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A leadership role without direct reports. Help or Hinderance?

By RB_ITProfessional ·
Hello all. I would appreciate some feedback on a decision I am trying to make. I have an opportunity to take a leadership role, however it does not involve any direct reports or budgetary control. Would this be a help or a hinderance to my if my goal is to position myself for management at some point. The overall responsibilities of the role would be as follows:

1) Direct and mentor project teams on the use of the new Enterprise Architecture standards for software development

2) Provide mentorship and training on the creation of project artifacts

3) Create and maintain process governance and standards documentation

4) Be a Liason to the Business to help them understrand the new Enterprise Architecture

5) Negotiate with project teams to consolidate work efforts and utilize the common objects that will be created as a part of the new Enterprise Architecture.

I realize that in order to move into management, I will need the people management skills as well as the monetary control aspect. This position offers neither..however I could see some potential for future growth. Any thoughts on this? Any managers out there have any feedback on this?


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Can you say "Special Projects?"

by drmemory In reply to A leadership role without ...

This is a loser waiting to happen. Internal consulting positions are great during explosive growth; the first to go when things need to be tightened. The only two measures that count are budget and headcount. The next stop will think that you were sidelined, not promoted, as the easy way out of a bad situation.
My advice is simple, count the levels between you and the CEO, total the budget and headcount that you control (including matrix assignments) and ask yourself if this new position is a step forward.

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Agreed -- Danger, Will Robinson!

by mgordon In reply to Can you say "Special Proj ...

I think very few responders will discount the value of this position and many or most companies should have such a person in the role as you have described, BUT (and it's a big one) it is seen as a siding (in railroad terminology), NOT the main-line. Sidings have their uses obviously or they would not exist. But the Fast Freight doesn't take the sidings.

Computer specialists aren't Fast Freight. In fact, most of them have no management skills whatsoever, a "special projects" assignment is actually a pretty good way for CEO to see if you have, or can develop, any kind of management skill, pizzazz, human relations and communications skills. IF you do, behold, off the siding you come onto the mainline and someone else becomes Special Projects coordinator.

Because of the huge gap in some companies between the CEO (pure business, may need a bit o' help with a PDA), and the technology departments, the "go between" person can actually become one of the most valued persons in the entire enterprise. CEO's you can hire off the street, likewise technology experts. "Bridge" persons that can work comfortably in boardrooms and server rooms are not so easy to find and they are also going to be middle-aged, which until recently was a deprecated age group.

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Special Projects

by RB_ITProfessional In reply to Can you say "Special Proj ...

Believe me, the "special projects" thing was a big concern of mine as I evaluated this position. I've seen even the most well intentioned "special projects" go up in flames very quickly. I think the challenge for me will be to do well while the project is live, and gain any valuable skills to either move up in this company or elsewhere. Thanks for the feedback.

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Haven't you heard of Project Manager??

by opatzg In reply to Special Projects

Grab the position if thats what you'ld like to get into. Take some courses on project management and enjoy the ride.

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Install doorbell

by leesmithkq In reply to A leadership role without ...

Good questions, great goals, best wishes. I'd base a decision on my job options, family goals, and solid research into company in this order with these beginning thoughts:

* Research. If the annual report and at least 3 other reliable sources convince you the company will survive or grow, GREAT! Assure yourself in a conversation with at least one employee or manager without revealing intent. STILL THINKING? Next question.
* Family: If you are willing to relocate, a likely scenario for an exceptional manager since executives are convinced once an area functions well its leader should tackle another, MIGHT BE PERFECT! Next question.
* Options: Are your services in demand? Are there personal hindrances to advancement such as age, health, education? These don't determine your value but cannot be overlooked. If you are in a position to take a risk, I'd consider the above and GO FOR IT!

Present your concerns tactfully to upper management along with conviction you can do the job with good support, get sponsorship and any possible commitment in writing even if it's just a note. Then, don't keep these problems in their faces or front of you but do your best, learning and growing. You write exceptionally well, and that clarity alone positions you above peers, perhaps also bosses.
Take the chance. Nothing is forever including what you're doing now. We have no guarantees.
LEAP - Only after those considerations.

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You're on your way

by lizettem In reply to A leadership role without ...

Managing people indirectly counts as much as having a person reporting directly to you. In fact, often requires greater skill in terms of obtaining the level of support and dedication you require. Furthermore, it requires higher level skill as you will be interfacing with their direct managers as well. For the period of a project, although a dotted line responsibility, those people effectively report in to you. Believe me, from a people management perspective, you gain as much experience as you would otherwise. From a monetary perspective, whether you are directly or indirectly responsible for the budget, the number of people you deploy and the time you take to perform the task, has a monetary value to it. You need to be aware of the overall budget for the project and ensure that managing the resource and the time has a direct influence on the budget. Don't forget that there's a cost to the product as well that you will use for training eg. the books, the materials etc. That's under your control. There's your budget management experience. Write again after a year and tell me whether I was wrong!! Best wishes.

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True, but...

by SciFiMan In reply to You're on your way

That's a valid point, however later when you need to make your next move, you'll really need to focus on and sell this idea in the best possible light. And hope the next interviewer sees it that way. But if you see a longterm future at your company, it could be a good move for you.

As an IT Manager (and last remaining tech) in a much downsized company, I'm finding it difficult to find a similar management position when I must admit that it's been a few years since I've managed anyone, and the CFO controls every penny of tech spending. When I apply for a straight sys admin job, I get the feedback that I'm a manager and all they really need is a network guy- even though that's all I am now, with a glorified title.

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by RB_ITProfessional In reply to True, but...

So what approach do you take when confronted with that type of situation?

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one of those heh?

by pivert In reply to A leadership role without ...

So you're gonne be one of those people that stick their nose in every project a dpt does :-) as I see it: you'll learn a lot, meet a lot of people and will have interesting things to tell upper mgt because you get a helicopter view. Otoh, it won't be a 9-5 job, more a 27/7. If you see it as a step towards mgmt? that depends on you. i'm in the same situation but that didn't stop mgmt here from dropping someone above me at gen.mgmt level because i'm doing my job too good and they like me to keep on doing this. yes i love this work , the long hours, talking to all kinds of people,... and probably would have hated the endless meetings at higher level. but you know, that was a tough call and i'm looking at other jobs now. hard work doesn't automatically lead to a better position. (haven't they heard of the peter principle? damn!)

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Good Point

by RB_ITProfessional In reply to one of those heh?

You bring up good points. I am counting on my assertiveness to learn the skills that I will need to leverage a move up the career ladder, either with this company or elsewhere. The plus side of things, is that this is a contract position, so if I really don't like it...I can go elsewhere!

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