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  • #2258116

    IT managers vs managers


    by ericsaddress ·

    Just curious as to how many people work with IT managers and how many work with people who manage IT (basically those managers who literally non-technical, but have the responsibiliy of IT resources). Also how has the experience been and/or which do you prefer?


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    • #3279189

      I have worked many times for

      by w2ktechman ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      managers who had a background in IT but since becoming managers, they have lost even the skills to run a defrag on the HDD.
      I have had few problems with them, and they have always supported me and the department in general. But, we often dont get a lot of the things that we want without a definitive need for it…

      I have also worked for a manager who had no IT background, but tried to constantly be a part of everything. It was more than annoying, and we clashed always (I usually backed down from confrontations). That job lasted 2 months, as I could not handle it well at all.

      • #3207768

        IT Mgmnt Needs Some Tech Background

        by vsstaples ·

        In reply to I have worked many times for

        Having been a techie and now being in mgmnt for too many years, it’s clear that IT management (middle mgmnt atleast) must have some technical background. I worked for several nontechnical managers and in every case the results were chaos. Non technical managers most times made commitements that were unrealistic in terms of functionality, cost or delivery time and most frustrating, becuase they couldn’t understand what the technical staff were saying they didn’t respect them. Instead, they viewed techies as barriers rather than trying to understand what was being said. In one example this lack of willingness to listen cost the company over $500k in a failed project. IT depts need middle manaagement who has IT experience and yes, I’m sad to say after years of mgmnt I have lost some of my skills but have, however, retained my ability to know who is good technically and listen to their thoughts and opinions!

      • #2770107

        Some time tough with non IT managers

        by keesari ·

        In reply to I have worked many times for

        Working under non IT managers is really tough, to convey any related technical issues really hard to convince them.

        Some time they want us to not follow the process and move fw, they not even realize that it may effect in long run

    • #3279180

      I am an IT manager

      by tig2 ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      And answer to non IT managers. It can be a struggle sometimes as I have to manage my team in one manner and manage to my seniors in a completely different manner.

      I get frustrated sometimes trying to validate IT requirements in a way that Finance and others understand. I think that the trick is to learn to translate “technese” into “busnese”. That can be a challenge sometimes.

      I worked for one though who was completely non technical but strongly valued and supported his team. You had to be able to clearly validate your position with him but he would support you.

      I think that at some point, it comes down to the value of the manager- if you are a good manager, you manage.

      • #3279177

        You mean they lead

        by j.lupo ·

        In reply to I am an IT manager

        Good managers do good short-term managment, but Great managers are leaders first and see the long-term to completion. Yes? or is that too simplistic a statement?

        • #3206823

          the anomoly

          by computerwatch ·

          In reply to You mean they lead

          I come to your company without any knowledge of Finance outside of a rudimentary knowledge of my chequeing account, and say “I want to head up your Finance team”….think baout the answer a CEO will give (without the expletives)!

          Yet I go to a company with anything other than basic knowledge of IT and get offered the role as Head of IT???

          No, it requires a LOT more than just “good management”, and implying anything els downgrades the work and effort professional IT people put into their careers.


      • #3206805

        IT managers need

        by mjwx ·

        In reply to I am an IT manager

        to serve as a layer of separation between upper management and the IT department. A NAT of sorts.

        IT managers need to communicate the needs of the business to the IT workers whist keeping the management informed of the IT depts capabilities and advised of the IT depts limits.

        This means that an IT manager must have a good understanding of both business practices and technology but need not be an expert in either.

        From a guy at the bottom rung who has their fair share of unrealistic expectations from upper management, fortunatly for me the CIO was an admin for over 8 years before moving to management and generally kept most projects achievable.

        • #3220875


          by gooder ·

          In reply to IT managers need

          What a fantastic way of putting it!

