General discussion


Five Signs it?s Time to Move On

By Too Old For IT ·
To every time and career there comes a time to move on. But maybe we don't always see the writing on the wall.

Here is a helpful guide:

1. Your position has morphed into being all about metrics or the process rather than any useful IT activity.

2. Budgeting is all about reducing expenses (real or imagined) rather than acquiring the newest technology. Bonus points if the CIO reports to the CFO rather than the CEO.

3. There is a hiring freeze. Bonus points if this means that when people leave, key positions remain unfilled.

4. There are no annual raises, but your annual ?bonus? is based on business metrics, rather than IT performance.

5. IT leadership is blocked from promotions. Bonus points if your IT Manager is blocked but takes a CIO position at a NYSE listed firm across town.

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2 out of five

by jdmercha In reply to Five Signs it?s Time to M ...

must not be time to leave yet.

But then I'd change #4 to: Annual raise does not keep pace with pay band increase. Thus you always move closer to the bottom of the pay scale.

I'd also replace #5 with: New IT manager has no clue what a copmuter is, but micro-manages anyway.

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3 out of 5

by w2ktechman In reply to 2 out of five

looks like I am closer than you!

Although # 1 was coming to reality, then suddenly went away -- oh yeah, I had to leave IT for that part....

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OK bitterdude....

by JamesRL In reply to Five Signs it?s Time to M ...

1. If all of your job is about metrics or process, you could be a manager. You may define that as unproductive, but I've done a process job and managed to make a manjor improvement in the project management processes at a company. If all you do is collect numbers, then get out.

2. Budgeting always has an element of reducing expenses. If everyone in the organization isn't looking for ways to do things with more quality and at less cost, then sometimes management has to impose targets based on their own financial projections. Sometimes its reduce expenses or reduce heads - which would you prefer. Acquiring the latest toys is NOT a valid goal. Exploring how new technology can improve quality, increase revenue or reduce costs is a valid exercise and should be funded as far as practical. Companies that don't do this, are beaten up by their competitors that do.

3. Hiring freeze. As a manager with tasks to do, this is a pain. But again, what are the alternatives? I know you are going to suggest that the execs give up their perks. Gee in my company that might buy me someone for a day. But there just isn't an unlimited pot of money, and if you raise your prices in the short term, you may lose customer and revenues in the long term.

4. My bonus and my team's bonus have elements of both. Business metrics help determine how big the pie is going to be, and group and individual objectives shoudl determine how much of the pie a group/individual gets.

5. This is a struggle in some organizations, for a number of reasons. Some old boy networks see IT folks as geeks and not business oriented. If it makes you feel any better, I'm a techie who currently has additional responsibilities in marketing.


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When you return from holiday

by Neil Higgins In reply to OK bitterdude....

(1)You dont recognise any of the staff.(2)They dont recognise you.(3)Your office is now a fileing cabinet.(4)Someone asks..."do you work here?"

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The one big sign...

by FBuchan In reply to When you return from holi ... when you wake up at 2 AM screaming, and you're in your chair at the office.

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or even

by w2ktechman In reply to The one big sign...

when you wake up screaming, you notice that you are not alone, several others are doing it too.

you wake up when the mail person comes by (in the office) and realise that you are almost the only one there.

when your office gets moved into the basement, and you get asked to take care of the rat problem (since you are there already).

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Some comments

by w2ktechman In reply to OK bitterdude....

1. running too many metrics is stupid. More and more companies seem to run more and more metrics which gets in the way of actual duties. And not all metrics are run by managers. I was asked to run stupid (evil) metrics on our department, but have not been a manager in it. After getting them setup and myself and a backup trained (2 weeks), it was decided that we were going to be cut anyway, so we never actually ran any.

2. Many managers in charge of the budget look at things in a very short term basis. Sometimes it is better to spend the extra $$$'s now for a better reduction of spending later.

3. It depends on the reasons for the hiring freeze, and if someone leaves can they be replaced. I have seen key people leave on a project, and not be replaced. The company kept funding the project for months, but wouldnt replace these skillsets. Finally, the project ends up scrapped because it falls apart, even if it was not in trouble before.

4. Bonuses. Many companies only give out real bonuses to departments that generate money. Those in positions that do not, are out of luck.

There really is no 1 format, it depends on many other factors. But I did find the original post (and your comments) informative and helpful

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Comments on the comments

by JamesRL In reply to Some comments

1. Running too many metrics IS stupid, agreed. You can achieve more by doing less. What I mean by that is that if you have 10 objectives, and you are determined to achieve them all, you risk achieving none. If you have three and focus on them you might achieve them.

