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Is your IT Ops team productive and always on top of their game? No? Then maybe it’s their morale that needs a boost.
There are some simple, low-cost and very effective things that can be done to improve this, and you’ll see that morale and productivity is boosted:
- Invest in information boards:Using the traditional dot-matrix panels or fixing big flat-screen monitors on the wall will give the team instant-access to mission-critical information. It adds to their perception of how professional the team is, and they will be recognized as an investment into the team
- Give the team their own intranet site: Give the team the opportunity to show what they’re doing to the rest of the organization – internal PR will bring names and faces out of the dungeon into the company community
- Put them on training courses: Training is a key demonstration of investment in people. The courses don’t even need to be on technical subjects, but they do need to be on subjects the team can associate with. If you don’t want to spend externally, build your own courses
- Hold weekly meetings: Use weekly meetings to hear about what is going on – even though the team is operational, the department still undergoes change, so treat progress as a project. Use the meetings to receive good news and bad, and praise the team and individuals openly
- Get their opinion on business issues: Engage with the team on business issues and organizational changes. The team might not have the full context but that doesn’t matter – give them a voice and an ear
- Give them the kit they need for their jobs: Surprisingly, IT Ops tend to have the low-end kit whilst their senior colleagues get the best. Upgrading desktop PCs is dirt cheap, so don’t scrimp
- Connect them up: Help the team build relationships internally with people inside and outside of IT. This can be done by forums, or brokering one on one meetings
- Support their development: Connect the team to role-models, mentors or coaches. These people can normally be sourced internally, but use external resources if need be. A valuable intervention is to bring in IT leaders from other organizations and have them discuss their operations openly
- Roll out ITIL:If you haven’t done this yet, you REALLY MUST DO. ITIL is the de-facto standard for IT Management. The IT Ops team know this. If you don’t invest in ITIL, you’re putting the team at a disadvantage in their careers, and they will probably leave (I know several techs that have done that!) You can roll out ITIL in phases, so look at your biggest issues and look at ITIL for the answers
- Industrialize: Making IT Ops rock solid is making your organization rock solid. If you can’t depend on what is the foundations of your business operations then you will fail. Fail.
You don’t need to do these things at the same time. In fact I strongly advise you to roll them in over a few months, one by one. Demonstrating continuous improvement shows you care about the morale of the IT Ops team in the long-term, and at each stage you can measure their effectiveness and maybe change the order in which you phase them in. Continuous improvement has far better results than big-bang. You’ll find that each change is better adopted and bedded into the team’s way of working.