          I’ve had some frustrating discussions with friends of mine, including programmers, network techies, etc. who delight in winding me up because I manage these days instead of “getting my hands dirty”. Questions include “but managers don’t DO anything”, and “how can you manage an IT department if you don’t know how to ?”.

          I’ve long since decided they’re just winding me up (it worked), but if the subject comes up again I’ll use your explanation – it just might be technical enough for them to understand.


    • #3279178

      It is hard today to classify so simply

      by j.lupo ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      into these categories. Today regardless of the industry you work in – everyone has some level of IT knowledge. That is what happened with the explosion of IT into the home or personal arena.

      I have however worked with both types and though never officially an IT manager, have done the work. I find that it doesn’t matter whether you come from IT or come from business as long as you have very good communication skills, know your strengths and weaknesses and know how to work with teams.

      Now that is a pretty short list and I could add a lot more to it, but those are the primary things to being a manager in any area. I have found both technical and non-technical managers to be both good and bad. Again the difference was how they worked with people and communicated not how much they knew.

      I do believe that to be a manager at any level, you need a strong enough foundation of the organization, its core business, and the technology that supports that core business. But that is what I believe and what my research is starting to show.

    • #3278834

      Non-technical, definately

      by waity85 ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      Just to make things worse though. He thinks he is technical, keeps using big phrases when clients ring and get to him before a techie answers the phone, phrases like

      “So, have you tried a traceroute to see if that helps your routing issues?”.

      When what the client asked for was to have a DNS entry changed.

      oh well…..

    • #3278810

      Manager of IT

      by kansaspcdoc ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      I went from an IT manager that tried to be involved/do/control everything to a manager of IT who believes in tasking me and leaving me alone. I personally am much happier completing tasks as requested instead of fixing all the errors generated by someone with an out dated skill set and trying to do the original task.
      I prefer a Manager of IT.

    • #3278313

      Have been in this situation

      by jim_p ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      Yes I have been in two cases where one of managers who was in charge of the jobs and projects we did weren’t that technical. All the technicians including me were clashing all the time, but we all got around it, just ended up the converstation going around in circles then the manager will finally work it out or makes out he worked it out, or we would just go along with his plan, do it the way we know is right. It was all good.


      • #3207626

        I need the key to decipher this

        by jackintheback ·

        In reply to Have been in this situation

        needs some punctuation some where and, the second sentance in post this seems too confusing.
        It seems you have a hard time gossiping.?

    • #3278302

      Good management is good management

      by nicknielsen ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      A good manager can usually do well in almost any arena. The best manager I ever worked for had no specific IT knowledge, but a good general grip on the role of IT in business. If I remember correctly, he convinced corporate that they should think of IT as a utility, not as a cost center by asking them what they needed every day to do the job, no matter what the job was.

      Building, lights, toilets, supplies, computers, network…

      • #3278270

        That would be great.

        by jim_p ·

        In reply to Good management is good management

        Yep I will have to agree with you there, a lot of places don’t think of I.T. Departments thay way, and this is probably getting off the subject a bit, but I have noticed not a great deal of places treat their I.T. people respectifully as they should, I think I.T. should be a highly recognised department as we do keep the businesses going, and let’s be honest, it’s normal for I.T. equipment to break down, otherwise we all wouldn’t be in a job right?


        • #3110487

          Job Security

          by williestylez ·

          In reply to That would be great.

          You are right that “it’s normal for I.T. equipment to break down” but that is what frustrates non-tech employees. They feel like we are either not doing our jobs or milking the “job security” thing. I work in an office where I am locked in a windowless office, so whenever I come out, for coffee, a break, whatever, the first thing I hear is a condesending “what’s broken now!!!” Or my favorite, “why can’t it just be fixed and stay fixed!” Let that get back to Upper Management, and you are bound to be treated like a useless cash-sucking department. And the misleading thing about those statements, our systems are up 99.5%!!!

