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Just How Important Is Gratitude To Your Team?

Just How Important Is Gratitude To Your Team?
By Jim Anderson

As an IT manager, it is your job to motivate your team to accomplish great things! The big question that you have to answer is how to use your IT manager skills to get your team to work together. You have a lot of tools at your command: raises, promotions, bonuses, etc. However, what all of our IT manager training has been designed to teach us is what works best. What’s the answer to this question?

The power of gratitude

It turns out that it’s not always easy for IT managers to express gratitude to those members of their team who work for them. It’s not necessarily that we don’t want to express gratitude, but it’s just that it’s so easy for us to forget to do it. About 80% of us understand the power of expressing gratitude to members of our team. Read the Complete Article

Becoming an Effective Manager

Becoming an Effective Manager
By Howard Shore

Many successful people get promoted into management and quickly find the pressure to be higher than anything they felt in the past. As an individual contributor, it is much easier to control the outcomes of your work. It may not seem like that at times, but you have a lot more control than when you are a manager of people. I am not referring to people that receive a management title and have nobody to manage. A real manager has the authority and responsibility to manage: financial performance (includes holding others accountable), people activities (hire, keep and grow people), and positioning/strategizing the firm or department in a way that provides a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

One key issue a manager faces is that there are always detractors within the larger organization and the smaller team. These people may have been detractors all along, felt they should have gotten your position, or do not know you well enough to realize you are qualified for your position. Read the Complete Article

5 Things that a CIO Should Never Accept in the IT Department

5 Things that a CIO Should Never Accept in the IT Department
By Jim Anderson

CIOs need to make sure that their IT department is a smoothly running machine. There are many different things that they can do in order to make sure that this happens. Hiring the right employees is a great way to start. Taking steps to keep employee moral high and ensuring that employees are motivated are both important. However, as the person with the CIO job, you need to also know what kind of things that you need to make sure are not present in your IT department.

  1. Dishonesty

    Although I would suspect that most people would describe themselves as being an honest person, all too often we discover that this is not always the case. If you discover that members of your IT department are dishonest and struggle to tell the truth, then can you really afford to have them on your team?

Read the Complete Article

Why GM Created A Team Of 8,000 Programmers

Why GM Created A Team Of 8,000 Programmers
By Jim Anderson

So IT manager, how many people are on your team? How hard is it to keep track of them and what they are currently working on? I’m willing to bet that it probably takes up most of your available time. Over at GM they just hired 8,000 new developers. How would you like to manage that team? What are they trying to accomplish?

The problem with trying to order a truck

Have you ever bought a car or a truck? If you are like most of us then the answer to this question is “yes”. How did you go about doing it? I’m willing to bet that you started the process by doing some research online in order to determine what you wanted and how much it was probably going to end up costing you. Next you packed things up and went on down to the local car dealer and sat down to do some haggling with them. Read the Complete Article

Why ITIL Can Be Dangerous to Business Relationship Management Health

Why ITIL Can Be Dangerous to Business Relationship Management Health
By Vaughan Merlyn

First, let me be clear—establishing robust Service Management discipline is essential ‘table stakes’ for an IT organization with low supply maturity (i.e., one that is not good at keeping the proverbial ‘lights on and trains running on time.’) If your Business Partners don’t understand or trust basic IT services, they aren’t going to invest their time and energy in developing a strong relationship with the IT organization. They aren’t going to look to that organization for the more strategic and higher value opportunities that might be made possible through information and IT. So, while Service Management is a crucial building block for any IT organization looking to improve their performance and value delivered, it is not the whole story. And ITIL® is an effective framework for establishing good Service Management discipline. However, it does not fully address the more strategic aspects of driving business value realization from information and IT. Read the Complete Article

How IT Managers Can Teach Their Teams to Handle Uncertainty

How IT Managers Can Teach Their Teams to Handle Uncertainty
By Jim Anderson

I wish that I could tell you that there will be no things that happen in your IT manager career that will surprise you. However, both you and I know that that simply is not true. Instead, there is probably going to be a lot of uncertainty. What this means for you as an IT manager is that you are going to have to use your IT manager skills and IT manager training to show your team how best to deal with this uncertainty.

What to do now

As an IT manager, you are probably used to having your team receive requirements from other parts of the company. However, there will always be those times that your company’s senior management announces a major program or initiative that you know will impact your team. However, you won’t be able to start on it until another team provides you with what you need. Read the Complete Article

IT Managers Need To Understand Just Exactly What Critical Thinking Is

IT Managers Need To Understand Just Exactly What Critical Thinking Is
By Jim Anderson

As an IT manager, you’d really like use your IT manager skills to have the best possible team working for you. Where things can get a bit tricky is when we try to define just exactly what we mean by “the best possible team”. If you take a look at a modern IT job posting, there is a very good chance that you are going to run across the phrase “must have good critical thinking skills”. That sounds great, but what are we really looking for when we say that?

Just Exactly What Is “Critical Thinking”?

“Critical Thinking” is one of those phrases that we all think that we know what it means, but in reality it turns out that we all have a slightly different view of it. Just talk to any IT manager and you’ll discover that based on our IT manager training we all define it differently. Read the Complete Article

5 Responsibilities of Every Manager

5 Responsibilities of Every Manager
By Les Taylor

Peter Drucker, known as the father of modern management, maintained that every manager – in any organization – has five primary roles and responsibilities. Drucker said every manager organizes, sets objectives, measures, motivates and communicates and, lastly every manager develops people – including themselves.

I’ll add my two cents as to how each role might work in the real world.

  1. Managers organize essentially three things:
    1. People (Who?)

      Managers make sure the right person is in the right job. By right person I mean the person with the right skills, training and/or experience is in a position that plays to that person’s particular strengths and abilities.

    2. Process (What?)

      W. Edwards Deming, one of the great management thinkers of the last century said: “If you can’t describe what you’re doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” Good managers analyze, develop and create the right process for the right job.

Read the Complete Article

Secrets to Building Great IT Teams

Secrets to Building Great IT Teams
By Jim Anderson

As an IT manager, you can only be as good as your team allows you to be. This means that you are going to have use your IT manager skills and invest your time in making your team as good as you possibly can. Even if you can commit to doing this, the next question is just exactly what should you be doing to make this happen?

Building a Better Team

Your team is not going to be in a position to support you if you don’t have the right team in place. This all has to do with team dynamics – how well do the members of your team work together? What you are looking for is a team that can be very cohesive. However, this is not just going to magically happen.

Instead, it’s all about who you hire to join your team. Read the Complete Article

It is All Taylor’s Fault

It is All Taylor’s Fault
By Keith Swenson

The Industrial Revolution brought about mass production of parts and products. The concept behind mass production is: break the job into a series of well defined components (interchangeable parts), and set up to produce those parts in large quantities to get economy of scale. Millions of identical parts can bring the price down of a completed product. The cost of setting up a factory is high, but is recouped through small savings multiplied by many instances.

Fredrick Winslow Taylor applied these mass production ideas to work and called it “Scientific Management“. He performed time and motion studies to determine exactly the most efficient way to perform a particular piece of work, and got workers to do the same thing over and over very repeatably. Again, economy from large runs of identical work.

Workflow and BPM (and software applications in general) comes from this school of Scientific Management. Read the Complete Article

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