Once you achieve a goal, then the metric may no longer be needed, and you need new goals and metrics. You may measure customer satisfaction forever, but if you have had great stats on wait times for a year, why continue measuring that, unless a problem occurs.

2. Spend money to save money? Absolutely. I have written a lot of business cases and I calculate the ROI or payback. Generally if there is an 18 - 24 month payback and ongoing benefits, you should do it. If the payback is less than a year, its a no brainer. Some investments are like insurance, you won't save money unless you are avoiding a disaster that may never come. You have to assess those on a case by case basis.

3. Hiring freezes - if they impact a project, then the project manager should escalate. Better to cancel the project when you know you wont get resources, than to pour money down the drain.

4. Bonuses. If there isn't an economic reason for having a department then it shouldn't exist. All departments have an impact on revenue, just some are more easily measured. But for example, if the customer support teams aren't great, they will have a negative impact on revenue. And studies have shown that it is far cheaper to keep an existing customer happy than to find and land a new customer.

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comments cubed

by drowningnotwaving In reply to Comments on the comments

How about this (toungue firmly in cheek but based upon real situations I've been in, screwed up myself or seen):

1. Build metrics that actually have nothing to do with importance or relevance to the strategy or objective:

We were encouraged to use the paper recycling bin. As always with these things, most people did it most of the time.

The boss decided it wasn't enough, and thus had his PA measure daily recycling performance, graph them meticulously and random attacks on individual waste bins to find how many pages could have been saved.

Of course the reaction was to do less recycling 'cos the random searches were just too much fun.

2. Spending or saving - god where do I start? I remember getting slammed in an internal review by my staff for not buying a new, big allsinging-alldancing printer, but happily taking clients out on huge $uck-off lunches.

(ha ha - got around that one by regularly inviting at least one staff member. Open Communications are good but bribery always gets results).

3. Hiring Freezes. IBM, classic. Hiring freeze on personnel and consultancy but no real examination on expenditure.

Got our consultant on a critical project to register a new business name to change from 'xyz consulting' to 'xyz services'. Never had a phone call once from accounting to find out what it was about.

4. Bonuses.

Now the trick here is to not actually confirm the bonus structure until after the end of the activity or end of the time period. Ever had that happen?

Or like M'soft in Australia where a friend works: gets hired into a pretty good job with the promise of the potential massive year-end bonus. Really good - six-figure stuff just for the bonus.

Performs brilliantly, as does the entire company. At bonus calc time, gets informed that the bonuses for ALL STAFF are actually put on a performance bell curve, and individuals then get their statistically calculated percentile band according to the entire company.

Net result is one person made 100% of bonus, one person made $0, and most in the 40% - 60% band, when the ENTIRE company blitzed every number imaginable.

5. IT blocked from going up?

Well that's the way it should be too. Seen and not heard. And let's face it, the less seen the better normally. What is it with those beards?

(Insert smiley thing with kevlar helmet on).

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Quibble, but no name calling

by Too Old For IT In reply to OK bitterdude....

Your statement "Acquiring the latest toys is NOT a valid goal." exemplifies one-half of the disconnect between C-level management and IT staff.

Ask any IT staffer what motivates them, what do they look for from management, what would keep them in IT and you find some variation of ?new toys?: training in new skillsets, latest technology, replace old technology, more interesting projects, what have you. The other half is usually more money, more respect, or some variation of that theme.

C-level management, on the other hand look at IT as something that must be controlled, generally by some forced alignment with ever-changing dynamic business objectives, and reducing cost.

The disconnect occurs when the C-level makes the leap to ?what motivates our IT staff is alignment with business objectives and reducing cost? and truly believes that.

Note to management: Quit referring to new technology as ?toys?, especially if you want to keep your IT staff churn under 100%. It is tired of hearing that tired old mantra.

Where I?m at had the HR-driven trifecta going: Hiring freeze, non-replacement of key positions, blocking promotions and watching IT managers (and staff) leave for better positions elsewhere. To this was added a buyout offer in order to reduce ?stranded costs? from a recent divestment ? all this while on an acquisition spree.

The math on CEO perks here is fairly straight forward: Divide his annual bonus by the $83,000 is costs for some $40 an hour guys, and I can put over 190 guys to work for next year. I don?t need them all, so I?ll trade some heads for some real servers to replace that rack of desktops running Win2000 & SQL, those laptops we got back from sales that look like they were run over by a truck, and oh yeah some ?toys? for the IT guys.

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