    • #3110483

      IT Managers are “usually” best

      by williestylez ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      I think in order to properly manage IT, you have to have specific IT knowledge. The comment that the implosion of home PCs has caused most people to have “IT knowledge” is a tad far fetched. There are about 100 people in my office, 90% have home PCs and related technologies, but none have any real IT knowledge. They know how to use their favorite apps, some know how to use task manager (big woop, my 7-year-old knows that too), and for the most part they all know how to operate their most useful business app. But get any of them in front of a PC to troubleshoot, or a server to buildout, and they wouldn’t even know where to begin. Anyway, good IT managers are usually able to best grasp the tech needs of a business, then translate that into solutions that work. Or at least be able to translate that into solution requirements, then weed through solution recommendations from their team. My current manager is an experienced developer and infrastructure man. He understands our business needs and usually translates them into requirements for us to search for solutions. When we return with those solutions, we can usually explain the technical aspects and then he translates that into “bus-neese” for Upper management. That takes alot of weight off us from having to deal with all the business units and making a solution make sense to multiple areas. Not to say that a “manager” can’t do it, I just haven’t found one that can.

      • #3110469

        IT Management is not IT Technician

        by wtoboso ·

        In reply to IT Managers are “usually” best

        Management had to distance itself from the roles of Technicians or the Technical guys. IT Manager is one who is able to build and manage teams, has good communication, planning, budgeting and other relevant skills not necessarily technical. He should be able to know how to use the skills within his team to realize his objectives. He should be able to do the MANAGEMENT work, of coashing, building his team by identifying their needs and supporting their initiatives to advance technically.

        Does someone want to say that one cannot be a president of a country because he does not skilled on all the his people are skilled in. Does he have to be ac accountant or a proffessor of mathematics or geologist or a pilot just too name afew, for him to lead his country. Never should or can that be. if he has good people skills, he can use the resorces available in his people to make a great leader.

        So the same applies to an IT Manager,

        • #3110370

          Well said.

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to IT Management is not IT Technician

          This is also my understanding of the essence of the role of management as it pertains to a team.

        • #3207911

          c+ or better

          by bruno fonseca ·

          In reply to IT Management is not IT Technician

          “Does someone want to say that one cannot be a president of a country because he does not skilled on all the his people are skilled in. Does he have to be ac accountant or a proffessor of mathematics or geologist or a pilot just too name afew, for him to lead his country. Never should or can that be. if he has good people skills, he can use the resorces available in his people to make a great leader.”

          Although what you said can be true, you should require a president to have more than a C+ average and know what the bill of rights and the constitution are, along with the meaning of legal VS illegal

        • #3207743

          Manager response if I ever heard one

          by doartf ·

          In reply to IT Management is not IT Technician

          “You don’t have to be a ditch digger, to be a ditch diggers boss.”

          Yeah – but you better know the difference between a ditch and a molehill.

          Presidents rely on lots of people to help them reach good decisions. I?ve had both technical managers and non-technical managers. And I?ve had good and bad from both groups. I always felt the one that were successful were the ones who when they didn?t know or understand something came out and said so.

          Unfortunately, the majority of the time the non-technical ones were the ones who bluffed their way through most projects and tasks.

          – You need to but more dirt into that ditch it isn’t high enough yet!

        • #3207595

          communication skills

          by macka43 ·

          In reply to IT Management is not IT Technician

          I am appalled at the lack of respect shown for the english language by current generations – as indicated by the misspelling of simple words and the poor delivery of their message in these article responses.
          Communication skills these days are woeful, but the worst part is that it has become acceptable due to a lowering of standards in many aspects of human behavior.

    • #3110381

      Administrative manager

      by fbartolom ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      I share my boss with the administrative department, his main responsibility, the human resources, the general services and the buyer department.
      Being of old age and burdened by so many responsibilities his knowledge and interest in IT, at best, is restricted to the managing of complaints of the top users…

    • #3207897

      I have seen a great management morf…

      by dr.phil ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      Back before the PC became we had managers (only) managing IT Managers (then called systems managers) and the manager knew where the line was and how to support who they manage. Over the last twenty years or so the management situation has “morfed” due to the PC being in the hands of many wannabee techies and included in this group are the managers. Now all the wannabees can be managers AND techie simply because they have a pc at home.

