Who is the Real IT Manager?



  • In a normal department, roles are generally relatively clear cut as to who is and who is not the decision maker and manager of that department. The head of HR has final say in HR decision making, the head of finance has final say in matter of accounting and budgeting, the head of operations has final say as to equipment chosen, locations and such, the head of legal has final say on legal matters, the head of marketing has final say on marketing matters and so on and so forth. Sure, all of these functions report up to the final executives like the President and the CEO who oversee the business as a whole and sometimes those executives do get their "hands dirty" by moving down into the trenches to assist with direct decision making within a single department. But by and large, we know that the CFO is going to have the final say, oversight and responsibility for financial matters and accounting and that decisions for accounting and finance are either made by the CFO directly or by financial department personnel under their supervision. It's clear, in these cases, who is in charge of and responsible for the departments.

    IT departments, however, often do not operate this way, at least not in the SMB. The head of IT, regardless of title, often has little to no decision making power. Not only not setting needs, but rarely making decisions, often not even trivial ones. Decision making often falls to those higher in management, sometimes even going so far as to not consult the IT department at all, or disregarding their proposals or injecting their own proposals!

    This brings up a very, very critical question - who really is the IT manager? If the person who is listed as the IT manager is not really managing IT in many cases, who is? And why are they hiding this fact?

    This is an important bit of terminology that has a lot of ramifications. It appears, from observation, that many companies label one person as the IT manager but give the job to someone else. In some ways, this is likely an extension of the existing problem of IT staff getting false or inflated titles. But it goes further than that. This is also management hiding their true function as heading IT within an organization.

    Why would someone hide their responsibilities in this manner? Perhaps it is just really poor thought processes and no one pointing out the obvious. But it feels like this is less than likely. Maybe it is because an organization is attempting to "play politics" and set up non-decision making staff as scape goats for bad IT decisions. Maybe it is to hide the fact that trained, skilled IT decision makers are lacking in the organization.

    For whatever reason, both true IT management (those making the IT decisions) and IT staff (those doing the majority of IT work) often silently agree to ignore the fact that the person making IT decisions is not the person labeled as and promoted as being IT management. Whether this is inexperience, pressure, confusion or something else, the problem remains.

    This can cause many problems in businesses. For one, the people making critical IT decisions, and therefore critical business decisions, are often untrained, unvetted, ill-suited, unchecked, secret decision makers who have no oversight, training or likely mandate for the tasks that they are taking on. Likewise, training, vetting and more is often spent on people with the title but not the responsibility or role, of IT management. This, in turn, causes yet more problems.

    Partially this is the natural extension of the Dilbert Principle in practice - those least capable are put into the assumed role of least damage which is seen as management. In any case, it hinders the organization's ability to determine where training and resources need to be spent, where decisions and mistakes will be made, who is responsible and accountable and makes the ability to function very poor. And it greatly hampers the ability to hire and retain good staff or even identify when good staff are in place.

    Every role in an organization can benefit from understanding and identifying the truth. If you don't know who the decision makers are, you are at an extreme disadvantage. If you can identify them, you can intelligently choose when it is prudent to expose this to the organization as a whole.



  • @scottalanmiller I agree with you 100%!
    From my experience, management want someone to look after the IT but at the same time they wanted to micromanage the IT department unless you have a C level staff within your IT department.



  • @sn said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @scottalanmiller I agree with you 100%!
    From my experience, management want someone to look after the IT but at the same time they wanted to micromanage the IT department unless you have a C level staff within your IT department.

    Yeah. It takes a crackerjack IT team to get out of the C-Levels micromanaging IT. I was part of a team that did it, and it took us a good 6 or 7 years to do it, but we finally did it.



  • I must be lucky...I'm not micro managed and routinely asked for advice on how we can improve processes etc.



  • @sn said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @scottalanmiller I agree with you 100%!
    From my experience, management want someone to look after the IT but at the same time they wanted to micromanage the IT department unless you have a C level staff within your IT department.

    And really, C level staff is always needed. Whoever is the final decision maker for IT is way, way too important to not be involved in nearly every business decision. IT holds critical knowledge in 99% of companies and getting their input as one of the most involved departments is very important.



  • @dafyre said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @sn said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @scottalanmiller I agree with you 100%!
    From my experience, management want someone to look after the IT but at the same time they wanted to micromanage the IT department unless you have a C level staff within your IT department.

