IT Governance

The 8 Biggest IT Management Mistakes

Everyone is entitled to an off-day here and there, where you make a pretty lousy mistake. But having too many off-days is a recipe for company disaster, so make sure to space them out! In an article for CIO magazine, Dan Tynan discusses eight of the worst mistakes that happen in IT management:

  1. Locking in too deeply with a vendor
  2. Treating the cloud as an extension of the data center
  3. Over-engineering the business case
  4. Hiring below your skill level
  5. Promoting the wrong internal candidate
  6. Applying agile methodology to core systems
  7. Saying yes too often
  8. Hiding problems

Don’t Do These Things

You lock in with a vendor typically to get great discounts and to ensure compatibility across products. But when you choose to lock in, you need to protect yourself, especially considering that you may not want to use this vendor forever. If you want out and there are no stipulations in the contract that vendors must help you transition, then you are going to be fighting a much harder battle than you should have had.

Another mistake is thinking that the cloud will have the same reliable uptimes of a privately managed server—it does not. Rather, deriving great uptimes from the cloud is a result of dynamically swapping servers when one fails or as need arises. You need to plan your cloud implementation accordingly.

The third mistake is to “over-engineer” the business case with excessive data and research, etc. In theory, too much research is a good problem to have, but it is actually tangential to a bigger concern that Tynan identifies: The approval of a business case often just depends on whether another business leader wants the things promised from that business case. Or in another words, having a senior person to champion the CIO’s business case can be in some cases more important than having a lot of good data. Remember that.

And just like the people above you matter, the people below you matter too. If you hire people who are not smarter or more skilled than you in some way, then you are sabotaging your team right off the bat. Forget about egos and just hire the people who can deliver the best results possible. This is true whether hiring from outside or internally. But in the specific case that you are looking to promote someone from within, there is an additional factor to consider: Will the person actually want the promotion? For instance, an ace developer may not want to be promoted to a management role; the ace may want to just keep coding.

About the sixth mistake—trying to apply agile to core systems—Tynan writes this:

“I’ve seen more CIOs lose their jobs because they couldn’t keep email up than any other single issue,” [Andrew Howard, CTO at Kudelski Security] says. “These agile methodologies often fly in the face of strong and rigorous change control that’s necessary for core systems. If they go down, businesses can lose money quickly.”

To mitigate this issue, CIOs need to draw strong boundaries, allowing agile change on business systems and enforcing more rigorous change control on core systems, says Howard. One size will not fit all.

The final two mistakes Tynan identifies are pretty obvious ones: If you say yes too often, you commit to too many alterations and introduce more risk to the system. And if you hide problems IT is having, people are going to be extra outraged when they finally hear about it. So, yeah, do not do those things.

You can view the original article here:

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