In this HND employability and professional development Assignment report we would analyse these aspects using the case study on an IT manager of RHA solutions. First task would include enumerating the skills and competencies of an IT manager. We would also check the qualifications and responsibilities associated with an IT manager in RHA solutions. It will be followed by an evaluation on own development needs as an IT manager at RHA solutions. We would analyse the professional development plan for the IT manager emphasizing on the SWOT analysis. The effect of individual performance on the goals of organization would also be included. In the second task, we would talk about various ways of managing communications which can be used by an IT manager in different situations. We would also demonstrate various strategies of effective time management. Third task would include analysis on team dynamics, how different kinds of people come along and work as a team. We would also discuss the alternative and effective ways of completing certain tasks. The final task would be dedicated to effective management skills shown by an IT manager at the time of crisis. This would be analysed based on an example. Suppose, we need to train the end users after a software is built and we have lesser number of trainers available. We would analyse how the manager would react to it, and what could be the possible solutions and strategies to tackle the situation.
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TASK 1: Be able to take responsibility for own personal and professional development
1.1 Skills, competencies and responsibilities of an IT manager
As the IT manager of RHA solutions, one needs to have a definite set of skills and competencies in order to fulfil the job requirement the job effectively. In this section of the report, we would demonstrate the parameters of skills, competencies, responsibilities and qualifications of an IT manager for RHA solutions (Frenzel, 1992).
Good knowledge in handling technology based applications which are either machine specific or web-based.
An experience of at least 6 to 8 years in the field of information technology.
Leadership skills should be very good, the individual should have crisp and impactful communication skills along with decent interpersonal skills.
There are several categories of competencies for an IT manager.
Technical Competencies: IT manager should have a good knowledge of technicalities related to the task which he assigns to his subordinates. A good knowledge on the technical aspects helps the manager to lead by example at crunch times and it helps in keeping morale of the team very high.
Behavioural Competencies: Communication skills need to be perfect in order to convey the thought in an effective manner. Apart from that, convincing power and morale boosting communication are also essential, so that it helps the team in a positive way.
IT manager should be at least graduate in Information technology or Computer Sciences or any other branch of Engineering or technology.
Apart from that, a graduation or post-graduation in the subjects of management could come very handy in terms of commanding the subordinates.
There should be a fair amount of experience in IT industry, so that the individual has good knowledge of the work done by the individuals under him.
IT manager is responsible for the output by the team at all times.
It is the responsibility of an IT manager to keep everybody occupied and happy in the team, and should help in relaxing the environment of the team.
The needs of the team members are taken care by the IT manager.
IT manager takes care of the conventions and the methods used in work and keeps track of any bad practice happening in the team.
1.2 Development needs of an IT manager
There are various development needs of an IT manager at RHA solutions, as far as an individual IT manager is concerned. One key area is building successful relations with not only the team-mates, but also the senior level position holders. The utility of the individual must be recognized well and the visibility factor needs to be good for an IT manager to flourish in the organization. At the time of performance evaluation, the appraisals received from the client side have maximum weights. Thus, during the face-off with the clients, an IT manager needs to be very sure of his communication abilities and should be very crisp in manipulating the clients and to keep them satisfied. These are the key development needs of an IT manager (Cheng, 2005).
1.3 Design of a personal and professional development plan
In this section we would devise a professional development plan for an IT manager of RHA solutions based on various parameters.
The current performance is very essential in judging the future aspects and longevity of an IT manager. The feedback of a manager from the team-members is also very crucial. Apart from that, it needs to be analysed whether the manager and team has been equipped with latest technological warfare and how good their response is towards the changing technologies. The overall output from the team and the contribution towards the organization is also essential.
In the world of Information Technology, there is a change every day and the individuals involved in it need to be equipped with proper technologies. The IT manager needs to develop the personal skills and the skills of the team related to the upcoming technologies. It is very important for any organization to anticipate the upcoming technologies and their impacts on software market. Thus, the individual need to get trained in those technologies to sustain in the environment (Guskey, 2003).
