The 7 deadly sins of IT management

Beware these common IT transgressions before you inadvertently sabotage your company's tech agenda

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"When we got up to leave on Friday evening, he went off like Vesuvius," Horne continues. "Threw a tantrum and screamed at us that we had to work through the entire weekend to make our deadline. The union workers literally laughed in his face and said, 'Take it up with the stop steward. See you on Monday.' He thought he could simply order us to solve the problem."

Bottom line: That deadline was missed -- but the manager wasn't when he was transferred seven months later to a less demanding position.

IT sin No. 7: Pride creep
Pride manifests as sin when it blinds IT managers into thinking they know everything they need to know -- even when they know very little about a given topic.

"Pride implies a state of completion and achievement," says DeLuccia. "It exposes an organization more to competitors and nastier threats than any other form of sin."

The arrogance and overconfidence that stem from pride can cost an organization millions, notes Asuret's Krigsman.

"There was this multibillion-dollar manufacturer with a huge distribution channel," he says. "Rather than license an off-the-shelf ERP system, they built their own. The problem was that the CIO didn't believe in QA. So they literally rolled it out to hundreds of retail locations without any testing. He wasn't doing it to intentionally hurt people. He did it simply because he had the power to do it."

After pouring millions of dollars down the drain, the project was ultimately canceled, and project team members were laid off, Krigsman adds.

One of the biggest problems is tech managers who think they're capable of doing something themselves when really they aren't, says IT Now's Vickers.

"We've gone into companies talking about the importance of managed backups. They say it's not a problem," Vickers says. "When we go look, we find no RAID systems and no backups for the past three months. Backup is just something people are doing on their own."

The solution: generous doses of humility and the manager's willingness to accept responsibility for their failings, says Sparxent's Taylor.

"IT people need to swallow their pride and be more open about mistakes they've made in the past," he says. "The intelligent IT director needs to get lined up on the side of the CEO and the CFO. The best way to do this is to be very open about IT successes -- and failures. It does indeed take swallowing some pride, but admitting that projects in the past failed to return on the investment will help business owners realize the IT director cares about driving the overall success of the business."

Contributing editor Dan Tynan once was lost but now is found -- mostly at his blogs, Culture Crash and Tynan on Tech.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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