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Five Measures of Management
By Pam Baker
Too little management can leave IT stalled; too much can choke it to a standstill. The trick is to find that magic balance that enables the whole IT department to chug steadily forward like a well-oiled machine.
Historically, IT departments tended to be organized in layers. "That model doesn't much exist anymore," says Colleen Young, vice president/distinguished analyst at industry analyst Gartner, in Stamford, Conn., mainly because the layers typically were top-heavy, suffocating the workers beneath.
Young advises mid-sized businesses to have no more than three to five people reporting directly to the CIO; large or global businesses should cap the number at five to eight direct reports. Each of those reports can optimally supervise between 15 to 20 workers, or up to 35 workers per supervisor in multi-disciplinary teams. "Beyond the 1:35 ratio, you are in danger of imploding," she says.
Flattening the layers may not weed out every obstacle IT has to trudge through, but a streamlined structure leads to fewer snarls. "The flatter the organization, the better. And smaller teams work better as well," says Bobby Cameron, vice president and principal, IT Management, at Forrester Research in Boston, Mass. (article continues)
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