Dirty IT job No. 4: Interdepartmental peace negotiator
Looking for self-starter skilled at moderating tech disputes between warring factions within the same company or between company and its client. Must possess experience in ego-stroking, manipulative massage, and hand-to-hand combat.
Cats and dogs, Democrats and Republicans, Martians and Venutians -- they're downright chummy compared to warring departments within many enterprises. Unfortunately, at some point they've got to pull together for the good of the company. That's when you call in the negotiator to smooth ruffled feathers and break up the fights.
[ Dish your interdepartmental dirt on the QT to Off the Record ]
This comes up a lot when different sides of the organization need to collaborate on, say, a company wiki, intranet, or portal, says Syrinx's Gelina. Somebody's got to play the heavy -- what Gelina calls the "Portal Majority Whip" -- to keep everyone on the same page, following the same rules.
"If someone is not riding herd on this, renegade elements will crop up and threaten the stability and usability of the portal," Gelina explains.
The problem? "The IT people want centralized control, while the typical users want to move forward at the speed of business without restrictions," Gelina says. "They don't want to have to wait for IT to decide something before they can move. Satisfying those two camps can be tough."
But this battle isn't always geeks against suits; sometimes it's geeks vs. geeks. Dimension Data's Domich likens the job to herding kittens.
"The Cat Herder has to keep multiple architect-level technologists focused on a common cause to a common problem," Domich says. "Even if it seems redundant at times, it’s essential to have systems -- or, in this case, people -- in place to keep technology architects on schedule."
Domich adds, "IT project managers are gluttons for punishment." As if we didn't know.