IT Manager's Handbook: Getting your new job done / Edition 3

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Making the move from an IT technician or team member to management is one of the most difficult career steps you’ll face. Help from management and targeted training can be hard to come by - and your success depends on your ability to adapt to your new role almost overnight. You might have years of experience in the trenches, but you’ll quickly find that managing a team, setting budgets, and creating a winning strategy for the first time can be daunting tasks.

Now in its third edition, IT Manager’s Handbook provides a practical reference that you will return to again and again in an ever-changing corporate environment where the demands on IT continue to increase. Make your first 100 days really count with the fundamental principles and core concepts critical to your success as a new IT Manager. The book also includes discusses how to develop an overall IT strategy as well as demonstrate the value of IT to the company.

In this book, you’ll learn how to:

  • Manage your enterprise’s new level of connectivity with a NEW chapter covering social media, handheld devices, and more
  • Implement and optimize cloud services to provide a better experience for your mobile and virtual workforce at a lower cost to your bottom line
  • Integrate mobile applications into your company’s strategy
  • Manage the money, including topics such as department budgets and leasing versus buying
  • Work with your "customers", whomever those might be for your IT shop
  • Hire, train, and manage your team and their projects so that you come in on time and budget
  • Secure your systems to face some of today's most challenging security challenges
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In a nutshell, the Handbook educates the reader on nearly every aspect of IT. Every IT manager needs to move aside a few technical manuals to make room for Holtsnider & Jaffe’s 2nd Edition, the IT Manager's Handbook. They have captured the role of every IT Leader and their book should be mandatory for anyone moving into this position."-Jim Chilton, Vice President and CIO, SolidWorks Corporation

"Had this book been available 10 years ago, it would have eased my transition from a purely technical role to a technology management role. Even after a number of years as an IT Manager, I found helpful insights in the first edition of this book and this second edition has added an expanded base of topics to help any new manager succeed." —Brian McMann, Director, IT Systems, New Global Telecom

"This book is a must-read for a new IT Manager. It is comprehensive guide to assist the new manager perform the wide variety of job tasks within the organization that s/he will be facing. For the seasoned IT Manager/CIO, much of the information presented they may already know, but there are sections that provide relevant information and excellent advice to address current issues. For both types of readers, excellent and useful references and resources are included at the end of each Chapter."—Mark Landmann, Partner, Infusion Group LLC

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780124159495
  • Publisher: Elsevier Science
  • Publication date: 3/7/2012
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 658,457
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill Holtsnider is an experienced writer, educator, and software professional with more than 26 years of experience working in the computer industry. His IT expertise includes working in such diverse areas as stock portfolio management, identity management, and software development. He is the author of six books and a wide range of technical and marketing documentation.

Brian D. Jaffe is a seasoned veteran in the IT community. As an IT professional, he has worked for several Fortune 500 companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Time Warner, Philip Morris, and The Interpublic Group of Companies. Currently he is Senior Vice President for Global IT at McCann Worldgroup in New York City, one of the country’s leading advertising agencies. His articles have appeared in Computerworld, InfoWorld, eWeek, and The New York Times.

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Read an Excerpt

IT Manager's Handbook

Getting your new job done
By Bill Holtsnider Brian D. Jaffe

Morgan Kaufmann

Copyright © 2012 William Holtsnider & Brian D. Jaffe
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-12-391405-7

Chapter One

The Role of an IT Manager

The manager is the dynamic, life-giving element in every business. Peter Drucker


1.1 Just What Does an IT Manager Do? 2 1.2 Managers in General 3 1.3 The Strategic Value of the IT Department 8 1.4 Developing an IT Strategy 10 1.5 Leadership versus Management 13 1.6 Starting Your New Job 14 1.7 The First 100 Days 20 1.8 Two IT Departments—What Happens if Your Company Merges with Another? 27 1.9 Further References 28

Common issues and questions about IT Managers include:

• What does an IT Manager actually do?

• Did you recently receive a promotion into that job with no prior training?

• Are you glad you got the job?

• Do you eventually want to become one?

Before we help you answer those questions, we discuss the definition and the pros and cons of being a manager. Clearly management as a career path is well suited for some people, but not for everyone. Is it right for you?

IT Managers need to wear a lot of hats. Different parts of the organization will have different expectations of this position, and you'll have to address them all. Finance expects you to manage costs. Sales and Marketing will want to see IT help generate revenue. The auditors are looking over your shoulder. Your staff is looking for guidance, career development, and a work-life balance. The executive traveling to Dubai wants to know if his cell phone will work there, and how to use the hotel's Wi-Fi. And the administrative assistant down the hall just wants her printer to stop smudging. This chapter examines the varied roles and responsibilities of an IT Manager.


