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What 1st Steps as New IT Manager Would You Take?

From a post I commented on in LinkedIn

You are assigned the position of IT Manager in a new company. You don’t know the business or the developers you’ll be managing. What are the first steps you would take?

A few additions on my part:
1) Look at the ‘written’ /published documentation (preferably 1st) of stated goals, visions etc. They may not be accurate, but someone wanted them at some point. Ideally you have time (ha) to incorporate this perspective as you ask others how they view the issues.

2) Being ‘new to the business’ may imply new to the industry. Find the top 3-6 periodicals for the industry. Read as much of the last 6 months to learn the jargon and issues coming down the road in the next 2-3 years. If you are not at the leading company in the industry, these will tend to indicate what needs to be done to be competitive in the near future.

3) Take a look at previous reviews for your developers. These indicate what previous perspectives were. Even if they are totally off base, the reviewed may still be battling the criticisms in those reviews. This also allows a point of reference for areas to keep an eye on what other staff may view as issues.

4) I would look to find what may be written about your customers – whether that is blogs, press releases or trade journal for external customers, or wiki’s, newsletters, blogs, annual reports for internal customers. What is written can be a starting point for conversations of how others perceive and understand the situation.

5) I suggest the SPIN approach to conversations –
– What is the Situation?
– What is the Problem(S) created by that situation?
– What is the Implication of the situation, the ‘So What’ of the situation?
– What is the Need of the situation, This lets you help set your priorities described in previous posts.

6) Keep a sense of humor – seldom is it that life or death, and your attitude can build far more bridges than the ‘perfect’ knowledge or a perfect plan written yesterday.

July 28, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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