In this episode, we spoke with Amie Seisay about considerations organizations should have when building their IT teams. We had a great time exploring some of the reasons why, when it comes to strategy, communication, change management and other aspects of project implementation, having a diverse team is essential. We all agreed organizations really need more than developers and administrators to get things done. Training, communication and project management skills are fundamentally necessary in getting things done!
Executive sponsors and leaders who can drive progress
It’s very important to have someone whose job is to keep their eye on the target and drive progress. Product owners often excel at these roles. It’s best if this person is internal to the organization, so they can champion the project and reduce roadblocks. It’s vital that this person knows the processes to drive approvals, manage prioritizations and get things done.
IT teams need someone who understands tech and can compare technologies being proposed with business requirements. A good BA lays everything out for the tech implementation team and makes it effortless to knock out solutions quickly. Translations between “what I want” and “what is possible” are essential for everyone involved to find successful solution. A dev CAN be a BA, but we need realistic expectations about the time that BA work will take, and communication skills can outweigh tech knowledge in many cases.
You need someone with experience and good communication skills to help business users understand how to use technology. “SharePoint is never intuitive” –IT technologies in general seldom are, even if they seem simple to technologists. Training is about making sure people feel supported – not running a webinar or sending an email that will be quickly forgotten or discarded. Gamifaction (ex SharePoint Jeopardy, Kahoot and Poll Everywhere software tools) can help keep audiences engaged, and interactive end user trainings are a must. Different types of targeted training can help the workforce empower itself in the future as well. Making sure training target the right audience with the right experience an be very important, for instance – low level, basics; to power users, and users that may have or earn extra privileges.
There are people out there who have done “all the roles” but it’s demanding, overwhelming, and easy to burn out when you are given so much responsibility in the form of unrelated tasks. It’s very hard to focus if you’re the jack of all trades.
You can’t have single-person dependencies – it’s important to have multiple technologists on a project to help a variety of opinions. This ensures you have more brainpower to get through any obstacles that may come up, as well as makes certain your team does not get bogged down with many unrelated tasks.
Amie’s team has someone who’s job is to keep up with updates and new solutions. In the long term this saves tons of effort, as understanding what features are available or soon will be can prevent teams from having to go through development efforts only to find that a solution was already available by other means.
You NEED a consulting role – and you need to treat them like a consultant. They need to be able to give you constructive feedback and you need to be willing to listen. This is especially true for large ongoing projects- ideas need to be thought through to avoid pitfalls in the future.
It’s vital that the people on your team learn to work well together and that they maintain and seek out positive relationships in the organization. The more friends and champions IT teams have, the more people you have to help you grease the wheels of change management.
This was a really great episode and Amie brought a ton of great points and experience to the table! We look forward to having her back!