IT Workers = Rodney Dangerfield?

I tell you we get no respect, right?  I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous – everyone hasn’t met me yet.  (Rodney was great, btw.)

But seriously, I totally understand the feeling that seems to be common in IT workers.  These days we are being squeezed to do much more with far less resources.  Often we are totally focused on acquiring hard skills just so we can keep up with the avalanche of new tech that comes out daily.  And let’s be honest with ourselves for just a second, we’re always looking to beef up our resumes and make ourselves as marketable as possible.  These things have the very serious potential side effect of putting us out of sync with the needs of the business.

I spent some time with an IT department today that was a living example of this.  They were very determined on the course of action that they decided was the best one.  They were obviously passionate about technology and felt these investments would make a hugely positive impact on the business as a whole.  See if this sounds familiar:  “This is just what we need to do.  I don’t care how you pay for it, we just need to do it.  We CAN’T roll out in phases, we NEED it all.”  I hear things like this and I think: Danger, Will Robinson.

Let’s break this down a bit: 

  1. You the technology worker can’t (or won’t) be writing the checks personally to cover the cost of whatever you are proposing.
  2. You will NOT be the sole decision maker for any kind of large project.  (At least I never have been.)
  3. Whatever new thing you think is going to turn your network into rainbows and unicorns MUST bring MORE value (basically increased revenue or decreased costs) to the business than will be plunked down to make it happen.

Hopefully these three statements will put things into perspective that technology can relate to a little better.  What it boils down to is you must play nice with others. You must know what the business wants and what it needs (different lists sometimes).  If you want to have a project funded, take the acronym ridden quote that your vendors gave you and translate it into what your business stands to gain from it.  Bend over backwards to forge the strongest bonds possible between technology and the decision makers.  Make sure that you know what is important to them and always remember to align your proposals to their strategies.

PS.  If you’re not being invited to the meetings where they ultimately decide on these matters, that’s a bad sign.  Trust me.