Promote Your Blog IT Management Blog: 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The vanilla IT manger / director hiring process

Lets face it folks,   your looking for an IT manager or director who you can place your trust in to direct IT staff and oversee the maintenance  of the technology.   Well the truth of the matter is this,  you will place ad's , you will use recruiters , you will try linked in all to find the right candidate.  However a few items will hold true.

You will most likely do the following:

1. Hire someone you hardly know but was recommended
2. Believe the recruiters hype
3. Or simply use your gut feeling during the interview process.

If you went with #3 then you might fair ok.    However keep in mind that some (Folks, I don't mean to offend anyone here)  IT directors / managers out there today have a very limited scope of thier IT vision.

What does this mean you ask,  there are folks whom have been pushing the management cart their entire career.  They often rely their staff to heavily when it comes to making important IT decisions that could develop into ROI opportunity or create a money pit.    The fact of the matter is this, when it comes time to hire that manager, ask some hard questions.   In today's IT climate its not all about that MBA and cost cutting along with CapEx reports, Its about,  do you have a person that has filled the role of every IT staffer (aside from deep programming) over the years and understands its core function.

In my consulting years I sat in hundreds of proposal pitches with C level exec's and their IT managers or directors and watched that blank stare coming from the IT Manager or director whom was too preoccupied with their blackberry putting out the next fire and who lacked the technical sense to even comprehend the solution being pitched.   It was amazing to sit across from a person who probably made $250K / yr turn to their Sr IT staffer and say "So you think this will work for us".....................
Either your up with the IT times or your not.   IT is a lifelong commitment to learning and keeping pace with emerging technology.

The bottom line here folks is, if your potential IT director cant produce certifications, understanding of the OSI model , the basic's of routing, or best yet business continuity then look elsewhere.

If you hire this person, then be prepared for a firefighter manager whose priorities are keeping the VP's blackberries and home VPN connections alive,  then they are with making some real IT decisions.

You want that business MBA person who lacks how to even defrag a workstation then be prepared for the consequences of ZERO ROI and ZERO technology growth, just a continuation where the last guy left off.............

Friday, September 30, 2011

Don't Be that guy!!!

So your settling into your new position well.   You have identified for key stakeholder up down and across.
Now what...............

Time to identify whats important to your key stakeholders, what do they want to see changed, improved etc..
Take close note here and develop a plan now to begin working your stadegy to accomplish your outline for presentation.

Next its time to identify staff, learn from your staff, what makes them tick, what do they like about their work, whats their dislikes?   Work to ensure the moral is high and your staff is mentally healthy and ready for a new leader.

Heres where many fail,  you begin your own agenda and soon become overwhelmed with emails , meetings, voicemails and begin to isolate yourself from the department.    You STAFF WILL pick up on this behavior and write you off real quick as just another IT manager who is scatter brained and not people savvy.  You will become that guy who got hired and promised to change the world, when in fact to delivered mis-directed objectives to the staff because that's the "WAY" you did it at your last job.................

If you don't begin to think out of the box and learn people first , computers second your destined to fail within weeks and I'll be blogging about you.

Again, you need to learn from your staff and get acquainted with the systems and the user community.

I'll be showing you all how to work through each objective as we move along in this blog series.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ramping Up Your New IT Mgr Position

Hello everyone,

I will be committing to daily blog posts movign forward that I would like you all to interact with.

This blog is around your new IT manager job and how to become successful fast within 100 days.

You have completed the HR paperwork now what???????

Your very first items to tackle shall be the following in order:

1.  Who are your stakeholders?
List these folks up , down and across the organization
Knowing these folks is key to your success early on

Why you ask,  without knowing who is there to help you and who may already have judged you , your goal is to get friendly with these folks real fast.   Learn what makes them tick.  

2. Youe new message to the team
What are you going to say?
How will you say it?
When will you say it?

Tip: Telling one or two or so of your newly identified stakeholders yuor message before you announce it will not only help you receive feedback but make your stakeholders feel important they knew before everyone else.

Now back to the message,   dont and I mean DONT come it with the message that this and that are changing and this is the way we will do things.  Stay away from the old "At my last position we did it this way"   These folks you are addressing have been here for a long time and your message only annoys them.

YOU NEED TO LEARN FROM THESE PEOPLE, how to organization ticks.   These folks will make or break you from day 1.

