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A roadmap for asking for more headcount

Jay Rollins presents a road map to prepare you for the task of asking executives for more staff in your IT department. The better prepared you are, the better your chances for success.

Jay Rollins presents a road map to prepare you for the task of asking executives for more staff in your IT department. The better prepared you are, the better your chances for success.

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Yesterday, I wrote about some things to keep in mind when requesting money for more staff from executives. Today, I'll drill down into the specifics of what you'll need to make your case for increasing headcount.

1. Have your plan. Know where you are today and where you want to be. Communicate this plan and get it approved. 2. Review the number of complex systems supported by IT, the number of non-complex systems, and the number of users supported. Also include where you are in meeting service levels. A complex system would be an application where IT is expected to have application knowledge (e.g., MS Exchange; ERP systems; CRM systems, etc.). Non-Complex systems would be servers and such where IT is only responsible for managing and maintaining the hardware and the operating system. Once you have this information, lay it out in a time line:

A. 2006: 3 Complex systems; 1 non-Complex system; 100 users; SLA 100% compliance: 4 IT employees

B. 2007: 6 Complex systems; 2 non-Complex systems; 200 users; SLA 90% compliance: 4 IT employees

C. 2008: 10 Complex systems; 4 non-Complex systems; 300 users; SLA 75% compliance: 5 IT employees

This is somewhat simplistic, but if you have a typical IT department in a company transitioning from small to mid-size, this pattern is not uncommon. Laying it out in a time line allows management to draw some obvious conclusions without any help from IT.

3. Bring it all together. Lay out your statistics, the number of tickets over time, your time line information and build in your plan for the future. 4. Present the information. Set up a one hour meeting called Information Technology Strategic Direction. Here, a little showmanship goes a long way. Start laying out the statistics. The number of tickets, the type of tickets, your time line information, the systems that are supported. Management will begin to see the picture you are trying to paint. They are already saying to themselves, "She is going to ask for more employees."

This is where you surprise them. You have set it up that the company has tripled in size but the IT department has basically stayed the same, but now you provide hope. Introduce slides that talk about the cost of IT for the value being provided will increase significantly. "So, we want to change how we do IT." That is a powerful statement. Now all you have to do is back it up:

  • Present your strategic plan
  • Present how you are going to address help desk tickets at the root cause
  • Present the types of resources that you are going to need denoting how different they are from straight technicians
  • Present what you are going to outsource
  • Present new areas where IT will be providing real value
  • Present how this new way of IT is going to save money over the old way by providing a 5-year thumbnail operating budget forecast. Be sure to include costs for outsourced partners, additional employees, software licenses for new tools and a proposed capital budget.

Even if you're not in a position to take advantage of these tips right now, capture the data that you are now seeing and start filling in some blanks. When the IT organization reaches its breaking point, you will be more than prepared.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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