In order to get to the position of an IT Manager, you will need to be an expert in one of the following areas. However, I believe to be an effective IT manager, you need awareness of all of these levels. I am a Chartered IT Professional which includes a breadth of knowledge test which shows that even the BCS expect us to have knowledge in areas outside of our key area of expertise.
- ITIL – Be well versed in ITIL terminology and language so that you understand best practice in the world of service management. I see lots of people with lots of experience of service but who are still not ITIL aware. I think this limits their ability to communicate and deliver against their ideas.
- Project Management Fundamentals – Whether it is PRINCE2, APM or PMI; you should be aware of the fundamentals of project management and be able to act as a stakeholder or sponsor of a project effectively even if you are not managing the project or process. Like ITIL, there is a lot of language that is used. A simple example is the difference between an Issue and a Risk. People’s descriptions of issues and risks (quite often called concerns or worries!) is based on their world view rather rather than a common definition.
- Agile Fundamentals – With Agile becoming more and more common, it is definitely worthwhile knowing what Agile is and how it can help you. It is often seen as the answer to all things which is definitely not the case. But I find there are a lot of people who consider themselves better than those around them just because they have worked somewhere where Agile was used across the board. For some reason, in these instances, it always seems to have worked really well.
- Architectural Fundamentals – What is the difference between a tactical and a strategic solution? What is a transition state? What is API led design? These are things that you need to know.
- Infrastructure Management – Less and less of infrastructure work now in IT is done with on-site data centres. Instead, most is cloud based with services being bought instead of hardware. However your organisation works, you need to understand IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and all versions of that.