IT Managers now have many responsibilities (data centers, staff management, telecommunications, servers, applications, workstations, websites, mobile access and devices, user support, regulatory compliance, vendor management, disaster recovery, etc.) and work with all the departments (accounting, human resources, marketing, sales, distribution, facilities, legal, etc.) within a company or organization.

This is both the good and the bad news. At some companies, an IT Manager can have direct influence on the strategic direction of the company, suggesting and helping implement web initiatives, for example. In other companies, an IT Manager is really only a technician, software developer, or network engineer. And to complicate things even further, those definitions change quickly over time. Yesterday's network engineer might become today's website consultant.

Why All That Change and Flexibility Is Good

The position of IT Manager can be very challenging. It is extremely varied in scope, allows you to come in contact with a large portion of your company, provides you with opportunities to directly affect the overall direction of your organization, and is very valuable professional experience to acquire. In addition, you get to increase your range of experience; you are forced to (and get to) keep up with the latest changes in technology (so your skill set will always be in demand) and your network of contacts gets large.

As important as all that is, there is an added bonus: In recent years, IT has taken on a strategic value in the roles companies play in the new economy. Information Technology is now a critical component of many companies and the U.S. economy. In the 2010–2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook released by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, "computer and mathematical science occupations ... are expected to grow more than twice as fast as the average for all occupations in the economy ... driven by the continuing need for businesses, government agencies, and other organizations to adopt and utilize the latest technologies."

And for IT Managers, the report says, "faster than average employment growth is expected ... [and] job prospects should be excellent." Specifically the report projects employment of computer and information systems managers to grow 17 percent over the 2008–2018 decade, which is faster than the average for all occupations. New uses for "technology in the workplace will continue to drive demand for workers, fueling the need for more managers." Not only is your job interesting and rewarding, it is also very important and increasingly in demand. Dependence on technology is only growing, and issues such as security, revenue generation, improved productivity, and compliance are making IT more visible throughout the organization. What more could you ask for?

Why All That Change and Flexibility Is Bad

However, being an IT Manager is a difficult, often thankless, task. Like many service jobs, if you do it superbly, most people do not notice. Mess up and they scream. In addition, responsibilities of the job differ radically from company to company. Some companies actually have many IT Managers and several layers of management. At others (although this number is shrinking) an IT Manager is a part-time role someone fills while doing their "real" job.

In addition, the role of an IT Manager can often vary widely within the same organization, depending on who is making the decisions at the time. The "Western Region Sales Manager" knows what his role is—get more sales as soon as possible in a specific area—and that is not going to vary much from company to company. An IT Manager, however, can mean many things to many people, and the job changes as technology and needs advance and evolve.

Addressing all these needs and people can mean that time for "extras" such as sleep and meals have to be sacrificed. As a manager, everyone else's crises become yours. People (your users, your management, your staff, etc.) demand quick resolutions to problems and look to you to fix them. In this book, we discuss in detail the positive and negative elements of the key components of being an IT Manager. If a process is littered with political landmines (budgeting, for example), we'll warn you about it; if a process has hidden perks (being an unofficial project manager for a project can put you in contact with many different people at many different layers of the organization), we'll tell you that, too. But before you decide if you should be an IT Manager, read the next section to determine if you want to be a manager at all.


Before you decide whether you want to become an IT Manager, you should decide whether you want to become a manager at all. One method of evaluating a potential career is to read books or take introductory classes about how to do it; sometimes, reading a book about a subject will make you realize you do not want to pursue that particular career (see Table 1.1).

Like most topics in this book, we present you with both the positive and the negative aspects of being a manager. We share our experiences and those of other managers we know; managers with over 100 years of combined experience contributed ideas to the following section.

Of course, the comments in this section are extremely subjective. Both positive and negative comments about such a broad topic ("management") are bound to be generalizations that can easily be counter-argued. So take each comment, idea, and suggestion as something to be considered, evaluated, and adapted; perhaps it applies to your experience and perhaps not.

Definition of a Manager

Management has been defined as "assembling the resources to achieve a mutually agreed upon objective" (G. Puziak, 2005) or as "getting things done through other people" (AMA President, 1980). A more mundane dictionary definition is the "authoritative control over the affairs of others." All three views are commonly held beliefs.

Note the radical difference between the definitions: the first two have a sense of collaboration ("mutually agreed upon" and "through"), whereas the last one defines management as "control." As always, flexibility is the key.

Styles of Management

These definitions reflect the two typical management structures American companies now employ:

• Command and Control

• Collaboration

These styles have many different names: "authoritarian" and "participative," or "military" and "worker responsibility."

