"During an economic downturn, it becomes more important than ever for IT people's plates to be very full," he says. "If you've been putting off a big project for a while because you were reluctant to spend the hours it takes to get it done, then now is the time to tackle it. Show the company there's no hint of sloth in your IT department and you're willing to put in the long hours just to save the company money in the long haul."
IT sin No. 5. In-house envy
Fiefdoms, kingdoms, and silos have a tendency to develop over time as a company matures, says author DeLuccia. In other words, people stop sharing information and instead spend most of their time protecting their own turf and envying the status or budgets of others. The result? Duplication, lack of transparency, and culture-destroying politics that can cripple an organization, he says.
DeLuccia himself was exposed to the classic example of IT envy when he worked with a global-industrial construction equipment maker. A manager who ran a substantial part of the company's IT operations continuously complained that other divisions had better metrics and superior funding.
"It was his mantra: 'I can't do this because they have a bigger budget, and this is why our operations are failing,'" DeLuccia says.
A third-party audit revealed that the manager's group was continually missing its service-level agreements and not operating as a proper business unit. As a result, the IT manager was let go, and his team was dismantled, DeLuccia says.
"Envy was his downfall," he says. "Instead of being more proactive and saying, 'Here's what we need to do to fix these problems,' he focused all of his attention on what other people had."
SolarWinds' Stevens says similar things happen in many IT organizations, both large and small.
"IT managers are always looking to take responsibility from other IT people in the organization," he says. "The infrastructure guy wants to manage servers; the server guy wants to also be the database administrator. They continually seek more and more responsibility to the point where they're no longer working for the organization; they're just working to take each others' jobs."
IT sin No. 6: Wrath management
Call it management by intimidation. But losing one's head at high volume is no way for an IT manager to motivate his or her troops.
"I think CIO wrath is probably the most damaging of the sins," says Marcelo Schnettler. "They demoralize and often foster the growth of a 'cover your ass' mentality within an IT department that leads to finger-pointing and a lack of collaboration."
Schnettler, who served under six CIOs in six years at various companies, says almost all of them blew up in public at one time or another. Once during a large systems outage, a CIO charged into the cubicle of the person he thought was responsible and chewed him out using language that would curl a sailor's ears, he says. "When he was done, he looked over the cubicles and said, 'Now who am I going to rip a new ***hole next?'"
Inexperienced or immature IT managers throw temper tantrums when they're forced to admit that computers are not magic and that they should have listened to steadier heads when they had the chance, notes Bill Horne, a computer and networking consultant who has worked for many years in the IT and engineering departments of one of the nation's largest telcos.