    Yeah. It takes a crackerjack IT team to get out of the C-Levels micromanaging IT. I was part of a team that did it, and it took us a good 6 or 7 years to do it, but we finally did it.

    Doesn't take a good IT team, it requires good management from the C suite.



  • @brianlittlejohn said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    I must be lucky...I'm not micro managed and routinely asked for advice on how we can improve processes etc.

    The issue isn't failing to be asked, but that the decisions themselves go somewhere else.


  • Banned

    Most people are taught to micromanage now days.. There are plenty of business colleges, online articles and business training teaching that micromanagement is underrated and is actually a good thing for the business



  • @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    Most people are taught to micromanage now days.. There are plenty of business colleges, online articles and business training teaching that micromanagement is underrated and is actually a good thing for the business

    I've never seen that. All of the business training that I've seen and had, from books to university, was that micromanagement means you've totally failed as a manager and have left your manager role and are actually the worker and should either simply be moved into the worker role or removed as a manager. Micromanagement literally was taught as "failed management" by definition.


  • Banned

    @scottalanmiller said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    Most people are taught to micromanage now days.. There are plenty of business colleges, online articles and business training teaching that micromanagement is underrated and is actually a good thing for the business

    I've never seen that. All of the business training that I've seen and had, from books to university, was that micromanagement means you've totally failed as a manager and have left your manager role and are actually the worker and should either simply be moved into the worker role or removed as a manager. Micromanagement literally was taught as "failed management" by definition.

    well a lot of people go to online college now. strayer, phoenix all teach things like this.



  • @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    Most people are taught to micromanage now days.. There are plenty of business colleges, online articles and business training teaching that micromanagement is underrated and is actually a good thing for the business

    I've never seen that. All of the business training that I've seen and had, from books to university, was that micromanagement means you've totally failed as a manager and have left your manager role and are actually the worker and should either simply be moved into the worker role or removed as a manager. Micromanagement literally was taught as "failed management" by definition.

    well a lot of people go to online college now. strayer, phoenix all teach things like this.

    So no real universities?


  • Banned

    @coliver said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    Most people are taught to micromanage now days.. There are plenty of business colleges, online articles and business training teaching that micromanagement is underrated and is actually a good thing for the business

    I've never seen that. All of the business training that I've seen and had, from books to university, was that micromanagement means you've totally failed as a manager and have left your manager role and are actually the worker and should either simply be moved into the worker role or removed as a manager. Micromanagement literally was taught as "failed management" by definition.

    well a lot of people go to online college now. strayer, phoenix all teach things like this.

    So no real universities?

    Do many people actually go to real campuses anymore?



  • @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    Most people are taught to micromanage now days.. There are plenty of business colleges, online articles and business training teaching that micromanagement is underrated and is actually a good thing for the business

    I've never seen that. All of the business training that I've seen and had, from books to university, was that micromanagement means you've totally failed as a manager and have left your manager role and are actually the worker and should either simply be moved into the worker role or removed as a manager. Micromanagement literally was taught as "failed management" by definition.

    well a lot of people go to online college now. strayer, phoenix all teach things like this.

    OKay, well we know that what those places teach isn't considered valid. SO that makes sense. SUre lots of people go there, no one we'd ever hire. Those are "immediate blacklist schools", every one of them. THis would be a great example of why. They can't even get baseline talent even for non-IT professors.



  • The proliferation of this metric is driven from the often times misalignment with IT to Finance. Many organizations place the IT roles under the finance umbrella, and decisions are made based on cost vs. based on need.

    When I came to my current company, I made it clear that I didn't care who I reported to, but that IT MUST be involved in the business goals and objectives decision making process.

    The biggest mistake companies make in the realm of IT is allowing IT costs to drive IT decisions. IT expenditures must be based on the business need, not the overall cost. Certainly being economical is prudent, but not at the cost of critical technology required for the business goals.

    IT "Managers" falling into the group of delegated decision making would be better served, and may be able to initiate change, by highlighting the benefits and risks associated with adopting or not adopting critical technologies, and concentrating on the risks more than the benefits.