At RHA solutions there may be various aspects for an IT manager to look at. We would study that with the help of SWOT analysis.
1- Good Technical skills that help the manager to lead by example.
2- Good communication skills and interpersonal skills
1- Lack of personal development due to over involvement in team process
2- Claims of taking side by unhappy subordinates at the crisis situations.
1- Getting chances to get equipped with latest technologies first up before anybody else.
2- Fair amount of opportunities to take good initiative which could help in improving the visibility to the top leadership.
1- Competitive environment always pushes the IT manager to be alert.
2- Less cooperation from the team-members could lead to adverse results.
1.4 Review on development as IT manager
In this section of the report, I would review the personal developments set in the previous sections, for myself as an IT manager in RHA solutions. Currently, we are very much compliant within the latest technologies in the software field, which gives us an edge over the competitors. We are very much adaptable in terms of emerging developments in the IT fields particularly our area of expertise. There have been many hand-shaking application across the technologies in IT field, for example technologies interfacing Oracle to Java. We have been very much competent in the emerging technologies. This has been shown in the bygone years. Moreover, we have set ourselves up for the upcoming developments in the fields of Oracle and Java, so that we sustain effectively in the competitive environment. At personal level, apart from British English, I am trying to scale up my language skills in languages like French and German. This would help us in treating the clients from France and Germany better at the manager level. Inter-personal skills have always been good, be it with the subordinated or with the seniors. Thus, we have been doing a fairly good job thus far as the meeting the required competencies is concerned (El-Sabaa, 2001).
TASK 2: Be able to demonstrate acquired interpersonal and transferable skills
2.1 Analysis on feedback techniques
There is a lot of variety in the feedback styles in the Information technology industry. These could be verbal or non-verbal, formal or informal, openness and responsiveness. Verbal communication are very effective at certain times. At the time of motivating the team, it is quite a useful way of communication. Also, when a team-member repeatedly breaks the rules or does not follow the guidelines, verbal communication is a good way of confronting him or making him realize his mistakes. Non-verbal communications, specially mails, letters and reminders are a handy tool for an IT manager at all times. For informing about the work, demonstrating the tasks or sending reminders for meetings can be done through these non-verbal communicational techniques. Non-verbal communications can also be used by the IT manager to motivate or praise a team-member keeping the whole team in the communication to recognize good work. In the professional life, at all times the IT manager should adhere to the formal mode of communication. This helps the IT manager to be clear about conveying the information to the sub-ordinates. Informal way of communication can sometimes be used at exceptional situations, such as keeping a stressed team member calm or making the environment lighter at the times of crisis. Openness is one more aspect of effective communication. However, an IT manager should not share any confidential information with the team members who are not authorized to know it. Responsiveness include better management of team through listening to their problems and responding in an effective manner.
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A manager needs to be equipped with all the aspects of an impact communication and inter-personal skills within the team such as personal effectiveness, negotiating skills, initiating ideas, team-work and social skills. Personal effectiveness means the IT manager has to lead by example. If there is a lack of knowledge or intent in the manager itself, then it would be very tough to motivate the team members. The manager needs to have negotiation skills as he should eye on getting maximum output from the team members without disturbing their comfort levels. Taking initiatives is also very important for an IT manager, which helps in talent management of the team and helps the team to take bold steps which ultimately help the organization if the initiatives work as per the plan. An IT manager needs to make sure that all the subordinates are working as a team and complimenting each other. The social skills can add on to it as, all the team members should feel comfortable to express their problems or feelings to the manager regarding their work (Johnson, 1994).
2.2 Effective time management strategies
It is very important for an IT manager to make sure the time management is proper not only in personal point of view, but also from the team point of view. Below are a few ways or strategies by which an IT manager can facilitate better time management (Dess, 1995).
