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It Management 101

by Mike Sisco

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Book Description
IT Management-101 provides practical insight on what you need to do to function successfully in any IT Manager role. The book starts with a discussion on conducting an effective technology assessment and leads into eleven management traits necessary to be a successful IT manager.

From the Publisher
Mike Sisco is a former CIO of more than twenty years. His company, MDE Enterprises, is dedicated to the development of IT managers so they achieve greater success. MDE Enterprises provides IT management content, tools, and IT management training and consulting services.

Mr. Sisco writes articles for technology communities and shares his experiences and insight in an easy going, conversational style that gets to the point quickly. He has significant experience in the acuisition and assimilation activities surrounding company acquisitions and has written other works on key topics of IT management.

His book IT Management-101 is one of few works that you will find that is written from a very simplistic and practical point of view. Easy reading and easy to follow; this book is a must have for all IT managers.

From the Author
I spent more than twenty years managing technology organizations and have always enjoyed the aspect of helping young managers develop their management skills. It was this gratification that made me decide to write ten books in my IT Manager Development Series. IT Management-101 is the first book of the series and sets the foundation for what it takes to be a successful manager of technology resources.

I hope you enjoy the read and have fun along the way in your IT management career.

Written in a conversational style with plenty of real life examples, it will be one of the more enjoyable management books you will read.

About the Author
Mike Sisco began his IT management career during the early 1970's in the US Marine Corps where he learned the value of persuading employees versus ordering them.

Mike graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a BS degree in Business Administration. He also played on the golf team at UTM and in the Marine Corps.

At IBM, Mike gained considerable insight into small business by installing and selling IBM systems and applications in six industries.

Mike's management career has included the management of large distributed IT organizations up to 300 people, turnaround situations, a startup, and high growth companies. He has considerable experience in IT due diligence having performed the technology assessment of more than 35 companies to support acquisitions.

Mike's strengths as a CIO are in conducting a thorough IT assessment that defines the goals and objectives of the company, quantifies the technology issues, prioritizes the initiatives that best support the business, and focuses the IT resources in a manner that is in sync with company needs. His management style is one that empowers employees to achieve more and that helps them to take charge of their destiny.

Excerpted from IT Management-101: Fundamentals to Achieve More by Mike Sisco. Copyright © 2002. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
I. Understand Your Company’s Needs At any level of management position, it’s paramount that you understand your company’s goals and objectives. This shouldn’t come as a surprise but you might be surprised at the number of managers that don’t really take the time to do their homework and to understand the overall goal. To understand what the company is trying to achieve is possibly more important for a manager of technology resources than for other managers of the company. The reason I suggest this is because your success or failure as an IT manager affects many others outside your department. Take the time to understand your company’s goals and objectives. Learn about their plans to accomplish them. Determine how these issues affect your role as a manager of technology. Depending upon your management level, you will be responsible for carrying out aspects of the plan or maybe even developing strategies that support the company’s objectives. How do you go about learning what you need to know ? At a CIO level, you meet with senior managers of the company (CEO, CFO, COO, maybe even the Board of Directors) to develop an understanding. At a first line manager level, you spend time with senior managers of the technology organization to learn about company plans and objectives and hopefully the senior management of the company. Depending upon your level, the company may not talk openly about specific elements of their plans but you certainly should be able to learn enough to know what the basic strategy for success is planned to be. For example, let’s say that a company is planning to have significant growth by acquiring other companies that are similar to their own. Senior managers may know exactly who the specific targets are but they probably don’t discuss them openly. Even without specific targeted company acquisitions available to you, you will be understand several issues: A. Major growth is planned. B. Growth is planned by acquiring other companies. C. Other companies mean new employees and additional technologies to absorb. D. Significant change is coming. E. Additional employees place more strain on existing systems and infrastructure Do you see what I’m getting to ? You do not have to know all the specifics of the strategy to understand ramifications of a strategy. Junior managers should work with their senior IT managers to understand issues, develop strategy, and to prepare the appropriate plans necessary to support the company strategy. Let’s take a closer look at this issue. A. Goals and Objectives

1. Focus initially in understanding what the company is trying to achieve. Every decision you make later should be supportive in one way or another to support your company’s objectives.

2. Develop an understanding of key department objectives required to support the business.

3. Work with your senior IT managers to identify the IT objectives required to support the company and its key departments in meeting company goals.

4. Relate the IT organization objectives to your specific department responsibilities. Involve your senior IT managers as needed to develop a concise strategy that fully supports the company’s plans. Using others that have more experience is actually a strength, not a weakness. Not doing so and failing to anticipate issues that are critical to success is a weakness. B. Role needed for the IT Manager to Play "You need me to manage, right ?" The answer is not always a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Every IT organization has a unique set of dynamics. While there are definitely skills or traits that will work in most organizations, it’s also important to understand the role that is needed in the specific position you have. For example, an organization that is mature and has sound processes in place and has experienced resources needs an entirely different management mindset than the organization that is struggling to find its way. Relate this to military terms and it’s a difference in needing to ‘take the beach’ versus coming in behind the early force to ‘cleanup’. Learning the type of management style needed for your specific IT organization early on helps you go about your work in the best manner to gain the results needed for the company. When I pick up a new organization I go about assessing what I have, what are the issues and challenges, and what type of strategy is needed to support my company to the fullest. You will better understand the management role you need to provide as you go through the assessment phase discussed next. As you go through an assessment, you want to look for indicators that tell you the type of role needed. As you’re learning about the company and it’s IT needs, you’re also looking for indications as to whether you are part of an "initial assault team" or the type of manager that just needs to fine tune the existing organization.



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