I mentioned in the first post that a university is a mini-society. It has its own pattern of getting things done, and as an IT manager I get questions about how certain things can be done on the Web. While anyone can google and learn about HTML syntax, there are a few extra steps before anyone can putting a web page on the Internet with the university’s logo. One way to look at my role is to help others figure out how things should work in the university’s setting. Another way to look at this is, as a manager in the IT department, I have a limited set of services to offer to everyone at the university.
Let’s not talk about services yet because that would take a while. Instead, let’s explore a set of common activities we offer regardless of the service. They are:
- accounting and finances
- overall management
The list could go on and each item can be broken down into many more items. Half of these activities are client-facing but the other half are behind the scenes. Maintenance, for example, includes a load of activities that are happening behind the scenes: backup, restore, managing db records, monitoring system usages, increasing capacity, security, rotating log files, managing the servers and the network. It takes a whole operations team (aka Ops) to sustain and maintain the IT infrastructure.
Well, having this list is useful at least for my sanity. Sometimes I review this list just to reflect on the activities I have been focusing on or have neglected. There are at least a dozen times I drill down on one of the items and realize that the activities involved are beyond my team’s capacity. There are also times when I look at it and wish the list would just go away.