you the tools to make it happen plus some takeaways to help you implement the IT Management Process we teach to achieve more success. Things like:

  • 30 Day Action Plan, , , specific steps to take when you get home
  • My entire library of e-Books that reinforce the class presentations
  • IT Manager ToolKit containing 102 tools and templates to use immediately or modify as needed
  • Ongoing support and access to me for assistance

The IT Manager Institute program is unique in many ways because of how we structure the class and also the additional tools and resources you take back to your company. Because the class follows a structured process and is delivered in a “how to” format, your retention is better, , , plus you have many resources to help you remember things from the class.

The bottom line
I think the key to any certification is how well people respond to the program. In our case, we have a 100% positive satisfaction from those who have attended. The reason is simple, , , the practical processes and tools are easily understood and put into practice, , ,  and they work.

It’s one thing to understand a concept. To succeed, you have to actually do the work and that’s why the IT Manager Institute program is structured so you can follow specific steps and use tools designed for specific uses that lead to more success in an IT manager role.

An ITBMC beside your name says something other than signifying a technical skill. ITBMC says you have learned the importance for your IT organization to deliver tangible and quantifiable business value in support of your company. It also indicates an understanding that IT initiatives are driven by business needs and issues and that every initiative you recommend will be cost justified and targeted to some specific business value.

Why is this important? It tells senior managers of your company you have a business perspective when managing your IT organization, , , not so focused on technology and missing the tremendous business leverage opportunities your IT organization offers your company.

Business managers become business partners, , , and without having these “partners” in your company, your success will be limited.

As I prepare for next week’s class, I get a high sense of enthusiasm in thinking about meeting a whole new group of IT managers and giving them the tools and resources that potentially changes their life and boosts their career.

They will leave with the knowledge and tools to make it happen, , , but they still have to do the work just as with anything in life.

Check out Institute class photos at https://itlever.com/institute-photos/

More photos at http://www.mde.net/institute/page4.html

Develop a quick PowerPoint presentation

Let’s say you are the senior IT manager for a small company and your CEO has asked you to present an IT update for the Board of Director’s Meeting next week.

Where to start?

If you are like me when I first encountered such an opportunity, there may be some initial shock. After the panic leaves you, it’s time to prepare, , , where do we start?

Let’s outline what I do and then I’ll explain each part:

  1. Gather information about the presentation objectives
  2. Collect the data
  3. Make a list or two
  4. Develop a draft of title slides
  5. Fill in the slide bullet points
  6. Create your PowerPoint presentation
  7. Prepare for the presentation

Developing a presentation can be fairly quick, , , or you can agonize over it for days. Use this simple approach and it might make it easier for you. Let’s take a look at each step:

1.  Gather information about the presentation objectives
First of all, you need some information from your CEO, , ,  things like:

  • Anything specific you need me to cover?
  • What’s the background of the Board Members?
  • What’s the objective or goal of the presentation?
  • How much time do I have?

You may also want to get some other quick facts, such as:

  • Board Member names and where they are from
  • Sample of past presentations that worked well
  • PowerPoint format or template to use

Once you know what the objectives are and what your CEO wants you to cover, you should be able to identify the appropriate content to develop a presentation. That’s actually the easy part.

You also now know how much time you have, , , let’s say it is 30 minutes.

You need to get a feel for the type of people on the Board. Is this a group that usually lets the presenter walk through a presentation and asks questions at the end, , , or does it have Members of the Board who ask questions every step of the way.

The latter will eat up your time quicker than a bee can dart past your nose, so you need to know that this group can only absorb a little information.

In fact, that’s an important piece of information for presenting to any Board of Directors. In general, members of the Board of Directors are high level and mostly concept people, , , not highly detail oriented people who want to get into the muck. But, there are some who like to get into the detail so learn from your CEO what type of audience to expect.

For an audience who waits to ask questions at the end, , , count on 1 -2 minutes per slide, , , that means you can deliver 10 to 12 slides at most and still have time at the end for questions and discussion.

For the interactive group who asks lots of questions, consider 3-5 minutes per slide, , , that means you can only get through 5-8 slides comfortably.

2. Collect the data
What to cover is very important to know from your CEO. He may want you to deliver a general overall view of what’s taking place in IT for the company, or he may want you to spend the majority of your time to provide an update about a specific IT initiative the Board is interested in.