Lets look at an example:  

To frame the story I was a consultant on a data center consolidation not too long ago.  The new manager flew in to annouce his message to the team.   He was responsible for 3 data center teams.
I happened to be in the NOC area where the meeting was to be held.

Now enter the new manager,  he intro's himself.   After his intro his next words are " You folks should be ashamed of yourselves the way you run a datacenter,  this is not industry best practices"

BOOM...........  All respect he had from the staff was gone in an instant and folks began thier silent stradegy on how to ensure he failed........

So to summerize,  your message to the team, peers, management should be very well thought out and part of your job is to learn from "YOU" how this organization runs and where we can make improvements while driving new initiatives pushed down from upper management.

You blow this step you are over me

And having no message is just as bad...............

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Working your plan as a new IT manager

So you have accepted a new position and are ready to start.    But before you do, you will need to work on the following points to ensure you are in 100% alignment with the companies’ objectives.
You will need to write out these objectives and follow your plan daily!!

Let’s look at a few of these prior to your formal announcement of taking the reins:

·Identify your stake holders
o    Internal   (VP's, SVP's, Managers, etc...)
o    External  (Large customers, profitable customers)
·Your new Message
o    What is your new message for change?   (Remember, you must go easy here until you have learned from the existing workforce what needs changing)  However from your interviews you should have understood why you were hired and what the business is looking to solve.
·Your Vision
o    Are you looking to implement ITIL for consistency
o    Are you looking to standardize all equipment
o    Are you looking to virtualize servers to save $$
·What is your call to action
o    What’s your plan to inspire and lead your new team
·Announcements of your arrival
o    This is one that needs to be carefully planned out.   Meaning, you should perform one on ones with key employees, should you do small groups or large groups.   Remember, your key employees will feel empowered if they are the first to know who you are and your plans before the formal announcement goes live to the entire business.
o    You should work with your manager to time this announcement as well as write it.   Often time’s managers write these new employee introductions and miss the mark right off the bat either in their tone or choice of words.  This can doom you from the get go.   Be very careful here.

One item I have heard over and over with new managers coming on from already established employees is the following.   "Well Jim came on and never sat with anyone in our group, all he talks about is what and how he did it at his old company" (Don’t fall into that pitfall of using your past over and over)

Don’t ever assume you know what their day to day is until you sit with them and really understand the inner workings.

You get one shot out of the gate to listen to these folks and act on what they say and NEVER listen then take NO ACTION.  Nothing is more demoralizing then having the new manager appear to give lip service to an established employee who often times knows allot more than the manager.

Monday, August 29, 2011

End of Summer is Here

Hi everyone,

Hope you all enjoyed your summer vacations.  I know those of you who had IT projects planned during the downtime scrambled to get those in before the vacation season was over.

I located a great group on linked in that also speaks about what we cover here.  The group can be located here

At any rate there are some of you who are looking for new positions who may be burned out.
However before you take that leap you need to take into account how you are going to transition.

Are you going to look outside your organization for other opportunities or are you going to look within??

Lets look at opportunities outside your organization.    

If your looking please be reminded that there are allot of candidates looking at these same positions you are.

What are you going to do?  How will you differentiate yourself from the crowd.

Here is a few tips I have compiled to get exposure for short money.

 Get your name out there by doing the following

1.  Go to or your favorite provider and sign up for the personal web site package  most are $4.99 / mo (Go online and search for coupon codes to get it cheaper)
Choose a domain name with your name in it.
In 10 min you can begin building your own resume site
go to mine and look
I also registered and pointed them to my site
Then I bought into go daddys search engine optimization and in just a week I am listed on page one of google by searching on mark tango
Make good keywords so search engines find it quickly, there are tons of resources out there for this.
Highlight yourself and your skill-set completely
Highlight your work, praise emails, big projects you were on etc....
Create personal logo,  very easy to do online.
Work the heck out of this site creation,  go wild on updating and remember to add external links as it helps your site to found by the larger search engines quicker.

2. Resume rebuild
Get that resume rebuilt into todays standards is not cheap but they are among the top resume writing providers.

order up business cards with your name and a short tag line
on the back of the card put a QR code on it
thats what I did.  like 10.99 for 250!!!! for basic

4. Really work linked in and social media,  update your profile and start connecting like crazy.  Let everyone know your out there.

5. Start a blog account and blog about your special talent or skill

6. Connect your twitter account/ blog account and linked in all together so you only have to type your thoughts once to publish it everywhere

7. Look for local networking groups and head over and meet folks

8. Dont discount those temp gig's, often lead to perm positions

9. You have to get connected to recruiters
sign up for,  I found them to be the best
also  Here you can follow recruiters who post jobs almost hourly.

