TechTuesday: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of IT Management

From the trenches of IT Management… By Madhavi Arsoor (Sr. Project Manager & Author of The LEAD IT)

When I started my career in IT, I was so inspired by all the managers around me. I wanted to be one among them. I wanted to be a leader in IT – leading teams to help solve real world problems with technology solutions.

Now that I am an IT leader, I see the nitty-gritty details of the job. It’s not as pretty as it seems from the outside. Below are my observations on the good, the bad and the ugly of management in IT.

The Good

A role in IT Management provides various opportunities and responsibilities to make a difference in the world by providing innovative technology solutions. The following are some of my observations that are the good of IT Management.

  1. You have the power and responsibility to build unique technology solutions that solve real world business problems.
  2. You get to work with different parts of the business and to learn various aspects of the business and to contribute to the business strategy and the decision making process.
  3. You have the opportunity to work with, lead and build high-performing teams in fast-paced environments. Working with such teams accelerates your own growth, as well as the growth and success of the team.
  4. As IT becomes more and more global by day, you get to work with people from different parts of the world, learn about their cultures and their way of work.
  5. You can help improve productivity and improve business processes through your IT know-how.

The Bad

As with any role, IT Management’s not all good. The following are some of my observations that can be tagged as the bad of IT Management.

  1. In this stressful role, you’re responsible for and are answerable to all the business counterparts when any of the IT systems fail.
  2. You have to deal with non-IT customers, users or business counter parts who often do not understand why and what IT tells them. Many people do not understand or comprehend IT challenges and it becomes challenging to explain in a way they’ll understand.
  3. It can be tough to be an IT manager in a non-IT organization (that is when the core business of the company is not IT). In such industries where IT is not the core business, the upper management may not recognize the importance of IT management needs or how to negotiate for their needs for support and systems.
  4. Now that IT is adopting global team structures, time management might become tougher when your team is spread across different time zones. This will lead to long work hours or the need to be available at off-peak hours (though most IT organizations are also adopting flexible work schedules, which reduces everyone’s stress.)

The Ugly

  1. Women are not always accepted as a manager by their team. Some team members might prefer a male leader.
  2. Everyone pushes back one another in management – and they push women more than they would push any male counterpart.
  3. It is a known fact that there are very few women in leadership positions in technology. Though it is getting better, the rate of growth for women into these leadership roles is low today. Only 5 percent of the top leadership positions in Fortune 500 companies are held by women, according to Pew Research Center.
  4. Women leaders are not always taken as seriously or not given larger project. You may be faced with senior leadership that underestimates you.

By having a strong strategy, consistency in expectations and leadership support, women leaders can overcome these setbacks and succeed at IT management positions. In spite of the drawbacks mentioned above, I enjoy working in IT Management. The good part of the role outweighs the bad and the ugly parts.

I learn and grow every day. I would not want to trade my role with anything else. If you aspire to be an IT leader and take an IT Management role, I strongly suggest you pursue it.


About the guest blogger: Madhavi Arsoor is an experienced IT professional and leader who has held various roles in IT and in Business. She specializes in business process improvement strategies in addition to IT Project and Program Management disciplines. She’s passionate about building leaders and bringing out the best in them. She blogs at www.TheLeadIT.com and provides tools, tips, techniques, current trends and insights from industry experts to help others take their career into IT Leadership.