3 ways IT departments waste time and effort

Is your IT department efficient or have you recognized instances when your department wastes time?

Here are three ways many large IT organizations typically pour time and effort down the drain.

Micromanagement – In many IT departments, work items are managed down to the microscopic level, workload are prioritized and distributed down to each productive resource and cost estimates are compiled, according to John Wyss, director for product management at financial software company Intuit Inc.

This practice might be ideal for projects such as building an aircraft or a bridge where predictable progress and proper sequencing are critical, Wyss said. However, micromanagement can be “poison” for teams building software against a set of constraints.

Budget constraints – Among the most challenging constraints to a project, said Wyss, are those set by the budget.

All too often, the budget can be spent on process, tracking, and “lots of people debating whether to fix this bug or that – rather than just getting on with the work,” he said. Problems that arise from such a situation are often the result of bad project management.

Not having the right people in charge – Wyss said the real problem is poor strategy but in removing the power to make decisions from people doing the work.

For example, if IT engineers are in charge of what they are doing, they are allowed to work within the parameters of what they know, rather than within the confines of a template.


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No matter how well designed, templates tend to be inflexible, said Wyss. They end up forcing IT specialists to waste a lot of time to make their ideas fit the template.

He said it might be better to let IT professionals do the job first and report back later. The rationale being that as long as the desired results are achieved, details of how it was arrived at are “almost irrelevant.”

By giving those who know how to get their jobs done the reins, a leader is communicating faith in the abilities of the workers. This translates into better results and less waste, said Wyss.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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