      Ok, fine, whatever. I’ve found it a very good tool to casually and consistantly remind the said manager that he isn’t a technical member in any sense. Using the it’s-not-what-you-say it’s-how-you-say-it mentality that is drilled into the heads of the non-technical management you then have the upper hand if you are a silver tongued sort.

      (note: do not be sarcastic; just as any comedian knows it is your delivery that is most important).

    • #3207873

      IT & Business important

      by grephead ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      I’ve have worked as an IT manager and I now report to a manager (in a project mgmt role). I have worked in technical positions as a network admin, dba, network infrastructure, etc. In each of my technical positions I have worked for non-IT managers (mostly financial) and managers with a technical background. A technical manager is always better in my view. But a technical manager needs to understand the business side too.

      I have three opinions on this question.

      1 – As a technician I hated working for someone that didn’t understand the “big picture” of what I did. I didn’t expect my manager to know RMAN, Cisco IOS, shell scripting, etc. but I do expect a general idea of technology (what is a VPN, database, cluster, SAN, firewall, router, project fundamentals, Unix, Linux, Java, .NET, and so on) Example – one project I ran had a North American MPLS network – this was delayed several months because the financial executive who managed IT couldn’t understand why Cisco routers were different from $50 linksys routers and refused to listen to IT advice and refused to learn anything about the technology on his own. Ugh. It was like a living Dilbert cartoon. As you can imagine his attitude crushed morale on the project.

      2 – A company is making a major mistake by running IT without someone who has a background in IT. A company has a fiduciary responsibility to its owners and stockholders to implement technology in the same respect as sales, marketing, etc. IT is expensive, however it can be extremely expensive when operated by novices. Consider the manager who buys only based on vendor advice, sets staff levels incorrectly, etc.

      3 – A manager of IT is not a technician. He or she is a manager who has a technical background. One of the major hurdles for me was letting go of doing the technical work and managing a team. But understanding what you are managing is critical to a smooth operation. For example – One of the major problems I had was some AS400 staff (not all AS400 folks are this way!) who refused to learn new technology – they had excuses, roadblocks, etc. If I had not had a technology background they would have continued to retard the company progress. A non-technical manager may not have recognized the problem and continuous harm to the company.

      • #3207777

        Separate Management abilities from Job Techicalities

        by wtoboso ·

        In reply to IT & Business important

        Management is a set of processes that can keep a complicated system of people and technology running properly. This includes planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, controlling and problem solving.

        Talk of football team manager. He may not have scored a goal in his life but has great skills in encouraging and promoting unity and zeal within his team.

        Talk of a home manager, the father. He oviously knows how good food tests but may not fail to be a successful home manager just because he does not know how to cook.

        Sometimes, IT Managers who were previously technical may tend to leave their teams with no counceling, coaching and motivation. He will always lack the ability to delegate as he always thinks doing the technical things himself is the way forward.

        Let the good manager build a team of qualified engineers, technicians, system analysts, programmers, researchers and many more. Let him do what managment is all about and that is:

        1. Coaching – a non-technical IT manager can greatly boost the morale of his technical team to great success.

        2. Motivatating others – this requres no programining, hardware or software skills. It reuires a person with people skills.

        3. Being close to his people and showing his interest in their office, family and personal needs. This is not normally a technical requiremenet. IT needs a real manager [an oversear] and one who has spent time to know the weaknesses, strengths of his people.

        How do you relate these Management or Leadership skills with technical skills:

        1. Enthusiasm – what technical quality does this need?
        2. Integrity – does this need computer science study?
        3. Toughness, Fairness, Warmth, Humility and Confidency – who can say that one with Techinical backgound is the one who can aquire these skills.