Setting Work Objectives
The tasks which are assigned to a particular team member needs to be pre-analysed for various things. The estimated time and effort can be anticipated before assigning the task to an individual. For that task, there should be a particular deadline, before which the individual needs to submit the completed work. Thus, by regularizing this, we can have the work process streamlined as far as time management is concerned.
Prioritization of Workloads
An IT manager can face minimization in the effective output coming from a team at the times of crisis. There could be too much workload on certain individuals due to which they would not be able to deliver the work effectively. At this time, a high level prioritization needs to be set, based on the urgency of a particular task. The individuals need to know the priority order of the tasks assigned to them and they should go ahead according to the priority.
Effective Use of Time
An IT manager should make sure the time wastage for the team members should be nullified. Time could be wasted by an individual either due to lack of work ethics or due to lack of skills. Both these aspects need to be observed and the individual need to be cared accordingly. Apart from that time wasted in the activities of software installations, delays due to less responses from other parties could also be the contributors to the time waste. This needs to be escalated to higher level, so that the blame won’t come on the team.
Keeping appointments and proper time-table
Planning the work structure is a crucial part in management in Information Technology. Proper appointments should be there for certain works and the invites about the meeting or appointments should be well managed by the manager. Long term planning and keeping a proper time-table would also help the manager and the team members in saving the time in an effective manner. Read another copy of Employability and professional Development
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TASK 3: Understand the dynamics of working with others
3.1 Analysis on team dynamics
We have a definite hierarchy in a team associated with software development in Information Technology. There are various levels in which the team work go about their tasks. We have software engineers who actually develop the code structures which ultimately are used as the core part of the software. Apart from that, we have analysts to help the developers along with other technical experts, who design the overall structure of the software and decide on how it should look and how it would the client requirements. For such a variety of professionals working together, a good team environment is a must. This is the sole responsibility of an IT manager. There are various aspects involved with the team dynamics. Certain developers could feel comfortable working under certain analysts. The nature of individuals have a huge impact on the team dynamics. There could be lot of problems if the leaders are too much dominating and the subordinates don’t feel comfortable working under them. Contrary to this, an easy-going leader could also not be able to motivate the subordinates properly and this could have a negative impact on the overall performance of the team. The IT manager needs to take care of every aspect related to the relation between the team members. Also, at certain times, we have a few individuals who are inspired from their leaders, thus they are able to perform exceptionally well under that leader. In such cases, the IT manager can make sure that those individuals should be aligned under those leaders, so that maximum output can be maintained for the team. The manager should also make sure that the personal identity of each and every individual needs to be respected and should be encouraged for good quality work (Maznevski, 2000).
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3.2 Effective and alternative ways to complete tasks
For an IT manager, it is very crucial to have the work completed within the promised timelines. In addition to that, the work should have minimum defects and should be done with perfection. For this, the manager need to lay proper guidelines for the approach of work to be done. Setting conventions and standards is very important before the start of the work. In the industry of Information Technology, the software are continuously modified according to the needs of clients. Thus, it is very important for one to have the codes structures very readable and re-usable. This helps in facilitating proper re-works based on the requirement and improves the efficiency. Thus for achieving that, The IT manager should enforce upon the team members to follow certain guidelines and standards on their projects. Apart from that, proper motivation should be given to the team members in several ways. One way of motivating is to organize team outing and team lunches, which distresses the team members. It also helps in creating a friendly environment inside the team. Apart from the salary hikes should be based on performance of the individuals, so that everyone should strive hard to perform more. There should be proper recognition of talent and hard-work through distribution of certificates and awards. This restores the confidence of the individuals. Also, for those who could not get the awards for a certain cycle of time, they can be motivated to work harder to grab the goodies. Proper innovative and interesting ideas to achieve tasks is a good way of easing the work environment. The manager need to be very responsive to the problems of the individuals working in the team. All these measures need to be taken care in order to achieve goals (Skehan, 1996).
