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Should a one person IT Department be in on Management Team Meetings?

By j287a13DSS ·
Our organization has recently restructured and as a result the IT person is now supervised directly by the director of the agency. The Management team consists of each Departments supervisor, the Director and another person who acts as the personnel officer and adminstrative assistant. My Question is do you think that the IT person should be at those meetings? Or just hope to get representation through the director? What is the best way to approach this? Any tips or advice would be appreciated.

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Not Yes, but Heck Yes!

by dksmith In reply to Should a one person IT De ...

If the decisions made in the meetings that would affect the duties and priorities of the one-man-band, then that person should be represented in that meeting directly, not by proxy.

Period. There should not be a discussion about this.

DKS

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A question of perspective

by Oldefar In reply to Should a one person IT De ...

I don't know what your agency does, but the role of IT in it should be that of supporting the agency objectives and business or function requirements. The primary purpose of IT at that meetings would be to understand those objectives and requirements and identify where technology tools can be applied to better enable achieving those goals. The secondary purpose would be to clarify misconceptions held by the others of how specific technologies would or would not support them.

If you are the type of individual who focuses on technology, you probably don't belong in the meeting. For example, if the Director were to state that he wants the agency to use email to interact between departments and you begin thinking about what mail services to purchase, you are not adding value to the discussion. However, if you are inclined to probe his statement to find out what he means by interaction, letting the email comment slide as not relevant to a solution yet until the objective and requirements are known, then you can add great value to the meeting.

As for how to get included, the roadblocks are that the others will feel your knowledge may take away their sense of security and prestige. Overcome this by focusing all conversations with them on their knowledge of the agency functions and requirements so that you can better support them. In short, stroke their egos and they will like having you around and will invite you to their meetings.

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As a simple answer YES, depending on the company

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Should a one person IT De ...

You need to be at these meetings to allows the proper decissions to be made within the confines of you allocated budget. At the same time you need to be present at these meetings to make sure that no decissions are made that will prove impossible to impeliment as quite a few managment staff have unrealistic ideals about what the current technology is capable of.

So you need to be there to guide them in the right direction and nt allow them to make costly mistakes that are not only a waste of time but far more importantly a waste of money and work time for all members of the organisation who area affected.

At these meetings you need to concintrate on what is possible and what is within budgetry confins but not on the exact technical resources required, in other words you should only be there to guide the Senior Managment in what is possible and give an approximate costing of what will be involved in any changes impelmeted. This not only means the initial cost but the training involved in teaching all the affected staff to interact with the new technology, and some sought of time frame to impelment this technology.

Now for you're real problem you need to get a foot in the door to advise these people on what is possible and this will be harder to do that said as most people want to keep their existing power structure intact and are unwilling to let any of their perceived power be allocated to someone else. What you need to do is appear to perform an advisory role only and unless you have any managment experience that is what you should limit you're self to.

AS a "one Man Band" so to speak you are responsible for the decissions made at these meetings that affect the IT section and how it will opperate and interact with the rest of the business. But as a lowely Tech you are not susposed to be "Manigmant Material" you should be there only to carry out others directives so you have to start off by making you're self indespensible to the person who currently attends these meetings and make it known that you're input may save them money. The best way to do thsi is in a non confrintational way and allow the person responsible to think it was his/her idea in the first palce.

Stroke their ego and this is something that you will have to work at and continue working at as it is a never ending task. The whole idea is to be heard but never take the responsibility for any decissions that are made all you should ever concern you're self with is making it possible for magament to perform their requested options.

Of course you know best what you're job entails and just what is required by the business and depending on how large it is this also has a bearing on what you should do. If it is a very small business limit you're self to advising the section person on what is possible and what the potential cost is as you don't want to be wasting hours of you're time in meetings that have no affect on you're work. You already have enough to do without wasting hours per month in meetings that have no affect on you're direct responsibility.

This is something that you will have to think about as just forcing you're way into these meetings may prove counterproductive. You are in the best position to know what the company is currently doing and what it is capable of doing within budgetry limits. Obviously it is a big enough business to require an IT person but not big enough to need an entire IT section so you are sought of limited in you're options and what will be required.

Anyway have a good think about what is required and talk it over with the person who currently representy you're section and if necessary make the suggestion that it may prove invaluable if you where to attend these meetings when they impact on you're section but do this in such a way as to make the person responsible think it was their decission.

Best of luck in this one.

Col

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Job Function

by TheChas In reply to Should a one person IT De ...

I'm going to go against the grain here.

How much of the IT persons time is spent as a true IT Administrator?

If over 50 percent of the job task is IT Administration, then they probably should be part of management meetings.

If over 75 percent of the job task is user support, then the IT person likely does not belong at the management meetings.

In all likelihood, the job is probably somewhere between those 2 extremes.

The next measure, is how much time is spent on projects that provide the data for upper level decisions?

For a small organization, unless the IT person has other management tasks, I would not expect them to be part of upper management meetings.

Without knowing the structure and goals of the agency, it is difficult to judge the impact of not having IT involved in upper level meetings.

Chas

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TheChas ...

by voldar In reply to Job Function

Sorry for coming here like this, head ahead, but let me point some facts I lived while I was in this position.
- IT department has to be very close to the "leading team" of the company - so that every "things to do" by the IT department don't become obsolete because of the lack of knowledge of the "leaders".
- It's right, it is very important WHICH/WHAT is the status of the IT person who participate to the management meetings. If it is just for "paperwork", I think he has no place there.
- If he is really a person that knows a little more (read much more) than computers and he is involved in the IT structure development, he HAS to be there, to make things happen, to establish starts and ends, to provide solutions etc.

I DID that for a while (3 years) - now I left for Canada and just arrived here, so, I don't know how things will evolve right now, but, my advice for every leader: get involved the IT in the business development or else you'll have a lot of time spent for nothing.

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You betcha!!

by billsingwdirect In reply to Should a one person IT De ...

As a person already in almost the same situation I find that it is imperative to be at the meetings. Your technical and logical approach will be helpful in planning and implementation of any expansions, changes of any sort that might impact what you do as an employee and Dir. of IT. Your E.D. should think more in a colloborative fashion and insist that you make those meetings. It can only enhance the agencies growth and outlook.

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