IT Governance

Great Managers Make the Difference in ITSM

Not completely understanding a concept like lean, agile, H2H, DevOps, or SIAM doesn’t mean the IT pro is not proficient. Some of the best mentors of the past simply took these methods for granted without structure and formal labeling. At his website, IT consultant Barclay Rae recounts the accomplishments of a former mentor who exemplified the ideal IT manager.

Creating Culture

According to Rae, David Smith was a manager who “got it.” What does that mean – to “get it?” And how can this apply to the practice of IT governance? Rae says that David was one who always understood the benefits of creating a positive work environment. He took interest in developing those around him:

He would do a daily walk around the office and his 250 staff and randomly ask people ‘what do they do?’ – usually getting a bemused ‘eh, systems programmer..’ response. To this he’d reply ‘you sell insurance’ (we worked in a mutual Life assurance organisation).The message was clear – we don’t ‘work in IT’, we deliver financial security to people – who pay our salary. This has always stuck with me as a real challenge in IT and I’ve never needed standards or frameworks to appreciate it… His focus was on getting the right result for the customer, and that was his starting point, not how ‘IT’ works.

Purportedly he was the model manager – a people person ready to develop those around him, business-focused with an eye for contracts and negotiation, and firm but fair. In ITSM, it is the idea of “defining and living the culture” that really sets a successful outfit apart from the rest. And a penchant for developing people rather than just “doing” their work is what sets the ideal manager apart.

Embedding Values

But the ideal in ITSM (if it is truly the ideal) gets embedded in processes, into the fiber of the institution, so that when great individuals leave, the same good practices continue. That’s not to say the people are automatons who can be programmed. Great individuals, managers or no, deserve to be celebrated along with the cultures they create.

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