Few companies, or individuals, are either purely one type or another, of course, but most are generally one kind or another. To succeed as a manager, it's best if you determine which type of management your company embraces. Also, determine which type of manager you want to become. Regardless of your answer, being flexible and adaptable will be a critical factor. While one type of style may work well in one situation, a different set of circumstances could call for an entirely different approach.

Command and Control

Based on classic military structure, this style was popular for much of American corporate history. You direct your employees and your boss directs you. In its extreme, this style doesn't allow for disagreement or input from subordinates. It emphasizes clear commands, and rewards those that follow these commands virtually without question.

This style has lost popularity and is most familiar to the older generations (see the section "Generational Issues at Work" in Chapter 2, Managing Your IT Team, on page 57). While some environments still operate under this style, many corporations are revisiting their commitment to such a rigid method of management. While execution of tasks under command and control systems is often faster and costs less, it also often leads to poor decisions and less-than-ideal results, and ends up costing more over the long term. In addition, employees under this system are often unhappy because they exercise little control in their jobs. It is also hard to know what value is lost in an environment where collaboration and teamwork are absent and discouraged.


This style of management has been growing in popularity and use for the past few decades. In a collaborative environment, all levels of the corporate organization are actively involved in the execution of business. It doesn't necessarily mean dock workers make decisions on plant relocations (although assembly-line workers are now much more involved in decisions that affect them than they ever have been). But it does mean that many workers who are affected or who can contribute to decisions are now asked to be involved—regardless of where they stand in the company hierarchy.

The goals of collaboration are better and more cost-effective decisions because the people affected by those decisions are involved in making them, with a very significant added benefit of increased personal satisfaction for workers. The negatives are summarized by that old adage "paralysis by analysis." When this happens, too many people involved in a decision don't make the decision and it bogs down.

Within the collaboration mode, there are also two extremes: managers who micromanage—they are involved in every decision and consult as many people as possible on even the smallest of issues—and managers who are so distant they provide no guidance or feedback to their team and ignore even the most pressing of issues.

In some companies, the collaborative culture has been fully embraced at the highest levels of the organization. Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel; Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City; and Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder and CEO of Facebook chose to work at desks in open environments, as opposed to the traditional executive perk of having their own executive office.


Excerpted from IT Manager's Handbook by Bill Holtsnider Brian D. Jaffe Copyright © 2012 by William Holtsnider & Brian D. Jaffe. Excerpted by permission of Morgan Kaufmann. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Role of an IT Manager

Chapter 2: Managing Your IT Team

Chapter 3: Staffing Your IT Team

Chapter 4: Project Management

Chapter 5: Changing Companies

Chapter 6: Budgeting

Chapter 7: Security and Compliance, including Disaster Recovery

Chapter 8: Getting Started with the Technical Environment

Chapter 9: Working with Users

Chapter 10: Web 2.0, mobile, tablets, cloud, social media, etc.

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  • Posted May 24, 2012


    Are you a technical professional who is eager to join the ranks of management? If you are, then this book is for you! Authors Bill Holtsnider and Brian D. Jaffe, have done an outstanding job of writing a third edition of a book that introduces you to the many key concepts you will face as a new Information Technology Manager. Holtsnider and Jaffe, begin with a very brief introduction that will help a wide range of technical professionals, some of whom have been suddenly thrust into a managerial role, understand the role of an IT Manager, why it’s so important and how integral it is to a company. In addition, the authors discuss how to keep your employees focused and trained; as well as, generational issues at work that you might face. They then discuss the issues and challenges you’ll face and offer some concrete ideas for solving them. The authors then, discuss the five key phases to a project; what to do if/when the project gets off track; and, dealing with non-IT departments on a project. They continue by discussing the main classifications of software. In addition, the authors show you how to get a foundation in managing a budget, spending, leasing versus buying, etc. They then show you how to get an understanding of what is in your IT environment, and how it operates and connects to other environments. The authors then present detailed information on compliance issues; as well as, information about different methodologies being adopted by various organizations to help ensure compliance. Next, they describe how to define the scope of the problem, how to create a disaster recovery plan; as well as, the hidden benefits of good disaster recovery planning. The authors continue by discussing the complexities of dealing with users on another continent, and users down the hall from you using their own personal devices on your network. Finally, they discuss the challenges of the new hyper-connected workplace. Much of the material in this most excellent book will be familiar to experienced IT Managers. Perhaps more importantly, this book was written to help you identify, deal with, and tell you where to look for further assistance on many of the key issues that are suddenly facing you as a new IT Manager.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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