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Mastering IT Support Delivery L2: Aspiring Manager

This 2-day training course is designed for the IT Support operative aspiring to or being readied for a supervisory, or ultimately a management position. It covers two key areas.

The first area concentrates on the sizeable, fundamental shift in mentality and perspective necessary to commence a career in management. This syllabus element goes deeper than the ubiquitous ‘How to Be a Manager’ style of training, to prepare the developing mind for a philosophical reshaping so that the later management lessons will be planted in a mindset properly ready for them. This syllabus is especially necessary in IT, which hires technicians exclusively, and so finds it necessary to promote technicians into positions of leadership. But the technical mind is not the managerial mind, and so the promoted technician often fails to take on the management mantle, conducting himself merely as a more highly paid technician, or worse, as simply the ‘Boss’ of his department, rather than as its orchestrator. The job of the operative involves following instruction and process. However the manager must have the far broader perspective to realise that a process is even needed, along with the decisiveness to see its implementation, to describe what constitutes success in doing the job and instructing in its conduct.

Furthermore, the operative uses diagnosis to cycle through known parameters and technical knowledge to determine which of these to adjust and by how much, to achieve a given result. However, the manager does not have the luxury of prescribed parameters, so diagnostics must be replaced by an analytical approach; which must also comprise a consideration of political factors, not normally an issue for the operative.

The second area is a detailed comprehension of the nature and delivery of external support, such as that offered by the ICT industry’s vendors and manufacturers, Value-Added Resellers (VARs), distributors, and Managed Service Providers (MSPs), which are collectively known as ‘The Channel’. External Client Support Management (ECSM) differs from IT Service Management (ITSM) in a number of significant ways, meaning that existing ITSM models often do not apply directly in terms of how ECSM service is generated and delivered. This syllabus element deals with the details of those differences. It may be seen as essential understanding for ITSM managers dealing with channel suppliers, as well as for ECSM managers directly.

Target Audience

Operational-level technical staff from any part of IT who aspire to positions of supervision, team-leadership or management of others

  • Leaders of ICT workgroups experiencing difficulties in growing beyond their technical role
  • Managers requiring a quick refresher of the nature and mindset of their role in a technical context
  • Operatives being fast-tracked toward, or assessed for, future leadership role 
Reset

Learning Objectives

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding and application of management principles as they pertain to IT Support in the following areas:

  • The technical mindset and how it essentially restricts managerial thinking
  • Philosophical and functional differences between operative, supervisor, team leader and manager in terms of what they do, how they do it, to whom they do it, and why they do it, and how they arrive at their different priorities and various Bases of Decision
  • Use of skillset management to resolve Single Points of Failure in the workgroup, and to replace oneself as a technical operative, in order to leave more time for managerial concerns and activities
  • How management goes beyond mere superiority – in particular, use the explanations and techniques of De Marco & Lister and others, pertaining to IT staff motivation and productivity, and workgroup coherence
  • Understanding and using the new relationship between the technician once a member of a workgroup and now leader of such a group, and the requisite behaviours, mentality and perspective
  • Making use of a full comprehension of differences between internal and external support to adjust workgroup practices and targets in meeting business needs.
  • Develop and use a new, essentially managerial working-day to-do list

Pre-Requisites

The only pre-requisites are genuine ambition & curiosity.

Course Content

Benefits

Organisational

The challenge often faced by IT is the quality of its leaders. To be able to deliver its services at all, IT must recruit technicians; the problem is, when a need for a group leader arises, IT typically has only a pool of technicians from which to select candidates. Technicians are not managers – the mindset is completely different. It requires a move from individual reactivity to workgroup readiness, from technical diagnosis to situational analysis, from following instruction to anticipating corporate service needs, from abiding by process to developing necessary processes.

For a technician to become a manager requires such a shift in that mindset, otherwise the managerially-promoted technician may not gain the elevated perspective to see his department as a whole. Without that, the technical manager may simply continue to behave like a senior technician, so his department is not managed at all. It may not be enough to send the technician on a management course – without a ready perspective, he may not grasp the training.

The MISD ‘Aspiring Manager’ qualification instructs the candidate in raising his horizon, to prepare himself for management thinking. It describes how to see his workgroup as a service delivery machine rather than as a bunch of technical peers; to see his responsibility toward the business and its fiscal priorities rather than the minutiae of technical problems; to see his staff as humans with agendas and motivations rather than as a set of technical skills; to replace his erstwhile technical focus with one conducive to developing his staff and his department, in serving the business.

To cement the lessons, the candidate formulates the to-do list of managerial tasks that will make up the workgroup leader’s new working day. For the organisation, this places important ICT technical workgroups into the hands of competent, ready managers who realise and are skilled to act upon their corporate responsibilities, for better services delivered by happier technical staff.

Individual

The ‘Aspiring Manager’ qualification is designed to provide your career in IT management with the best possible start. Its philosophical preparation provides a sound context for all following management lessons. In terms of success in your own department, this may be all you need to ready your mind for management concepts and your own innovations in the way you run your workgroup. This qualification not only describes your managerial responsibilities and your approach to them, it provides them in the form of a to-do list that provides a list of managerial activities throughout the working day.

This qualification also instructs how you can pass your erstwhile technical responsibilities to members of your team, without overburdening them, and leaving you more time to practice true management and develop your leadership skills.

In particular, for technicians rising from the ranks of peers, the training shows you how to make those peers, once colleagues and equals, now willingly respect and follow you as their acknowledged leader.

Exams & Certification

Examination Format

Paper-based, in classroom invigilated by tutor

  • 40 multiple choice questions over maximum of 80 minutes
  • Pass mark 28/40 (70%)
  • Results within 2 weeks; examiner’s decision is final
  • In case of failure, 2 maximum examination retakes; thereafter, examination opportunities require entire course retake

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