Once you know what the presentation objectives are and the subject, collect the data you need to develop a presentation. It might include recent management reports, cost justification analysis, project status updates, etc., , , whatever data you have that supports your topic and allows you to develop a few PowerPoint slides to discuss the subject.

It is also reasonable that every bit of the material could come out of your head, , , read on.

3.  Make a list or two
At this point, step back and put yourself into the mindset of your audience. In this case, the Board of Directors represent the owners of the company, , , so what would a company owner want to hear about this subject you are about to present?

Make a quick list of what you think they would want to know about. Ask your CEO or the meeting sponsor the question and gain their insight, , , always helpful.

When completed, think about key points you think are important to share. Make another list.

Now, you have a list of what the audience wants to hear and important points you believe need to be presented about your subject, , , plus you have supporting material by which to start developing slides.

4.  Develop a draft of title slides
Each of your slides needs a title, , , this is sort of like an outline of a book if you were writing a book. What I do when I plan to write a book is start by developing the Table of Contents, , , this is my book outline. A PowerPoint presentation works the same way, , , each slide is a key point you want to make as you walk through your subject, so create a title for each slide.

A quick and easy way to do this is to take a blank sheet of paper and draw a set of rectangle squares , , , I usually put 6 to 8 boxes on a sheet of paper. Each box represents a slide in your presentation.

Now, put the title of each of your slides in the top part of the boxes. I work left to right and to the bottom in the sequence I want my presentation.

Going into this process, you may not know how many slides your presentation will be or in exactly what order. Creating a paper draft makes it easy and creates thought as you work through the process.

When finished with identifying your title slides, check the number of slides and be sure you have ample time to present the content you are going to end up with based upon the guidelines I discussed earlier.

Once you get the slide titles defined, the rest is fairly easy, , , creating bullet points for each slide based upon its title.

When you start developing the detail of the slides, you may identify new slides you need to add or possibly slides that can be better discussed by combining them. The point is that the finished presentation will be slightly different from what you think it will be as you start working on it in the beginning.

5.  Fill in the slide bullet points
Next, put in the bullet points for each slide on the paper to complete the draft of your presentation.

A couple of key things to remember. First, you need to resist your urge to provide too much detail. In a slide presentation, too much detail makes it difficult for people to follow. Use short and crisp bullet points that you can talk about.

Next, keep the number of bullet points on a slide to a reasonable list, , , no more than 4 to 6 points on a slide. Anything over that is too much detail.

Finally, a single point and graphic on a slide can be a powerful message so focus on highlights, , , not detail, unless of course your CEO says he wants you to discuss the detail.

6.  Create your PowerPoint presentation
When you are comfortable with the presentation “draft”, create the PowerPoint slides using the presentation template needed to make it consistent with your CEO’s presentations look and feel.

As you build each slide from your paper draft, think about graphics that add value to the presentation or make your points easy to follow. Don’t be too cutesy, , , but good graphics can add a lot. As you build the slides, you will also make adjustments to your bullet points because you will think of things that need to be in the presentation.

Another point about graphics, , , senior executives love charts and graphs that make your message visible. A good chart showing positive progress can add tremendous value to your presentation.

By drafting the presentation on paper first and then building the PowerPoint slides from the draft, it allows you to walk through the presentation a couple of times, , , and this is always helpful for your thought process and will ultimately make the presentation better.

Let me repeat something here. Fight your tendency to provide too much detail, , , we want the major points, , , just the major points.

Fewer bullet points is better than lots of bullet points. Remember, these guys are high level, , , they want the answer, not all the detail. If they need detail, they will ask you questions and you can fill in the blanks.

IT people think everyone needs all the information possible. Just the opposite is the case, so keep your presentation at a high level, , , and use graphics to enhance the message.

Here are the first two slides of my presentation:

7.  Prepare for the presentation
Before the presentation, do a few things:

  1. Prepare a good opening to get things started smoothly, , , it will help calm your nerves.
  2. Rehearse what you plan to say and become intimately familiar with every slide you present.
  3. Anticipate questions you may be asked and come up with appropriate answers.
  4. Develop a list of key message points you want to make for each slide. This can help you stay on message and insure you emphasize each key point.

Prepare and you will come across knowledgeable and on top of your game. Go in there unprepared and they may rip you apart, , , so be prepared.

