TechRepublic publishes polls and surveys everyday. We do this because that’s one of the ways we determine what kind of information you need. Also, you’ve told us that you like to see what your peers think about particular issues facing IT professionals.

If you’ve ever conducted a survey, online or otherwise, you know that collecting the data is only half the battle. Interpreting the results takes a lot of work and leads many people astray.

In this column, I want to talk about the results of a survey we recently ran for IT managers. I believe you’ll find the information interesting. To be honest with you, I’m not sure how to interpret some of the data, and I’d like your opinion.

IT managers and the pervasive workplace

Last month, we ran an online survey as part of our Pervasive Workplace series that asked how much IT managers were working these days. We also wanted to know your thoughts on how much your subordinates and bosses (IT executives) were working. We received 975 submissions to the survey, proving that this was a topic you cared about.

You can see the results in the next two charts. In Table A, we’ve shown the survey results as a bar chart, and in Table B, as a line chart. Both use the same data set.

Table A

Table B

The survey results tell us a couple of things. First, IT managers are working a lot of hours. Over a third of the respondents state that they are working more than 56 hours a week (or 11 hours a day). In fact, almost 10 percent are working more than 65 hours weekly (almost six full 11-hour days).

What surprised me was the view of IT managers about the workloads of both their subordinates and their bosses. Judging from this survey, IT managers believe that they work more hours than both the people they manage and their direct supervisor.

How do we interpret those results?

This is where I need your help. How should we interpret the results to these survey questions? As I see it, there are several possibilities:

  • The results are dead-on. IT managers interact with both their direct reports and their bosses, and therefore have a good handle on relative workloads. The hard truth is that technical managers carry a disproportionate share of the burden in most IT organizations today.
  • IT managers exaggerate. While everyone is working a lot these days, IT managers in this survey have exaggerated the amount of time they actually work each week.
  • IT managers underestimate their reports. Since direct supervision doesn’t mean actually standing over the cubicle where they work, IT managers in this survey have underestimated the amount of time their direct reports work each week.
  • IT managers underestimate their bosses. While technical managers do report to IT executives, they don’t have full knowledge of their schedules and therefore underestimate how much time IT executives work.

As is often the case, the survey has raised more questions than it’s answered. Let us know what you think. Post your thoughts about the survey results in our discussion below. I will give you my opinion in a future column, but I want to see your views first.

Check out the numbers we received from our recent survey about work schedules among IT managers. Tell us how you would interpret this data and post your comment to this article.