IT People – Preface

IT People
Doing More with Less

First edition
ISBN 142087988X
( by: Kern, Pultorak, Dublisky, Giudicelli)

Talk to just about any Information Technology (IT) executive today and you’re likely to hear the same complaint: “Even though we have invested millions of dollars each year in technical infrastructure and support, we don’t get the results we expect.”

The focus of IT management over the past several decades has been on maximizing the benefit that comes from IT investments. Particular attention is paid to finding the right hardware, software, networks, and processes to allow IT to contribute to the bottom line of the business. And still, with all of this focus, IT organizations find themselves unable to meet the demands of their clients. Perhaps a shift in focus is needed.

IT PEOPLE: Doing More With Less shifts the focus to the IT people. Because while it is right to focus on getting the hardware, software, networks, and processes right, people are the resources that ultimately make a difference in getting results and meeting the demands of clients. And since people costs are often the largest part of the IT budgets, and our focus has been elsewhere, it could be that a focus on IT people is long overdue.

This book is intended for every IT professional (management and individual contributors) who faces the constant challenge of performing a big job with ever-shrinking departmental resources. Whether you are a manager or an individual technician, this book is for you. It will help you improve your ability to plan your work and, meet your commitments while being an effective political actor. Our aim in this book is to provide you with a tool that will not only help you deliver greater value to your organization, but do so in a way that provides a greater degree of job satisfaction and quality of life.

IT PEOPLE: Doing More With Less is intended as a practical tool, not a theoretical book. The content of the book comes from the experiences of the authors, each of whom has spent years managing IT organizations and consulting with clients around the world. As a result, the book provides guidance on real problems faced by IT professionals: problems that impact their ability to be effective. It seeks to arm the IT professional with the knowledge to acquire discipline and empower him with resolve to build a competitive organization.

Chapter 1, “Building a Competitive IT Organization,” looks at the people problem in IT and why IT is singled out. Before setting off on solving the IT people problem, it is important to get our arms around how ‘big and bad’ that problem is by looking at the key components in building the ideal IT organization.

Chapter 2, “IT People Issues and Challenges: Solutions for IT Professionals,” provides practical, experience-based guidance for IT professionals seeking to tackle top IT people issues.

To do more with less, IT professionals must know their discipline and exercise discipline in moments of truth to ensure that the right things get done right. Chapter 3, “The Disciplines of the IT Profession,” outlines the groups of tasks that typically make up jobs in IT.

Understanding what could be on your plate is an important first step in reorganizing that plate. Chapter 4, “The Discipline of the IT Professional,” outlines how individual IT professionals can organize their work and time to do the right things right. Chapter 5, “Discipline Mentoring: Helping IT People Excel at the IT Organization Level,” introduces Discipline Mentoring as a method within the IT function that can help develop and coach IT professionals in the discipline it takes to realize change within the department. The chapter also provides ideas for teaching personal and technical disciplines to all employees, outlining a formal mentoring program for the entire IT team.

All work takes place within a larger organizational context, and that context always involves politics. The work of the IT professional is no exception. Political savvy is a vital ingredient in doing things right. Chapter 6, “IT Politics: A Primer for IT Professionals,” is a guide to the political landscape of the IT profession. It provides advice on understanding and successfully navigating political waters and improving individual political skills. The advice this chapter provides is vital, as no one at any level can expect to be successful without an understanding of the politics that exists in organizations. Power and politics is forever the backdrop that sometimes becomes obstacles to success. This chapter discusses the concept of politics. It then goes on to describe how to attain a sense of power within the political environment, and how to successfully swim with the sharks, a situation in which most IT professionals regularly find themselves.

Chapter 7, “Performance Management: Helping IT People Excel at the Enterprise Level,” introduces Performance Management as a tool implemented at the level of business to ensure that IT will realize the most significant and longest lasting improvement. A People Performance Management Plan is outlined as an enterprise-wide method for aligning goals and managing performance across the organization.

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