Sharing experience in IT management based on 10+ years in software development
Digitization has a direct impact on business success. Employing mobile and web applications, it is possible to address various issues, for instance:
- automate request processing
- document management
Effective IT management is crucial for organizations aiming to outrun competitors and increase revenues using technologies.
In this article, I will provide recommendations on how to manage IT resources based on my experience in the field. I believe that every C-level executive or business owner will find valuable information in this post regardless of the industry his or her company operates in.
IT management elements
Information technology consists of multiple interconnected elements:
- including data
- processing operations
In my experience, IT is mostly used as a more general concept that provides business with various tools to support and digitize processes such as document management, data analysis, customer service, enterprise communication, accounting, and claim processing. In this context, IT management comprises the management of people, risks, accounting, facilities, etc.
1. People management in IT
Before specifying any activities related to IT people management, it is important to distinguish the two main groups of people who are engaged in this process.
- The first group involves employees who produce and support IT resources, assets, and tools.
- The second one consists of team members who use these resources.
Each of the groups has different expertise and specialization. To ensure successful people management in IT, you need to set up explicit and efficient communication between them. For this purpose, it is crucial to formally assign responsibilities for all parties to avoid misunderstandings and shifting of accountability.
In our software development and consulting company, we follow the following rules to provide effective IT people management:
- Keep an archive with all important communication threads and document processes.
- Explicitly define the responsibilities of all specialists and ask for employee feedback.
- Regularly hold team and personal meetings to discuss working issues.
- Employ a task management system to facilitate reporting and work monitoring.
- Assign an employee who is responsible for establishing clear communication between IT and other departments. At YSBM Group, we also conduct short meetings with this person to 'feel the temperature' and make sure everyone in the team feels comfortable.
2. IT and software development project management
If your organization delivers more services than just building software solutions according to detailed requirements and under control, it makes sense to connect IT project with software development management. I recommend this as the first notion involves a wider range of IT project manager responsibilities while the second one includes cover technical points.
To increase the efficiency of IT project management in your company, you should:
- Ensure that every IT project is managed properly, including the hierarchy and assignation of responsibilities. Keep in mind that some software technology projects are too large and complex to have a single IT project manager having to control everything.
- Take into account aspects such as business analysis, product and account management. Having a few professionals for different tasks will help a PM to properly handle all activities and deliver the work on time.
- Make sure technical and non-technical specialists have a clear understanding of the project business objectives. The customer’s industry-specific needs have to be known to deliver a quality software solution to address them.
- IT project managers should have not only great interpersonal and communication skills but also have a deep understanding of the technical side. This will allow them to faster define client issues and cooperate with engineers more effectively. It will be also easier to translate business requirements in a technical language.
- In most cases, it is reasonable to give experienced IT project managers some kind of freedom in making decisions. This will speed up communication and software development processes.
3. IT risk management
From my point of view, business is about finding the best solutions that add value to the end customer and allow companies to generate revenues while spending as few resources as possible.
When planning the amount of time and money you are going to invest, you are probably doing everything properly. It is rather not that hard to estimate the scope of the input resources to get the known output by employing certain tools and approaches.
But in every business area, including IT management, you need to address the potential influence of unknown and unpredictable factors on the result. To prevent possible issues, you should perform IT risk management.
- First, I should distinguish business risks that are induced by IT-related activities, as well as risks that can harm your information technology assets and processes.
- Second, you should design the most malicious scenarios and prepare for them by developing recovery measures. In addition, conduct employee training to introduce to a risk minimization strategy. This will help your company better respond to different situations, for example, changes in market demand.
A well-organized monitoring and prevention policy is another essential element for handling risks enabling to predict the appearance of different internal and external threats.
Depending on a potential risk impact, every business owner and C-level executive should decide what resources should be allocated for IT risk management. I generally dedicate about 5 to 10% of the overall budget for compensation that may be required due to various issues. This money covers all areas: legal, economic, staff, etc.
If you feel an uncomfortable budged shortage, it is a sign to either review it or restructure IT management in your organization.
4. Account management
I believe account management takes a crucial role in the IT management process. Your company probably has specialists who are responsible for this area. An important task for business owners and C-level executives is to ensure that account managers have a sufficient qualification to quickly address different issues and improve client engagement.
It will be a good idea to define various metrics and create an analytics dashboard that may include information about customer loyalty (ask me how to measure it), the number of contact interactions during a certain period, and lifetime value. The possibility to visualize this data will make you monitor relationships with your clients.
5. Facilities management
This element comprises processes that support IT and non-IT facilities management. I would say that facilities management is about effective risk-free resource utilization towards the highest ROI throughout its lifecycle.
For this purpose, you can employ software, procedures, and people. Just remember that facilities should be considered as assets until they stop generating explicit and predictable business value.
IT management in your company
In this pose, I suggested my vision and shared my experience of how you can structure IT management in your company. So, if you have something to add, feel free to contact me via LinkedIn. However, following my recommendations, you will be able to optimize IT processes and communications. Good luck!