How do I talk to my IT department?
Dumpster fire. Train wreck. Nightmare. These are just some of the words that our clients use to describe their working relationship with their IT department.
Sadly, and I hate to say this, the reality is that a lot of corporate IT folks don’t have time for you or your project.
A lot of corporate IT teams only care about how much extra work your project entails, or where the specific fault lines might cause a problem for the organization.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re ready to start a conversation with your IT department:
This is the key. If you only remember one thing from this post, please remember the word precedent.
Before you engage your IT department, do your research and look through as many digital projects as you can that currently exist in your company (on your corporate internet, intranet, etc.)
Next, try to find out who worked on that project, what the project scope was, and what IT problems that project team overcame to get the project published.
If an existing project is already in your network, your IT department will have a hard time countering a similar approach. Why? Because they’ve already approved and distributed that project in their environment.
2. Technical Standards and Documentation
Quite often, if precedent is set in a prior project, there will be piles of documentation accompanying it — IT departments love specification and security documents.
Don’t do the work twice.
Use what you can from prior work product documentation and any supporting materials in your organization to get your project green-lit faster.
3. The Language Barrier
Write down the words or, better yet, ask if you can set up an audio recording of what your IT department is saying about your project so that you can do a look up after your meeting.
Recently, we were working with an IT department where one of the guys strung together four technical words in succession that didn’t make sense — even from a technical standpoint.
If you’re unlucky enough to have a poor IT team, they will most likely try to use their technical jargon as a weapon to try to disarm you and your project.
4. Get it in writing
Avoid unrecorded phone calls and random discussions with IT about your project as much as possible.
Assume that your IT department doesn’t have time to listen — this is quite often the case because someone is probably troubleshooting a “critical security issue” or helping someone plug in their computer — it just won’t turn on!
Focus on writing clear and concise documentation that directly answers the specific questions being asked — no more/ no less.
The positive thing is that if you have a general understanding of the digital projects that are already in your environment (precedent!), you have your documentation prepared, and you have a paper or audio recording trail of your correspondence and communications, your chances of a successful project launch will be a lot higher.