  • @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @coliver said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    Most people are taught to micromanage now days.. There are plenty of business colleges, online articles and business training teaching that micromanagement is underrated and is actually a good thing for the business

    I've never seen that. All of the business training that I've seen and had, from books to university, was that micromanagement means you've totally failed as a manager and have left your manager role and are actually the worker and should either simply be moved into the worker role or removed as a manager. Micromanagement literally was taught as "failed management" by definition.

    well a lot of people go to online college now. strayer, phoenix all teach things like this.

    So no real universities?

    Do many people actually go to real campuses anymore?

    Everyone with a job. Anyone that can claim in an interview to have gone to college. No online schools are generally considered a true education and using it to say so while technically legal in most cases, it generally considered lying by an employer.



  • @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @coliver said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    Most people are taught to micromanage now days.. There are plenty of business colleges, online articles and business training teaching that micromanagement is underrated and is actually a good thing for the business

    I've never seen that. All of the business training that I've seen and had, from books to university, was that micromanagement means you've totally failed as a manager and have left your manager role and are actually the worker and should either simply be moved into the worker role or removed as a manager. Micromanagement literally was taught as "failed management" by definition.

    well a lot of people go to online college now. strayer, phoenix all teach things like this.

    So no real universities?

    Do many people actually go to real campuses anymore?

    Outside of SW, I've literally never met anyone whose been to one. One person here is going to go to one that I know of - but because he took a job there NOT because it was the chosen school. So the schooling is free, totally changing the factors.



  • @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @coliver said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    Most people are taught to micromanage now days.. There are plenty of business colleges, online articles and business training teaching that micromanagement is underrated and is actually a good thing for the business

    I've never seen that. All of the business training that I've seen and had, from books to university, was that micromanagement means you've totally failed as a manager and have left your manager role and are actually the worker and should either simply be moved into the worker role or removed as a manager. Micromanagement literally was taught as "failed management" by definition.

    well a lot of people go to online college now. strayer, phoenix all teach things like this.

    So no real universities?

    Do many people actually go to real campuses anymore?

    I did a most of my Master's education from RIT via their online courses. Plenty of value in that. But these colleges, Pheonix and Strayer are akin to ITT Tech in quality and value. I should qualify, even though I thoroughly enjoyed my education at RIT I never did finish it, the best classes that I had there were project management and business management classes. The professor was part-owner of a company that was hired to determine why projects failed to meet budget or time. He had some pretty impressive names and we got to look at a lot of his case studies.



  • @scottalanmiller I went to a university for about 18 months until I realized that what they were teaching me from a technology standpoint was already outdated, and by the time I finished, I would be 3-4 years behind the technology curve.

    I brought my own copy of DOS 5.0 (Yes this dates me) and was told I could not load it because the systems at the time would not support it. They were using DOS 3.2

    The primary language offerings were Fortran or Cobal.

    I don't think much has changed with the fact that they lag the technology curve, and are therefore fairly useless.


  • Banned

    @pchiodo said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    The proliferation of this metric is driven from the often times misalignment with IT to Finance. Many organizations place the IT roles under the finance umbrella, and decisions are made based on cost vs. based on need.

    Heck even us our IT Managers report the IT Directors, the IT Directors report to the CIO, the CIO reports to the CFO for some odd reason..



  • @pchiodo said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    I brought my own copy of DOS 5.0 (Yes this dates me) ...

    Dates you as young. I was using computers years before DOS 1.



  • @Jason said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    @pchiodo said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    The proliferation of this metric is driven from the often times misalignment with IT to Finance. Many organizations place the IT roles under the finance umbrella, and decisions are made based on cost vs. based on need.

    Heck even us our IT Managers report the IT Directors, the IT Directors report to the CIO, the CIO reports to the CFO for some odd reason..

    That isn't SO bad as long as the CFO isn't making the technical decisions instead of the CIO or someone else under the CIO. That the CFO oversees the CIO isn't generally ideal, but can work fine if both know how to work properly.



  • @brianlittlejohn

    @brianlittlejohn said in Who is the Real IT Manager?:

    I must be lucky...I'm not micro managed and routinely asked for advice on how we can improve processes etc.

    This is my situation. Our management doesn't want to be bothered with the decision making, so they rely on me to. Not S.O.P., but I love it.



  • Wherever I've worked decisions have always been made collectively amongst various stakeholders.

    Often involving politics, diplomacy, compromise and ego-stroking.


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