The Art of IT Management - Practical Tools and Techniques

Robina Chatham

Published by






Reviewed by

Mark Hillary


8 out of 10

First it is worth pointing out what this book is not aiming to cover. Despite the title, it is not aiming to cover a complete and general picture of how to be a better IT manager. However, it certainly is aiming to be a practical guide for anyone recently promoted to their first IT management role, or a reader preparing for their first role in IT management.

With this focus in mind, the book succeeds. It opens with several solid chapters focused on tasks that a technical team member may well be unfamiliar with in their new management role, such as providing feedback, delegating tasks, and the issues of micro-management - always a tricky one for those promoted from within a technical team.

The book goes on to explore several areas of management that are critical for success, but are rarely experienced by the more junior team member. Good examples are the chapters that focus on how to manage change successfully and exert influence without abusing your new managerial power. Managing upwards and developing your own reputation within the business are also useful chapters that explore how you can be noticed within the hierarchy. It’s another classic mistake of the new IT manager to assume that delivering what the business needs will be praised - or even noticed.

Although practical throughout, the book concludes with a series of chapters that are focused more directly on helping the manager to immediately succeed. An initial 90-day plan is outlined to help the new IT manager determine what they need to deliver in the first three months on the job and other tools focused on time-management and developing Emotional Intelligence are outlined.

The one thing I found missing from this book relates directly to my own experience as an IT manager, the international nature of the modern manager. The index does not even include words such as ‘international’, ‘global’ or ‘social network’ and I feel that an additional one or two chapters could have been included to address the specific problems of managing virtual teams, especially when cultural differences, languages, and communication channels, compound the issues of distance and time zones.

Even a new IT manager may need to deal with a development team in India, a business analysis team located with the business sponsor, and a management team located elsewhere. If the book had included the international nature of modern IT management (and how best to cope with it) then it would have been perfect for the new manager. As it is I would still highly recommended the book and I’m sure the second edition could address this oversight.

Further information: BCS

January 2016