5 May 2009

Advanced IT Management

By Andrew Clifford

What does advanced IT management look like?

In IT, we build increasingly sophisticated solutions, and tend to equate "advanced" with "technologically sophisticated".

I recently saw the phrase "Advanced IT Management", and it conjured up images of technologically sophisticated tools, with really clever Web 2.0 interfaces and web services and Ajax and things like that.

I kicked myself for falling into this mental trap. Just because we are in the business of IT, it does not follow that we can only improve management by improving technology. We can make big advances in management that are not technologically sophisticated at all.

These advances go further than following our current methods better. Of course we can apply project controls more diligently, seek out good design patterns, and refine our service delivery processes. But in the work I do, I see some step changes we can make, some real advances, especially in the long-term management of our IT.

We can:

Taken together, these are a significant advance, and nothing to do with sophisticated technology.

I saw the phrase "Advanced IT Management" when we were playing around with ideas for our new Metrici website. We put it on the site as some filler words, to try out layout. We laughed at ourselves for such a bold claim. We do not use advanced sophisticated technology.

But then we realised that we were not being unreasonably bold. The areas in which we specialise are not technologically sophisticated, but they do pursue all the advances listed above. We can, and should, describe them as advanced.

Perhaps one of the reasons we find IT management hard is that we look for improvements in the wrong places. For advances in IT management, we should not look for advanced IT, but look more closely at management itself, and what we need to change to drive it forward.