Your small company decides it’s time someone was made responsible for “all
the IT stuff.” You’re “good with PCs,” so you’re now the de facto IT manager, possibly in addition to your current job. You may not have a job description, a team, or a budget; in addition, you might have been appointed to address specific urgent problems. Congratulations.

In my case, several
people were involved in IT (myself
included), but nobody was in charge,
and therefore likely to be keeping an eye on the big picture. One step I took when “officially” becoming IT manager was to create an IT operations document. By operations, I mean any tasks necessary to keep systems available,
appropriately configured, and secure; I also include user support. In other
words, IT operations consists of whatever we have to do to “keep the lights
on,” as distinct from projects or other development work.

Let’s face it: While IT
departments are constantly urged to innovate and be an enabler of business
change, what most people want first and foremost is for the stuff you already
have to do its job properly — hence, my focus on operations.

IT operations list

My take on this was to come up with a list of categories for my operational tasks or duties.
Looking at the categories now, I think I might do it differently. Here’s what I used:

  • Applications
  • Desktop
  • General (that’s
    the one I don’t like)
  • Internet
  • Network
  • Server

You don’t have to use categories, but they help me to organise and to think.

Next, for each task I assigned a
frequency (how often we do it) and the person responsible (with a backup name
if necessary). My frequency ranges from Daily to Annually, with several being
designated Ad-hoc (i.e., we just do it as required). The result is a list with entries
such as those shown in Table A (these are just samples — the full list runs to three pages).

Table A

Samples from the IT
operations list

Here’s why I bothered to compile this IT operations list:

  • It helped me get a feel for the full scope of my role, and having
    colleagues review it highlighted areas I’d forgotten.
  • It showed me
    where I either needed to learn new skills or where we lacked cover for day-to-day needs. 
  • I still review it from time to time and take stock of how
    we do things and whether any changes are warranted.


As a new IT manager, compiling an
IT operations list helped me get started. The list still proves useful for
reviewing operational practices and allocation of duties. I would recommend
anyone new to the role to give it a try.