The Greatest Mistake IT Managers Make
…is failing to keep management informed.
If you’re an IT manager, administrator, or anyone who does technical work and reports to non-technical management, you’re responsible to give management insight into the status of the systems you manage. Here’s why:
- Non-technical managers don’t know what good IT looks like, how to measure it, or how to analyze technical risk.
- Therefore, you need to inform management, and keep them informed about:
- The current system risks (and possible ramifications of those risks)
- What it will take to reduce those risks and
- What is required for the system to run optimally
None of these tasks are optional. Here’s why:
It isn’t your job to determine what risks are taken in terms of the company’s technology – that’s management’s job. Your job is to provide them with the information they need to make the best possible decisions. As such, if you don’t inform them about the status of the company’s technology, you implicitly take that responsibility on yourself. Yet, if you don’t have full control of funding, downtime, resources, etc. (which is almost always the case), you’re taking responsibility for things you have limited or no control over. And that’s a terrible place to be.
I’ve seen too many really great IT people take the fall for systems failures because they didn’t keep management informed, ask for the things they needed, and explain the ramifications of not doing their recommended projects. They implicitly took the responsibility for 100% uptime of those systems and inevitably got burned for it.
The bottom line is that is no hiding in IT anymore. There is no “keep-my-head-down-and-work” approach that will win for anyone in the end. If you have any kind of responsibility for your company’s systems, you must have fluent and regular dialog with management. This means you have to educate management and train them on what good IT looks like. You have to inform them about what risks they’re taking when they scratch budget items or turn down project requests. And you have to do all this continually, in a manner that’s documented because management is too busy to remember everything you tell them.
Ultimately, you do a favor to yourself by keeping management informed, you also do a favor to the business, as well. It’s just part of good IT. Without transparency, accountability and good communication, you will take a fall, eventually. Don’t let it happen to you.
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This blog originally appeared on ‘The Business Technology Place‘ – a website and blog run by our very own, Joe Ulm. Joe is a Senior Business Development Manager at Information Technology Professionals. Read this article, and more on his website.