10.  Spend a minimum of 1-2 hrs a day working your plan

11. Read the leadership 100 day plan,  this book will help you gain an advantage over others in ramping up your new role.   its great!!!!!!!

I'll be diving more into this 100 day plan as the weeks go by to separate you from the competition.  

In today's job market it will take those that go the extra mile to get noticed.

See you next time

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Execute your Plan Early!!!!!!!

As we left off yesterday we were discussing how 40% of new IT mangers will fail in the first 18 months on the job due to failure to execute their 90-100 day plans.

Today's topic to discuss will be "THE PLAN"  or start thereof

What is the plan you may ask, the plan is a set of actions and directions you must take day one when you are accepted into that new management role.   Perhaps you were promoted from within or you are a new hire the bottom line is you need to build your inroads as early as possible.

However before we get ahead of ourselves and you even take that new role you need to mitigate some items to ensure your success on the job.

Lets define a few questions before we make that leap;

  • Ask what happened to the predecessor in this role?
    • Were they successful
    • If not, Why?
  • Who will be your direct reports!!!! -   This one often catches everyone by surprise and often your new role has maybe one desktop support tech as a direct report.  Outline this early
  • Layout the role and its responsibilities, we do not want to support something that is not part of our responsibility matrix.
  • Ensure your core skill set is indeed a match for the new role,  new leaders can find out too late that what they thought the job was, in fact was something all-together different.
  • Make sure you LEARN who your stakeholders are....... there are the very people whom will help you succeed or watch you go down in a fireball.   Learn every stakeholder and understand whats important to them in the delivery of your new role.   The CIO may only care about cloud computing,  the desktop support manager only cares about your team impacting his SLA's etc...
  • Learn,   can I say it again LEARN.  You need to learn everything you can about your new role and the people that make it tick.  Dont be passive here folks or this one will kill you for sure.
  • Finally,  deliver what you promise!!!
  • And Lastly you must to dynamic to respond to changing situations rapidly.
Before we discuss the remainder of the plan lets give a real world example to illustrate this.
Of course names changed to protect the so called guilty..........

Lets take Ricky,  Ricky came to us from a large biotech firm after 5yrs.  Ricky was used to pushing service tickets around the team and keeping the board below 50 tickets per day.   When Ricky left that firm he came to us glowing resume in hand.   His 3 interviews we well, he was a good talker and seller.  Ricky was offered the job with us and started in 2 weeks.     
Our team couldn't wait for our new IT service desk manager to start.  We prepared the weeks outline of orientation and prepared his new computer and finally he arrived.

It was only a week into the role when we realized that the way Ricky was used to working followed him in every sense of the word.  He was quickly nicknamed "The Ticket Wrangler"  by his direct reports whom all had lost respect for him within one weeks time.  (failure to communicate your message)
What we realized was that Ricky wasn't a doer at all, his standard response was "My teams not responsible for that"  (failure to deliver)
Ricky didn't feel he needed to learn the ticketing system, he felt his direct reports could handle the system and he could continue to work like before by counting tickets in excel and over reporting successes and numbers.  (failure to learn everything you can about your new role)

He failed to to learn and ask every bullet point mentioned above.  
One of the most outrageous so called mangers I have ever met. 

Needless to say Ricky lasted 3 months and was fired..................................

Either you have a plan to succeed for you don't.

More to come on this topic of plans..............................................

Monday, July 25, 2011

New IT Managers ....Read on......Don't fail in 18 months

Many IT managers who begin a new IT position whether it be from an inside promotion or a new hire are often faced with the daunting challenge of starting to gain control of their team and its process without a plan.

40% new IT managers will fail within 18 months of starting off as an IT manager.    However this can be mitigated through planning for your first 100 days on the job.    You must be diligent here in creating your plan before you start your position or you will always be one step behind the curve.

I have seen new IT managers come and go in as little as 3 months because they had no plan!!!!

Over the series of blogs I will offer my view points, my stories and above all Real World Experience as seen from the drivers seat.

I will be posting topics for discussion that I would like everyone to comment on and discuss openly.
I would like to hear from others whom either agree or disagree with these ideas and principals.

I look forward to chatting with you all on real world IT management issues.  You dont have to be an IT manager to participate, simply have something to say on or about the topic of IT management.

See you Soon

Mark Tango