Unit 3 Employability and professional Development

This Employability and professional development assignment is about IT manager role in organization, it is given in UK college of business and computing.

TASK 1

P 1.1 reflect on own current skills and competencies against professional standards and organisational objectives

IT Manager’s role in RHA encompasses numerous responsibilities which are required to be fulfilled.  Based on the job description of an IT Manager in RHA, it can be said that the role requires following responsibilities:

Management of various project related activities associated with IT systems such as maintenance, deployment, upgrade etc.

  • Project management of CRM and website integration related project.
  • Communication among various stakeholders in organisation
  • Documentation of various key documents related to projects
  • Mentoring a team support staff
  • Management of financial aspects of IT department
  • Negotiation and administration of various types of contracts

Hence based on above responsibilities, it can be clearly said that the role of IT Manager is exhaustive in nature which has covered a wide spectrum of activities in RHA. Being a large training organisation performance expectations are high from this role. Comparing these responsibilities with my current skills and competencies, it can be said that as a professional I have all the necessary required skillsets which will be required to fulfil these responsibilities. For example I have relevant educational qualification to handle the technical responsibilities which will be required in understanding and managing the CRM and website integration project.

Responsibilities focused on effective documentation, communication, and coordination between teams require strong and impactful personality which is one of my strong point. Management skills irrespective of the fact whether its management of people, teams or project is a mandatory requirement for IT Manager role (Zack, 1999: 45-48).

 In my opinion based on my exposure to different academic project in real life, I think I will be a suitable candidate for this particular role. Since management of team in academic work or professional field requires a positive and leadership skillset, which as an individual I have displayed several times in various projects assigned to me.

Another important responsibility of this role is the negotiation and administration of supplier contracts and service agreement. In real life, considering myself as a candidate for this role, I can say that I have that flair for negotiating with people and closing the argument towards a logical end. Although on the job experience is altogether a different thing, but the skillset or the platform which is required is to start functioning as an IT Manager is there with me as a candidate, which will enable me to take up these responsibilities and perform effectively.

See Solution of HND Business Course Unit 1 : Business Environment

P 1.2 evaluate own development needs and the activities required to meet them

As an IT Manager for RHA Solutions, there are various responsibilities which are required to be fulfilled. Out of these responsibilities there are few for which I believe that I have that skill set and capability to fulfil them. On other hand there are many responsibilities which requires dedicated skill development exercise in order to fulfil them. For any job role, it is not essential that a desired candidate must have exact the same skill set to fulfil all the responsibilities required. At times a potential candidate might fulfil 70% of the skillset required for the role, whereas rest 30% of the skillset might fall into ‘good to have’ category. That is why it is essential for the organisations to have a well-defined and structured job description, so that it is easy to identify that what are the must-have skillsets required and what skillsets are ‘good to have’ in nature (Dess & Miller, 2005). With regard to my candidature for this particular role, there are few responsibilities for which I need to gain experience or get trained to acquire the skillsets. For example:

Financial management of the IT department, including purchasing, budgeting, and budget review. This responsibility requires experience in financial management of some or the other department. However I believe that my skillset are more inclined towards technical side of the responsibility. For example project management, requirement understanding, team support, deployment, maintenance etc. But my financial skillset needs to be developed in order to ensure that I can handle such kind of responsibility. Another major responsibility is related to development of SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and best practices which will also include written protocol and guidance to IT staff and end user of the system. Developing SOPs and best practices requires a lot of dedicated time apart from the time required for other activities related to project management. Considering the range of activities which an IT Manager role is covering in RHA, I feel that focusing on development of SOPs and best practices will be tricky in terms of time management. Although these are important tasks, but when compared to other tasks such as development, maintenance, support etc. then priority of this particular responsibility has to be relatively low. Thus handling of this particular responsibility will be a challenging task. Also in order to ensure implementation of CRM and website integration, which is part of the IT Manager responsibility, I will be required to enrol myself for certain new technical trainings. Although I have understanding about CRM applications, by my website related technical knowledge is relatively mediocre. In order to fulfil this gap training related to JavaScript, CSS, and Server side programming language such as PHP will be helpful.

P 1.3 devise a personal and professional development plan based on identified needs

Professional development plan (PDP) is an important aspect for the development of various skillset which we believe to lag in (Kerzner, 2013). This plan helps in identifying various shortcomings in terms of skillsets and accordingly through a structure and measured approach these gap is addressed. Thus there are various ways through which a professional development plan can be conducted. There are few important aspects which needs to be answered in order to prepare a profession development plane. For example, development objective, priorities, activities to undertake in order to achieve these objectives, support/resources required and ultimately a timeline to achieve these objectives. Following template illustrates various objectives which is required to be fulfilled.

Similarly SWOT analysis is also required to identify various strength and weaknesses in me which will play an important role in my professional development as an IT Manager.  SWOT analysis will enable me to analyse my employability skills. These skillsets are:

  • Key behaviour
  • Core competencies
  • Soft Skills
  • Personal Skills
  • People Management Skills
  • Basic Skills
Strengths
  • Good negotiation skills
  • Effective communicator among teams
  • Efficient team management skills
  • Good in resolving conflicts at project level
  • Impactful knowledge of business side
Weakness
  • Mediocre accounting and financial skills
  • No exposure to professional writing of documents such as SOPs, best practices
  • Poor knowledge of website development related technologies.
 
Opportunities
  • Going for a part time job, before joining RHA will help me in gaining certain amount of professional experience.
  • Internal trainings conducted within organisation will be helps to sharpen the skillsets.
Threats
  • Technology learnt might become irrelevant after some point of time.
  • Presence of strong candidate in a similar role in the organisation will lead to frequent comparison.