TASK 4: Be able to develop strategies for problem solving
4.1 Tools and methods to developing solutions
The process of the software development and the IT training needs to be as per the latest technologies and tools. The team members need to be equipped with the latest information on the tools that are in practice. However, one more very critical aspect is to train the end users on the developed software tools. In this section, we would analyse the impacts on training even with lesser availability of trainers. It is important for an IT manager to facilitate the training given to end users after the software development phase is complete. The time-table should be fixed and the best functional experts need to be present at the time of training the end users. Generally, the core developers are released from the assignment to take up new responsibilities for the organizations. In such instances, the IT manager might feel lack of trainers from their side. Thus, effective planning needs to be taken care of before going ahead with the training of end-users.
Training is an essential part of the software development not even for the developers, but also for the end users. All the critical processes that are followed combined with the developmental phase of the assignment could go as a waste, if the proper training is not conducted for the end users. For this, the IT manager needs to identify sharp individuals with a fair amount of experience in training the end-users and handling their doubts. For certain high impact areas in training senior members can also be include by using latest technological tools like web conferencing or recording the training session. Apart from that, live trainers need to be deployed in order to make the end user understand the process. These are the methodologies that an IT manager can follow in developing solutions (Weick, 1988). (ECB College Understanding Learning Process Assignment)
4.2 Developing strategy for resolving problems
An IT manager needs to be pro-active in handling the crisis situations. Manager should always come up with definite plans in case of certain shortcomings or defects in the process. In this section, we would analyse how an IT manager would react to crisis situation taking a live example. Suppose, we need to train the end users for the use of a particular software that we developed. There might be certain obstacles to the defined process. But the IT manager for the process needs to take care of all those and should come up with back-up plans whenever required. If there are lesser trainers available for the end-user training, there can be a lot of back up plans. There should be pre-recorded sessions on the particular trainings that need to be conducted. If needed, senior members of the team could handle the training through video conferencing. This would also help in resolution of critical problems and confusions from the user’s side. There should be proper back also for the crisis situations of data corruption during the training. A completely secure training environment needs to be set, which should be the exact replica of, how the software would look like in the real time scenario. Any failure in the process or the training platform should be quickly fixed, as this might waste a lot of time for not only the users, but the resources of the organization in the role of trainers. Thus all the formalities and testing needs to be done in advance as far the performance of the training platform is concerned. These steps would make sure that we won’t lose more time, as that could add to the crisis of unavailability of trainers. These are the strategies that can be helpful in the crisis situation for an IT manager (Jacobson, 1968).
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4.3 Evaluation on Problem-Solving
This section would be dedicated to evaluation on the strategies used to overcome the situation of crisis. As discussed above lack of trainers at the time of training to end-users could pose a serious threat to the success of complete program. Thus, the solutions devised in the section above are very handy in the given situation. When a team of developers go about developing a particular software in a development phase, they are the ones who know the core functionalities of the software to be developed. But generally, at the time of end-users training, these development team is freed from the project and they assigned with other tasks. Thus, it is very helpful in recording video sessions at the time of development itself. Moreover, the documentation needs to be very precise, so that reference can be taken from it at the time of training. With senior leadership involved in the training through video conferencing, it adds to the change of better management of the training, in the end. That would really encourage the trainers also, if they are trained by the top leaders of the service providers. Thus, the devised strategies seem to be useful.
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With so much advancements in technologies in the IT sector, the role of an IT manager has become very crucial. We have analysed how precise the skills of an IT manager needs to be. The tricky fact about the profile of an IT manager is that, the individual not only needs to be good at leadership and management skills, but also one needs to be up to date with the latest technologies. This would help the manager to guide the team through at the times of crisis. Multiple roles of planner, motivator, and technological expert have to be played by the ITY manager at different points of time during the course of project development. We can take a lesson out of the report that, an IT manager needs to be very dynamic and adaptive to be successful in the field of Information Technology.