Manage an IT Department

Type of Service: 
Management Consulting
Country: 
United States
Industry: 
Internet Services
Duration: 
1 year
Challenge: 

To manage the Information Technology department for an Internet and media services company. The department was initially composed of around 10 engineers, but the assignment was ultimately expanded to include overseeing the architectural vision of several IT departments in multiple offices, covering 45 engineers.

Being in the internet and media industry, the client was experiencing extremely rapid demands for services from many customers. The customers ranged from Fortune 500 large international companies to smaller but tech-savvy organizations. The IT department consisted of a large group of developers and a smaller group of system and network engineers. That department was tasked with providing technical solutions for the customer's internet initiatives.

The morale of the IT team was low, in large part due to the absence of disciplined processes for reacting to change across the entire company. More than most clients, the challenge of introducing discipline was compounded by the industry's very fast speed.

Solution: 

Over the course of the engagement, many initiatives were introduced by Systematic Computer Science to improve the efficiency of the IT department and the client as a whole.

  • Lead the development and implementation of company-wide cross-departmental processes for project management. This was a major step for the client. Some of the processes that were included: requirements gathering, producing technical designs, and developing code and testing it.
  • Build greater teamwork and cooperation by instituting weekly indepth technical meetings, anchored by presentations from the engineers on useful topics.
  • Restructure the career path options available to IT personnel within the company, and establish a clear path for specializations and promotions.
  • Apply the lessons of the 'One-Minute Manager' and institute dynamic goals for all IT employees, and use them for performance evaluations. This was a significant factor in improving morale.
Benefits: 

The development and rollout of cross-departmental processes was a significant positive undertaking. The IT department took a strong step forward in organizing how it worked, and projects became 'repeatable' based on the new methodology. As any seasoned IT professional knows, having repeatable processes is the difference between chaos and control (in fact, repeatable processes are the main initial goal for the Capability Maturity Model).
The morale of the IT department improved significantly as a result of the human resources initiatives introduced by Systematic Computer Science. Engineers had a clear idea of their career progression long-term, and their dynamic goals provided good short-term direction.
The IT department also enjoyed a flowering of sorts via the 'burden' of technical presentations. While initially viewed with skepticism and/or nervousness, the team quickly found value in researching relevant topics and presenting them to each other. The discussions were an extremely useful way for the team to begin to appreciate each other, and learn from one another naturally.