Moving to Management

Matthew Moran / InformIT

Management of projects and people requires specialized skill and a certain degree of risk…

Moving into management typically means spending less time working directly with technology and honing those purely technical skills. For some technology professionals, this is a scary and difficult proposition.

However, for many, assuming a management position is the natural progression in their career. Developing the skills and attitudes necessary is critical. Even if you don’t want to take on an actual management role, the skills are vital to continued career growth.

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This chapter discusses the phenomenon of management and emphasizes skills and ideas that are necessary for the successful manager. The first thing to do, however, is to define management :

Management (noun)

  1. The act, manner, or practice of managing; handling, supervision, or control; management of a crisis; management of factory workers.

  2. The person or persons who control or direct a business or other enterprise.

  3. Skill in managing; executive ability.

What this definition lacks in creativity, it makes up for in accuracy. Quite simply, management is either the act of, the skill required, or the people who manage, direct, and supervise a process or organization. Whether you have a desire to move into management, the underlying principles should be well understood.

Good management is hard to come by and can be richly rewarded. This fact is critical and should give you pause as to why you should consider developing the organizational and leadership skills to manage both projects and people.

Bruce Tulgan, author of Winning the Talent Wars , studied the dynamic of management. He concluded that under-management was a “disease of epic proportions.”

In his research, Tulgan discovered that although organizations often create programs to engage the employee, they do little to engage the manager to engage the employee. What this means is that the idea is passed down to staff but has not been modeled and directed by management.

Good management requires a high-level combination of time and process management, leadership, and organizational insight. Typically, we are naturally proficient in one area and must work to develop the others.

I know that personally, leadership is my strong suit. The ability to motivate and drive ideas forward is a place I can hang my hat. However, I have, through notable failures, discovered that time and process management are equally important.

This chapter discusses each of these areas in relation to your IT career. The goal is for you to start developing those skills now. Whether you aspire to become a mid-level manager, a vice president, a chief information officer (CIO), or just better understand the management process, these skills can provide a huge boost to your overall value in an organization.

© 2008, InformIT

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