A few things I learned heading IT

I’ve been almost 4 years in charge of the IT department in a mid-size development company, and these are some of the things I learned along the way…

Prioritize.

You can’t do it all. You have a billion things to do, but you aren’t gonna do them all. You have to prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. And you will be in short of resources: maybe lack of people, probably lack of budget, surely lack of time. But hey! You learn to do the best that you can with what you have.

I’ve found that the Eisenhower matrix is of great value helping you (at least unconsciously) decide what to do with a task, depending on the level of importance and urgency.

Eisenhower Matrix

Be creative.

You aren’t going to do everything the way you’d like to, but that’s OK. It’s your opportunity to exploit your creativity, let ideas flow and explore new (be it radical or boring) solutions:

  • Some access point broke and you can’t buy new ones until next month? Maybe you can re-use some old router hanging around…

It’s relatively easy to solve problems with unlimited resources… the tricky (and fun) part is to do it with (very) limited ones!

Keep calm.

There are going to be fires. Trust me. How often depends on the size and quality of infrastructure you manage, and how much time you have or dedicate to maintenance and preventive measures. But every now and then, something is going to catch fire (not literally, i hope).

So it’s not a matter of if, but when. And when it does, you’ll have to analyze causses, make decissions and take action. Quickly. And to do that, is better if you stay calm, with a cold head and in your best mental state, instead of going nuts, running all over the office and screaming non-sense.

Be responsible.

Don’t blame others for the things you’re responsible. If you have people in charge, this become twice as important: you are responsible for them, and the mistakes they could (and will) make. To err is human, of course, but instead of cursing your team and finger-pointing the guilty, take every unfortunate event as an opportunity to both learn about the issue, the reasons and the fix, and to improve your communication and supervision skills, along with your internal procedures and documentation.

Offload.

Remember point 1? You can’t do it all. But, you can do two things, IMHO:

  • delegate. If you can, of course, is always a good option count with someone else. Yes, i know, we all like to do our job ourselves (‘cause we are the best in the universe to make it, right?) but loose some of that spirit, and trust in your partners. If they don’t know how to do it, teach them once, and make yourself some “free” time in the future.
  • learn to say no. There are important things, and not so important. With time (and maybe help of your bosses and colleagues) you’ll improve your judge to differentiate the important things from the rest. Needless to say, focus on the importants, and decline or postpone the others.

Un porteño del Interior. Amante de la tecnología, el rock nacional y el dulce de leche.

Un porteño del Interior. Amante de la tecnología, el rock nacional y el dulce de leche.