10 Tips for Great IT Managers

Originally posted on the ProjExc Project Excellence Blog on 14-Feb-08
I recently read a great article on ZDNET providing advice to IT managers challenged by the common problem of reaction overtaking their proaction.  The advice in summary provides 10 great tips:
1. Spend time (and money) developing your people
2. Get to know what your staff really does
3. Don’t do it for them
4. Know the business and make sure it knows you
5. Treat communication as a busy, fast-moving, two-way street
6. Encourage everyone to work as a team
7. Provide feedback regularly and let employees know what you want
8. Hire well
9. Understand best IT practices, but don’t just make them buzz words
10. Be a good project manager
The advice to be a good project manager is:
“Did your last project suffer scope creep? Most projects, particularly IT ones, don’t fail because the project itself was bad. Most failures are a result of weak project management. If you haven’t had any formal project management training, find and invest in a good program.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that simply by having regular meetings, you are managing the project. And since IT usually has more projects than people, be sure to train lead workers with basic project management skills so you can delegate specific aspects of the project or even entire projects to their control.”
This is good advice, but only part of the story.  In our experience at ProjExc, it is critically important that those managing projects (especially if it is not their main responsibility) are given the support of appropriate methods/processes and systems which match the methods, otherwise the investment in the training can be wasted or worse.