Part 1 of 9
This article is the first in a series. These articles are aimed at those who are seriously considering becoming an SDM, those who recently became an SDM for the first time, and those who want to better understand this important role.
These nine articles focus on topics one needs to become more proficient in or more familiar with. Here is the primary focus of each article:
- Six things to do to acquire and retain knowledge.
- Five important skills to start developing.
- Five additional important skills to start developing.
- Six things you should be doing when managing people.
- Six mistakes to avoid when managing people.
- Four major steps for effective process management
- Technology management is more than keeping the lights on – Five key considerations.
- Six key things to consider for effective supplier/vendor management.
These articles dive deeper into some of the subjects broached in the recent article “Advice for First-Time IT Service and Support Managers,” published here on January 17, 2023.
Six things to do to acquire relevant SDM knowledge and retain it.
I wish I had had more information available to me when I landed my first SDM job. I would likely have made fewer big mistakes. Apparently, we learn from our mistakes. If I can help you avoid or make smaller mistakes, good.
While knowledge is normally defined as understanding of or information about a subject that you get by experience or study, either known by one person or by people generally, a skill is typically defined as an ability to do an activity or job well, especially because you have practiced it.
There are two basic paths to becoming a SDM. One, you are already a manager albeit with no prior service desk experience, or two, it is your first managerial role (you could come from a service desk environment).
Regardless of the path taken above, the following applies. To become as good a SDM as one can be, one requires fundamental knowledge. Here are the pathways I would suggest
College/university introductory courses to (General) Management, Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Economics, Marketing, Leadership
A basic knowledge of the above allows you to better understand what non-IT end-users are talking about regarding the outcomes they are trying to accomplish when using your IT service.
Find someone in each department to provide you with a clear overview of what they do.
It is “best practice” to introduce yourself to your business customers, it helps build relationships, and helps set expectations for both your customers and your service desk.
Foundation courses in IT-related topics such as ITIL 4®, COBIT®, Agile™, DevOps™, PRINCE2®, VeriSM™, etc.
You work in IT. You manage an IT Service Desk. There are plenty of practices in use within the IT department.
Books, blogs, newsletters, news, webinars, conferences, and videos on topics such as your organization (internet and intranet), industry vertical, service desk, supplier/contract management, knowledge management, your software and hardware vendors, (cyber) security management, IT governance, IT Service management, plus other topics.
The more you know, the better prepared you are, the fewer surprises. Become an information broker. SHARE the knowledge, provide time (an hour) for your personnel every week to read up on the above. It is part of (people’s) continual improvement.
Identify and make use of mentors and coaches.
You are not alone. There are many other people you can “consult” when facing a difficult situation or choice. Do not be afraid to ask, especially in the beginning. The main difference between coaching and mentoring is that mentoring focuses on a longer-term objective instead of coaching short-term goals.
Courses and certifications offered by HDI such as HDI Support Center Manager, HDI Desktop Support Manager, Service Management Optimization, Workforce Management Principles, Foundations in Service and Support Metrics, KCS Principles or KCS Foundation.
These invaluable, IT industry-recognized courses are specifically designed for people like you. They are full of golden nuggets to take home.
In the next article, we will discuss the important skills to start developing. Management is both a science and an art. Knowledge is the science part; the art is to skillfully apply the knowledge in a practical situation. We will explore 5 key skills to start developing and mastering. These skills will help you as an SDM and in other management or leadership roles in your career.
Pierre is a published author and experienced expert in the world of ITIL, with experience across IT practices. He works to transform best practice concepts into reality and explain theoretical concepts in plain language. He combines extensive experience with knowledge and expertise in service management, organizational change, business management, and continual service improvement.