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Making Your Way Out of an IT Tornado

As an incoming risk manager assigned to work with an IT outfit, there’s a good chance your job will resemble that of a storm chaser more than a business professional. Sven Gerjets knows why. In an article for The Enterprise Project, Gerjets projects three extreme IT weather forecasts that are full of chaos and uncertainty, with tips for not getting blown away.

Three Disaster Scenarios

  1. Business is restructuring without consensus about changes to IT
  2. No platform direction for consolidating geographically dispersed technologies
  3. Business culture that does not conform to standard organizational power structures

First off, don’t panic. You can get oriented by locating the biggest problem that the customer or business partner currently faces and solve it head on. Don’t worry about solving all problems simultaneously or about pleasing every customer and stakeholder who comes your way. Remember that in an emergency situation you have to get people thinking constructively and must lead decisively. This will create the mindset necessary to get your department to safer ground.

One way to make the transition is to partner with a clear-headed decision-maker who stands out from the crowd. This is not necessarily the most effective employee in terms of performance, but rather the person who can give the group the direction they need to reduce the aimless spin and futility of the IT tornado. No matter what you do, be wary of applying too many phase-gates in a given scenario. Gating is certainly an effective way to contain processes until chaos can be resolved, but the presence of too many gates causes process paralysis or wasteful workarounds.

In an extreme IT situation, the risk manager must always understand that humans are simultaneously the greatest source of chaos and the greatest source of stability. What matters is how you assess the overall situation and bring a sense of direction, linking up various disparate efforts. Remember that a tornado is the combination of different winds, all moving in different directions. Find that single purpose, and align accordingly.

Read the original article at: https://enterprisersproject.com/article/2014/10/making-your-way-out-it-tornado

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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