IT’s The Same Old STuff Each Day. Not Really.
Daily work is always different for an IT leader. No two days are alike and that’s what makes it fun sometimes and stressful other times. There are dozens of recurring daily tasks, but we’ll just cover 5 in this article.
The email that I absolutely love to get is the Purchase Request. Everything always runs smoothly. IT gets exactly what they want, finance approves it no questions asked and purchasing creates that Purchase Order promptly. I hope you can sense the sarcasm. I get a minimum of five PR’s each day and it’s an absolute joy.
Aside from regular meetings, if your company is owned by a Private Equity group, you’ll be in quite a few board meetings. This is usually the time that you update the board members on the various IT projects that your organization is working on. That’s in conjunction with the various sales and finance presentations that occur during that time. Before you get to the board meeting, you have to prepare for the board meeting. That means preparing your slides and sending them off to the CEO so that they can review them and make sure that they fit within the current scope of discussion.
Once you’re there, it’s usually a relaxed environment, where you show the board members where their investment is being spent. Board meetings can be stressful for some, but I find them pretty enjoyable.
This is something that’s taken seriously and is usually a daily topic of discussion. Whether it’s with System Administrators, Leadership within the company, the Private Equity company, or third party auditors, your day will always see CyberSecurity as a topic. Some examples include employee training, simulating phishing attacks, executing penetration testing, seeing how we can optimize the infrastructure to be more secure, and looking for vulnerabilities within the code, outdated firmware, and even reviewing all third-party software and hardware that the company uses.
Third-party software/hardware companies must be watched carefully especially when a CyberSecurity outbreak occurs. Hopefully the patches are already in place or at least implemented soon thereafter. CyberSecurity is a big deal in any organization. If you’re thinking it’s not, it’s because you haven’t been hacked yet.
Whenever you bring new software into the company, it’s up to you to train the individuals on how to use it (most of the time). Let’s say that you’re aggregating data across the various branches and you want to incorporate and use that data to perform business intelligence on it with a software like Tableau or Phocas. Even though you won’t be doing the analysis, it’s up to you and your team to train the employees that will. Most of the times the IT team gets together and figures out who’s going to lead the project. It’s then up to that individual to educate themselves on the software and train others.
I’ll help orchestrate the meetings, do the introduction, showcase what’s been implemented so far, and then let the lead take over and get into the details with the individuals that they’re training. This portion requires a lot of patience since most people don’t like change. They have their excel sheets with their formulas already there. Why would they want to try something different? This is where you come in and smooth out any tension so that they can incorporate the software into their daily lives. After some time, they realize that it’s actually better than what they’ve been doing.
This is quite frequently ignored by IT leaders. Having quality project managers is an absolute necessity since they can make or break your capacity planning endeavor. Once capacity is understood, then it’s usually your responsibility to communicate to other leaders the projects that you have going on simultaneously and help prioritize them. Each person’s project is of course their top priority, however communicating with them and showing them where they fit in the project timeline usually works out quite well.
Instead of just showing a Gantt chart, where most people just ignore them, I like to use Miro boards and make it more colorful. Each project showcases milestones and shows the members of the team that are part of that project. This way they know exactly when the resources will be available for their project.
As you might have guessed, this requires some serious organization. See how I stay organized.