Building an information technology department follows the same process as building any business unit or department. The difference is that you, the manager/director, usually have a lot more technical knowledge and experience than the average manager/director.
Due Diligence Coming into a company, the first task in building an IT Department is assessing what's already in place. Through due diligence and inquiry, determine what funds are available in the budget, what expenditures are on the books, what physical inventory exists, what hardware is deployed, what software is used or required, what people are already in place in the IT department and their primary duties. Examine the network map and layout, in writing, everything that currently exists under the IT domain.
Assessment and Planning With all the known factors in writing, develop a plan for the IT Department with concrete goals, objectives and time frames. Assess the current skill sets in the department. Determine which skills need to be retained, which need to be retrained and documented until certain systems sunset (cease to be utilized), and which skills need to be developed or acquired.
Execute the Plan Follow the short and long term plans for the IT department. Acquire training for employees and recruit new employees with additional needed skills. Cross train employees when possible to provide back-up in case of absence or heavy workload.
Strengthen the Team Practice team building exercises. Meet with the team and do one-on-one meetings to inform and engage participation and motivation.
Reassess At the end of the year, or predetermined date, reassess all factors relevant to the IT Department and begin the process again to keep effectively and efficiently building the team.
Sherry Snider is a technical writer/editor specializing in instructional/educational material, hardware and software manuals and multimedia learning. Most of her work is published in government/training, corporate, and manufacturing industry materials. In addition to technical documentation, She contributes to online and print publications related to travel, technology, crafts and hobbies.