Preparing for an IT Manager role

I receive quite a few inquiries about how to prepare for an IT manager role.  Often, these inquiries come from a parent who wants to help a son or daughter position themselves for a successful career.

Here is a message I received just this week from a supportive parent:  “My son is studying computers and he is in his early year of computer engineering and later on he will decide which branch of IT to specialize in. I want your help to give him tips and a head start to become an IT manager one day.”

In many cases, the parent has little or no knowledge of technology or how to prepare for IT management. What they do have is concern for their child’s future and a strong  interest in helping them prepare for the future. Often I will hear, “When he (or she) gets the opportunity to manage, I want him to be prepared so he will be successful.”

It’s something anyone who wants to be an IT manager one day should think about and devise a plan to prepare for.

My response:


Here is the path I would suggest:

1.  Read the free book you receive when signing up for my Practical IT Manager Newsletter – IT Management-101: fundamentals to achieve more. This book is a good foundational starting point. Sign up at www.mde.net/free

2.  Have him subscribe to my ITLever Blog at www.itlever.com so he receives free weekly tips and tools directed to helping IT managers achieve more success. There are hundreds of free articles, tools to download and other items to help an IT manager and I add new content every week.

A recent ITLever post will be of particular help titled, Solve the IT Management Maze with an IT Management Process. CLICK HERE to see it.

3.  Watch the 20 Minute IT Manager session titled Fast Start for a New IT Manager  at  http://www.20minuteitmanager.com/sessions/060602FASTSTART

There are 162 sessions in the 20 Minute IT Manager series, , , purchase all for $249.00 or $9.99 each. Details at www.20minuteitmanager.com
CLICK HERE for a special 50% discount offer for ITLever Blog readers – only $249.00. Included in this bundle are 12 sessions of a series titled, “12 Secrets to IT Success” that outlines the IT management process I use in managing technology resources.

4.  He will need to establish a positive record of delivering projects successfully in his technical role. My IT Project Management: a practical approach book is a simplified methodology that can help. There are 14 books in my library, , , available for $29.95 each or $279.00 for the first ten, , , $399.00 for the entire library that includes my IT Manager ToolKit.  Details are at www.mde.net/cio

5.  If and when he truly decides to position himself for a manager role, he should attend the IT Manager Institute. It is available in classroom and online self study and includes Bonus items of all my books and tools.

This class will do more for his preparation in becoming an effective IT manager than anything he will find. Both the classroom version and the self study are exactly the same material and lead to an IT Business Manager Certification (ITBMC) that was co-developed by Belmont University and my company to focus on the importance of IT organizations to provide tangible business value for their company.
    Self Study  –  www.mde.net/selfstudy
    Class schedule   –  www.mde.net/institute 

6.  Find an IT manager mentor, , , someone who is interested in helping your son learn about aspects of managing technology resources and a resource to go to for questions and discussions of interest. It is helpful to work with someone local who is willing to be a mentor at no cost, , , as long as the “mentor” knows what he is doing and has a successful track record. Poor or weak resources can actually damage your son’s career.

I have plans to provide a monthly IT manager membership program to provide mentoring services and IT manager development training because of the need we have seen. Watch my ITLever Blog or Practical IT Manager Tips Newsletter for a future announcement. Contact me at info@mde.net if you are potentially interested in a monthly IT manager mentoring program. I must warn you beforehand, , , it will not be cheap due to the effort required to set it up and it will be limited to a designated number of members.

7.  Your son can gain a sense of management by managing a project. In doing this he will be exposed to people management, managing client expectations, and budgeting. If he learns to manage projects well, it is good development for future IT management roles.

I hope this is of help and wish your son the best of success in his young career.


The important thing to do when preparing for an IT manager role is to start learning from someone who knows how to manage technology resources, , , and to learn about what a successful IT manager really does, , , it is not all about technology actually. Focus only on technology and not the business and you will have major difficulty in becoming a successful IT manager.

One last piece of advice is to observe others and incorporate the best of what you see into how you go about doing things. I’ve done this throughout my career and know it has made a big difference in my management career. It’s another reason why having a good mentor is so important.

Solve the IT management maze with an IT Management Process

Does this look like what you found when you first became an IT manager?

