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The 6 Deadly “I”s of IT Managers

Using the UK's pilot training “Error Proneness” list, this entertaining article take a look at the worst qualities that IT managers can have – qualities that lead, ultimately, to project failures. The list includes: Impatience, Impulsiveness, Invulnerability, Insecurity, Indecision, and “I know best” The list helps explain attitudes that are not conducive to successful outcomes when implementing ITIL, utilizing ITSM, or general IT project work. The article – written by James Finister – explains his own experiences with each of the 6 deadly “I”s, beginning with Impatience: I'm always amazed how many times organisations ring me up saying they want an ITIL assessment and “Your consultant has to be able to start next week” Lets think this one through. You've been delivering sub standard ITSM for years (for such calls inevitably come from such organisations) but suddenly you must have a report next week? That sounds like part of a well thought out strategy. Not. And of course once any ITSM improvement initiative is underway these same organisations will expect instant results even though you've spent ages explaining to them that cultural change doesn't happen overnight. Because the impatient organinsation doesn't see those instant results they'll often change direction before an initiative has had a chance to work. In this they resemble the impulsive organsiation. This is dangerous in two ways: first, it creates an environment on the customer side (in this case) that results will be instantaneous and easy – resulting in both a failure to meet those goals and a disappointment in the short-term result. Secondly, the provider (again, in this case) can be pushed into rushing through the process of implementing ITIL methodology, not performing essential elements correctly or skipping them altogether. While there is certainly a good reason for trying to move as quickly as possible in certain elements within IT, ITIL requires a more steady hand and a team that is willing to take its time in seeing the benefits. What concerns Finister the most is the mindset of Invulnerability: the stereotypical thought process of “I have been here so long/know so many secrets that nobody can get rid of me”. This can lead to fraud in the worst sense, and certainly “spills into the value…of ITSM”. This also leads to entire IT departments who believe they don't need to enforce ITSM well because there is simply nobody else in the company who can do it – oftentimes Finister has seen groups with this mindset become outsourced and out of a job. The list provides a great way of determining just where you and your fellow team mates fall on the deadly “I”s – a good start to identifying areas that the team can strengthen or mitigate.

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