        So , in summary, a manager does not need to be a technical person but a person who has had an introduction of good management styles. Such a manager can manage IT, Agricultural Institutions, Medical etc so long the teams are well represented with the correct skills.

        A MANAGER IS A CHAIRPERSON who is just preciding over a meeting or a team to help them create the right atmosphere, promote teamwork, get to know, encourage and motivate each team individual.

    • #3207865

      VP Marketing

      by gsquared ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      My boss is the VP Marketing.

      Yes, that makes no sense. I’m a DBA, I design, build, maintain and support a CRM/ERP/BI application, but I’m in the marketing department.

    • #3207834

      Only non IT-bosses…

      by maevinn ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      It’s very interesting to read the opnions of those who’ve had IT savy bosses, as well as those in IT who have moved into management positions. I’ve always worked for non-IT bosses, so can’t say which I prefer. I know that I’ve gotten better at using analogies to explain technology, and I make sure I fully understand a product before making recommendations to my boss. Probably the biggest frustration I’ve had is getting them to use the right terminology so I understand what they mean–for example, saying something is in a database when it’s actually in a spreadsheet.

      I do think that a truly competent manager will be able to successfully lead any group. Part of being competent is gaining at least some level of understanding of the jobs your employees perform, though! My previous boss was fabulous–he believed in giving me the tools I needed to do my job, as well as the support I needed from others.

      I will say, though, that I think many IT people forget that the purpose of the business is seldom IT related. IT is a tool, just like anything else, and while it’s important, it’s not worthy of any more respect than any other service. I’ve always said that if my boss couldn’t do his job because his computer wasn’t working, then clearly I hadn’t done my job correctly.

    • #3206871

      I am IT manager

      by akalinowski ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      i have to report to COO
      he understands how to use IT, but is in no way a technical person.

      i like this because, an understanding of what is needed and what can be done can easily be communicated between us.

    • #3206587

      A better boss?

      by splunge ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      I am blessed by the opportunity to work for a boss that really knows IT AND has great management skills. My boss has the ability to see from many different vantage points. He has been in the trenches so he knows our end of things and appreciates the issues we have to deal with. He also has the ability to see the “big” picture and is not short-sited like managers without much IT experience. He is great with people and is a true team builder/leader. He leads by example and does not ask us to do anything that he would not be willing to do. Even though he is management…you always feel like he is on your side and is ready to back you up and support you. All this…and he works in state government. What more can I say.

    • #3206568

      IT Managers

      by steven m. ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      I have worked for both types and prefer the IT Managers because if your customers have a complaint the Manager can tell them that they don’t know what they are talking about as a manager of IT whould probally have to say I will check it to it. The best Manager is the ones that can and will back up thier employees.

    • #3207406

      My situation

      by ericsaddress ·

      In reply to IT managers vs managers

      I currently report to a director who has no technical
      experience…literally. She is a computer user, but outside of that,
      stuff like AD, ipconfig, GPO, differential backup might as well be
      Klingon. Don’t get me wrong, she is a great person and director,
      but she tries too hard to have hands-on particpation in the IT
      side of the shop, not realizing that it can be a hinderance. It
      wouldn’t be bad if her hands-on involvement was to learn the
      technology, but it is more just to make the final decision without
      a full understanding of the technology.

      For example, she feels that I am taking security awareness and
      prevention “too seriously” because there has not been a major
      security issue within our department, but I try to explain to her
      that you don’t wait for something to happen and then react to it
      if you can avoid doing so. I spend most of my time
      translating “techanese” into “businessnese” and then trying to
      sell it.

      • #3208831

        Talking business speak

        by jamesrl ·

        In reply to My situation

        Trying talking to her not about the technicalities of the vulnerabilities, but of the business impact if you are hit with them.


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