If so, it’s not really surprising, , , it’s what I discovered and millions of managers around the world discover when they first get their BIG OPPORTUNITY.

Managing an IT organization can seem like one big complicated maze.

Well, it really is unless you have a process to follow and tools to help you achieve the things that are necessary for IT management success.

In my case, I had to learn the hard way about many things, , , but I was also fortunate to have some very strong managers around me to learn from. Not all of them were IT managers, , , some had very little knowledge of technology or in understanding IT employees, , , but they possessed excellent management skills and were good resources to learn from.

Don’t limit yourself to learning from only IT managers, , , it limits your possibilities. It’s going to be helpful to your career to learn things from company executives, sales and marketing, , , Human Resources, , , your client department managers, , , even vendor managers.

What you also need is a proven management process, , , a path to follow that will help you find your way through the maze. There are obstacles at every turn in an IT manager role, , , some can even be deadly impediments to your career.

Here is the management process I use in managing an IT organization.

There are 8 key components:

1.  Assess – Conduct an IT assessment to determine what the business needs and issues are plus what your IT organization’s capabilities and capacity is. Once you understand the “demand and supply”, you can develop a plan of attack.

2.  Plan – Develop an immediate 30-90 day tactical strategy and once you get your people focused on it you can start working on developing your long term strategy.

3.  Projects and Processes –  Delivering projects successfully is the key to credibility and there are key support processes you must put into place in order to support your clients effectively.

4.  Organization – You must build an appropriate IT organization and when you have people, you need to motivate them and develop their skills to create a world class support organization.

5.  Focus –  Evert aspect of your organization needs clear focus, from the individual employee to the entire organization.

6.  Financials and Assets –  Managing the financial side of your business and keeping track of technology assets becomes a key part of managing a successful IT operation.

7.  Measure –  To improve, it is important to know where you are and whether you are making positive strides, , , practical measurements will spell it out for you.

8.  Communicate –  What ties it all together and makes such a powerful difference is being able to communicate well.

CLICK HERE to purchase the 20 Minute IT Manager video for only $9.99 to learn more.

Or, purchase the entire library of 162 sessions of the 20 Minute IT Manager
CLICK HERE for a special 50% discount offer for ITLever Blog readers – only $249.00.

Attend an IT Manager Institute class or access the Self Study program to learn step by step how to become a successful IT manager.

IT Manager Institute classes — www.mde.net/institute

IT Manager Institute Self Study  — www.mde.net/selfstudy

Manage your manager

One of the things you must learn in order to become a great manager is how to “manage your manager”.

I can tell you I was not very good at this early in my career, , , primarily because I didn’t understand it, both from the point of needing to do it and also in understanding how to go about it.

Managing your manager’s expectations is just as important as managing client expectations. As with a client, you want to try and position your manager so you and your team always over deliver what the manager expects from you. No one gets upset when you over deliver, , , it’s certainly not the case when you deliver less than what is expected.

Managing your manager means you do things that shows you are:

  1. Organized
  2. Have a vision of what you are trying to accomplish
  3. Predictable and reliable
  4. Have a successful track record of delivering what you say
  5. On time
  6. Understand the financial consequences of your actions
  7. Support and develop your employees
  8. Meet your budget forecasts
  9. Support your clients effectively
  10. Role model for others to follow

When your manager brings you a more urgent project, you know how to balance this new initiative with the other projects already committed to. Something has to give so you manage your manager’s expectations so he expects one of the older projects will be delayed or maybe even canceled in order to focus on the new initiative.

Managing your manager also means you are proactive in developing a strategy for your organization and getting it approved. It means working on things proactively that are understood and agreed upon by your senior management team, , , no way to be out of sync when you do.

Managing your manager means you provide your manager material that helps him understand your organization’s accomplishments and essentially “wind him up” with information he can share with other senior managers of the company.

The bottom line is that managing your manager means you constantly position yourself and your team to be able to deliver what you say you will do and when you say it will be completed. When you establish a predictable track record, you will find a huge amount of trust develops between you and your manager, , , and with trust becomes “partnership” status.

Learn to manage your manager well and it will help your career.

“You really know how to work with an Administrative Assistant”

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that a senior Administrative Assistant I worked with in a consulting engagement told me, “You really know how to work with an Administrative Assistant.”

My answer was something to the effect of, “I’ve worked with and have been trained by some very capable Administrative Assistants.”

