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Resources for learning to run an IT department

  • 1.  Resources for learning to run an IT department

    Posted 6 days ago
    I'm looking for resources to help me learn about running a nonprofit IT department.  Books, classes, or anything else that might help.

    My IT department is just me and one volunteer.  I feel pretty confident with my technical skills, but I want to do better with organization and planning.  I want to improve communication, prioritizing projects, scheduling projects and estimating timelines, things like that.  I always have more work requests than time to get through all the requests.  (I'm guessing that's true of virtually every IT department.)  I want to be as effective as possible and also manage expectations.

    I suppose this is related to project management and that those skills are relevant.  But I'm especially interested in management of a whole set of projects and higher level planning.

    Any suggestions?

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    Joe Blodgett
    IT Manager
    Family House, Inc.
    San Francisco, CA
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 2.  RE: Resources for learning to run an IT department

    Posted 6 days ago

    It's kind of expensive, but I added a link below to one of my grad school textbooks, Managing and Using Information Systems. I found this book to be really helpful in my role as a non-profit I.T. manager. It's packed with information on a variety of topics that I've come across, and I still refer to it from time to time. (To keep up-to-date, I ordered the latest edition.)

    FWIW. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1119346762/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Good luck!



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    Chris O'Connor
    Director of Information Technology
    Society of Biblical Literature
    Atlanta, GA
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 3.  RE: Resources for learning to run an IT department

    Posted 6 days ago
    This is, at this point, somewhat dated, but still full of lots of pertinent information about how to manage nonprofit tech, as opposed to generic tech. Disclaimer: I wrote Chapter 4.

    https://www.amazon.com/Managing-Technology-Meet-Your-Mission/dp/0470343656/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1226338103&sr=8-1

    Idealware also has lots of great resources, including a little booklet they'll sell you listing nonprofit-specific software.

    And I wrote this blog post that, while maybe not a how-to guide, sums up a lot of what is different about tech in our sector:

    http://techcafeteria.com/blog/2015/03/23/what-is-nonprofit-technology-the-directors-cut/

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    Peter Campbell
    CIO for Hire
    Raffa - Marcum's Nonprofit and Social Sector Group
    Washington DC
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 4.  RE: Resources for learning to run an IT department

    Posted 5 days ago

    (insert shameless plugs for:

    1. The Tech Decision Maker's group

    2. The Tech Decision Maker's monthly group call on 9/25

    3. The "Accidental IT Director" session proposed by @Dar Veverka and myself )

    Also, I'll say that I'm a big fan of Peter's articles.



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    Colin Boyle
    Step Up Suncoast
    Sarasota, FL
    cboyle@manateecaa.org
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 5.  RE: Resources for learning to run an IT department

    Posted 5 days ago
    Thanks Chris, Peter, and Colin.  These seem like great places to start.

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    Joe Blodgett
    IT Manager
    Family House, Inc.
    San Francisco, CA
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 6.  RE: Resources for learning to run an IT department

    Posted 4 days ago

    First, do what Colin suggests.

    This is from 6 years ago but is 100% relevant for today. If you do anything, do something on these 4 items every month:

    https://totalnetworks.com/manage-department/

     

    This is from 4 years ago and 100% relevant today:

    https://www.mrc-productivity.com/blog/2015/02/7-ways-small-it-departments-can-accomplish-big-things/

     

     

    These sites are aimed at larger IT departments but occasionally have great stuff for small organizations.

    http://www.itmanagerdaily.com/

    https://www.cio.com/

     

    To keep on top of trends.

    https://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/



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    Ellery July
    Saint Paul, MN
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 7.  RE: Resources for learning to run an IT department

    Posted 4 days ago
    Thanks, Ellery.  Those all seem to be full of good, useful advice.

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    Joe Blodgett
    IT Manager
    Family House, Inc.
    San Francisco, CA
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 8.  RE: Resources for learning to run an IT department

    Posted yesterday
    Joe,

    Late to the discussion, but I'll throw in (especially if you enjoy listening to podcasts) this new podcast series: The IT Kit podcast from Spoke.

    Here are some shared some notes (most a transcript with comments) from the first episode, with the Director of IT from Casper. Lots of good stuff.

    Having done a lot of work with IT departments over the years, one recent lesson I will share is the importance of selecting the metrics that matter for your organization. I find often the IT department has its own idea of what's important to measure, but that doesn't always align with what the organization wants out of IT.

    The image below is just a shortlist of metrics that might matter to ITSM (Information Technology Service Management). But what metrics matter to Family House? If you're ready (from a data standpoint), I think it's great to talk with leadership and ask what metrics matter most to them. Create a draft KPI scorecard for the IT department and keep iterating on it until you get to decent set of 5-10 metrics that seem to be most important to Family House.

    Hope that's helpful, Joe. And, of course, always happy to chat by phone or Zoom if you want to discuss sometime.

    -JP




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    Joshua Peskay
    Pronto Marketing
    Lewiston, ME
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    Tech Accelerate