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IT Managers.. are they qualified?

By Ahmad M. ·
Sometimes, when there is a critical issue and the whole department and its sections are on red alert you'll see what the management is capable of. Especially in Network Security, fast and effective solution is the only way to deal with these cases because the time factor makes a big difference. In these times, a good management will divide the staff to teams and assign to them tasks and it will make sure that the teams are focusing on the assigned tasks. Coordinating with other departments, answering phone calls and giving reasons is not more important than controlling the staff and activities inside the department. A good management will also manage tension and pressure to provide cool environment for the engineers to do their work because decisions ought to be taken without mistakes.

I want to share with you one picture I saw and it was unexpected. Any issue that will or is expected to cause the enterprise to lose money is considered critical and it must be solved in a predefined time window. I worked in that time and I saw how the management took its decisions and actions. So simply my direct manager started working by his hand and the director was holding his mobile phone and looking at my screen, and I was monitoring traffic and sessions on one of the security boxes. It is a normal picture if the place was not crowded and both the pressure and tension was low. Not long, the GM him self came, and he added more spicy to the atmosphere. Everything was in that place was abstracting everything else and the management was looking for any straw.

At that time, when I saw the management totally lost I asked my self "are they qualified?" and the only one answer I found at that time is NO because at these times you simply stick to the procedure and none of us was doing this.

So what is your opinion?
How to deal with this kind of management?
Does this management add anything to your experience or career?
Don't you consider looking for another job?

Looking forward to read your reply,

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Inept Management

by BFilmFan In reply to IT Managers.. are they qu ...

Being an old, grizzled IT wardog that finally made the move into management, I can tell you that most management at organizations is inept in the IT field.

I am a large believer in the craft system of management techniques. You take someone and train them in your craft, art, technology, etc. and slowly they learn to become a master. This system worked for thousands of years successfully. Unfortunately, the "make a dollar now as tomorrow will never arrive cause I will be out with my fortune" mentality has ruined business methods the world over.

I am sure that if you query highly technical people in other fields such as medicine, you would find that most of them think that management is also inept for similiar reasons.

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No but why should they be ?

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to IT Managers.. are they qu ...

You give them their options, they decide.
They are meant to be able to make the best decisions based on more information that we have access to. We are meant to give them the best options based on information they don't have access to.
If as a tech you ignore them, you screw up, if as a manager they ignore you they screw up. Not doing what either party thinks you should do it not ignoring.
It's not a 100%, but good techs usually make bad managers and vice versa, basically it's macro and micro. Very very few people are capable of being effective at both levels, even less both at the same time.

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other things that must be considered..

by Ahmad M. In reply to No but why should they be ...

good point
"They are meant to be able to make the best decisions based on more information that we have access to."
Agree 100% that we are responsible of delivering the best options to them or finding the best options for them and they make the decisions and we do the actions. This is what we do every day.

But wouldn't you think that
1- the manager should be calm and think clearly.
2- since their decisions are based on the conclusions of our work, they should make sure that we take our time, relax, isolated from the world and kept focused on the issue.
3- they should have a background about the system even if it was shallow.
4- they should know how to play it right just like a soccer team coach, he knows his team very well and he knows where to put this player and that.
5- they should try to prevent the problems from happening.
6- if the problem happened then they should be prepared for it by putting planes and procedures.

Managing IT is completely a different story; it requires special skills and special thinking. Sadly enough, most of IT managers I saw them so fare were following what I call Disaster Management Methodology; they think only when a disaster occur. When you discover serious problems and propose solutions they usually say, if it is working then don't try to fixit. And they also say, if you know how to run it then you don't need training.

In your opinion what will happen if the highly regarded management continued on ignoring the problems until they become disasters. And when they occur they don't have plan B.

By the way your point was so good it give me a second thought. Keep it up.

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Ah a misunderstanding

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to other things that must be ...

Should they be qualified at management. Definitely !

1) Yes, projecting lack of confidence in an employee is self realising. They make you nervous and you screw up.

2) That's a two way street, communicate. Don't ever be afraid to tell your manager that he's screwing up what he asked you to do. Or that there seems to be a misunderstanding in waht they require of you. That's a piece of information they need.

3) They need a background on what the business reason for the system is and how it interacts with the rest of the business functions. How it accomplishes this is a bonus.

4) Learning your people is management. Some need a kick in the *** to do better, others a cuddle. Help them out, when they get the method wrong tell them. If they don't listen and adapt they aren't management material.

5) Everybody should do this. However a balance must be struck, solving a right PIA for you personally could cause the CFO a heart attack when he see's the cost.

6) Another part of management, re-evaluating risks and the strategies to minimise the risk and the impact should it occur again. Every failure is an opporunity to improve, grasp with both hands.

Management is a talent, being good at it requires more than pieces of paper, just like being a good tech.

Like everybody else they should learn from their mistakes, they won't unless you tell them they made one. This bit is important though, it's a mistake in the way they dealt with you, not in the way they dealt with a cisco router or some such.

PS I'm an out and out tech, not a manager. I don't want to be manager. All my 'skill and knowledge' revolves around how best to manage me. How to manage you or anyone else is something I'd have to learn on a case by case basis. A talented manager can pick this up with a directed conversation and simple observation.

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top management approach

by dpkchauhan In reply to IT Managers.. are they qu ...

Top management's job to be macro manage things, they need to recruit right talent at appropriate level and support them with resources. Generally the above-mentioned situation occurs when there is a "person centric approach" to any crisis, instead they should have "system centric approach" where all the tasks/drills are defined properly and also the persons involved doing that.
Other way to look at it is, if they come down at micro level which means they have lost confidence in their team.

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