I didn’t tell you in yesterday’s ITLever post why I think some believe I know how to work well with Administrative Assistant professionals, , , so here are some thoughts that may explain.

First, I respect what they do and understand how important their role is for an IT organization. An Administrative Assistant can literally make or break your organization.

Respect is a two-way experience. You won’t get respect unless you respect the other person and genuinely appreciate what they do for your team.

Second, what a good Administrative Assistant does will boost your productivity and with that in mind, you want to do everything you can that helps your assistant do their work well.

What this means is that managers need to follow a few guidelines:

  • Give clear definition of what you expect when making an assignment.
  • Provide simple and straightforward instructions.
  • Give your assistant examples if it helps her, or him, understand what you are looking for.
  • Don’t assume your assistant knows what you want, , , explain it.
  • Provide feedback and coach your assistant on what should have been handled differently or what can make the end product of the work better, , , coach.
  • Be supportive and give your assistant the tools to do the job.
  • Provide training and education to boost your assistant’s skills.
  • Ask your assistant for recommendations to improve your IT processes.
  • Ask your assistant what you can do to help her do a better job.
  • Give your assistant ownership of certain areas of work such as developing monthly reports, maintaining asset inventories, etc.

I guess my real message is that it helps when you “work with” someone and treat them like a partner rather than looking at your assistant as someone who “works for” you. Obviously, the reporting relationship is that she or he does work for you, but when you treat them like a “partner”, it affects how you work with the person, how you communicate with them, and even how much effort you place into providing instructions about a new project.

Take the time and make the extra effort like you would with a partner and you will probably see much better results from your assistant’s efforts.

IT clients, , , 17 types you must work with

As an IT manager, you deal with all types. Your clients can be very different in many ways, , , being able to work with them can be challenging, even frustrating at times.

Let’s take a “fun” look at the type of clients you must deal with. This list is probably not a complete list, , , so if you have others you want to add, , , make a comment to this post and let us know. You can use this list to describe almost any group, , , employees, people, friends, etc.

“Client” as I define an IT client are two groups, , , possibly three.
Group 1 – Senior managers, , , CEO, CFO, COO, President, etc.
Group 2 – Department managers of your company and their organizations.
Group 3 – External clients your IT organization supports. 90% of all IT organizations do not have these. They are very similar to Group 2 clients.

OK, let’s get to the list of client types and see if you relate to any of them.

1.  Happy –  Our favorite, , , this client is happy with IT services and likes what we do.

2.  Unhappy –  An opportunity when we learn what makes this client unhappy and address his issues.

3.  Ray of sunshine –  Always happy and positive, , , this client likes everyone and everything.

4.  Tuned out –  This client isn’t listening to anything you have to say, , , they have you and others “tuned out”.

5.  Cool –  Some clients simply ooze with cool. This client will be one of the top dressers and appears to have his act together.

6.  Hidden agenda –  You may have a client who acts happy but in reality has another agenda, , , CAUTION.

7.  Worried –  Some clients worry about everything. They are skeptical of change and easily scared by the slightest problem.

8.  Second guesser –  This client second guesses everything you do and often challenges how you do things.

9.  No clue –  Some people you work with have no clue as to what is going on, , , they are in the dark on most things.

10.  Green with envy –  These guys don’t like IT or anyone outside their own organization getting credit for anything.

11.  Fighter –  Some clients seem to always be looking for a fight and are easy to get into disagreements with.

12.  Angry –  An angry client can seem unreasonable and likes to call you bad names. Don’t take it personal, , , fix it.

13.  Crazy –  Some people, clients included, have crazy ideas about what IT should be doing. BE CAREFUL with these.

14.  Bent out of shape –  Between angry and unhappy, , , pay attention to these before they get worse.

15.  Confused –  Confused clients have difficulty becoming happy. Clear up their confusion by speaking their language.

16.  Professor –  Some clients think they know technology better than you. Try to embrace them, don’t alienate them.

17.  Sleeper –  Some clients are asleep at the wheel, , , they tend to be lazy and lack focus in their organizations.

Recognize any of these in your company?

Each type has unique characteristics and creates different challenges in working with them, , , another reason why your IT management role can be such a challenge.

Got additional types worth mentioning? Add a comment below and share your thoughts.