Thus based on the PDP and SWOT analysis, I will be able to fulfil the existing gap in terms of skillset required from the role.

P 1.4 reflect on own development against original aims and objectives set in the personal and professional development plan

As an IT Manager in RHA solutions, I have been able to understand various emerging technologies and practices at project level. Management of project related to integration of CRM and website has helped in getting crucial insights related to how the integration of two different technology takes place. For example CRM is an entirely different technology whereas website development has different set of technologies. In order to seamlessly integrate these technologies, I had to learn about the entire integration framework and how two different technologies can be made compatible with each other.

This was something which was not part of my professional development plan. Although as an objective of PDP I learnt about website development related technologies, but integration with different technology was something which I gained on the job itself. Similarly negotiation with different contractors is a challenging task which I learnt as an IT Manager of RHA. Just having financial and accounting skills are not enough, at times there are various set of legal points which needs to addressed in a contract with supplier. This was originally not part of the PDP but with experience of RHA’s IT Manager I was able to understand the complexities involved in the negotiation and agreement stage.

TASK 2

P 2.1 communicate in a variety of styles and appropriate manner at various levels

Communication is an important activity and responsibility of a managerial role (Gido, 2012).  In case of IT Manager Role in RHA, having an effective and successful communication is equally important. With several stakeholders involved such as client, trainees, end users, team members, higher management it becomes critical to establish an effective communication practice for the role of IT Manager. It is important to understand that successful communication is dependent of variety of factors such as:

  • Style of communication (Verbal, non-verbal, openness and responsiveness)
  • Formal or informal nature of communication
  • Target audience of the communication
  • Time available for communicating with people transmitting the message to people.

Thus there are various examples through which nature of communication can be explained for an IT Manager in RHA.

Verbal Communication: In this mode of communication, what matters is that how a point is kept in front of the audience. Thus the tone or pitch of communication matters. Assuming a scenario where IT Manager needs to convey about appraisal decision of his junior colleague. Considering the fact that appraisal is negative, role of manager is to convey the decision in such a way that appraise should not feel demotivated.

Target Audience: Immediate subordinate

Example: “Hi XYZ, as a manager I really appreciate your work, but since last six months I have observed certain slippage in terms of deadlines and various other minor issues, which is one of the major reason for your average appraisal. Considering your calibre, I am sure that in next cycle you will surely deliver to the level which you are capable of!”

Responsiveness Communication: being responsive in communication whether verbal or non-verbal is an important aspect. As a Manager there will be various situation where people look up to the manager to share their formal issues (and informal at times). In such situation it is essential to be responsive towards communication. In non-verbal communication medium, such as e-mails, fax, SMSs etc. timing of the response defines the responsiveness. Considering a scenario where a quality analyst has found a bug in the application of CRM and website, and he wants to get the bug rectified through an approval mail from Manager. For that an email conversation will be as follows:

E-mail from the QA: “Hello Sir, found a blocker defect in the application we are testing, will appreciate if you provide your approval to raise this as a blocker defect, so that development team can rectify the issue and redeploy the code.”

Ideal Response from Manager should be: “Thanks XYZ for highlighting the issue. Your request is approved. Please contact development team ASAP along with necessary screenshots of the defect produced. In case of any other issue, feel free to loop me in”

Thus above e-mail shows that in short manager appreciates the effort and provides the necessary approval. Impact of communication also depends a lot on the medium of communication. For example mediums such as press release, reports, memos etc. are highly professional in nature and does not have any emotional value in it (Cornelissen, 2011). Whereas other mediums such as verbal communication, or communication over e-mail etc. might be used for both formal as well informal mode of communication.

P 2.2 demonstrate effective time management strategies

Time management can be defined as an act or process which involves planning and implementation of various measures through which amount of time spent on various activities can be controlled, measured and monitored (Larson, 2004:44-66). Major impact of time management is seen on the efficiency and the productivity of a human being. Management of time is an extremely crucial activity for role of IT Manager at RHA solutions. Considering the number of responsibilities assigned to this particular role it is clear that without effective time management, it is not possible to accomplish all the responsibility.

If seen in above tasks, it can be easily understood, that at RHA role of IT Manager involves numerous responsibilities ranging from maintenance, deployment etc. to negotiation, team management and other project management related activities. Hence it is important that a specific time management strategy should be adopted to manage time effectively.

There are various time management techniques, however few of them which I believe as an IT Manager are hand in management of time are as follows:

Covey’s Quadrants

This is a simple yet highly effective time management strategy. Which involves segregation of all the activities on the basis of their priorities. Thus based on below figure it can be seen that various responsibilities and activities can be slotted in four different quadrants based on their priorities mentioned below.

Covey’s Quadrants Employability and professional development assignment

Figure: Covey’s Quadrants

Another effective time management strategy is Maxwell’s Three R’s. Under this as an IT Manager I ask three questions from myself:

What is REQUIRED? This means that before starting an activity it is important to understand that what exactly is expected form me as an IT Manager.

What gives the greatest RETURN? This means spending time in working in an area which comes under my area of strength.

What brings the greatest REWARDS? This means that as an IT Manager I should be identifying all those important activities for organisation whose execution will bring maximum return for the RHA as an organisation.

Hence by following above mentioned strategies, as an IT Manager I have been able to priorities my time to a great level. Which also has helped in becoming a more effective, efficient and productive manager within the organisation.

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TASK 3

P 3.1 analyse team dynamics, discussing the roles people play in a team and how they can work together to achieve shared goals

No organisation can succeed by effort of an individual only. Irrespective of the fact that how effective a decision is taken by an individual, if there is not team work then there will be no execution of the decision as such. Hence having an effective and positive team dynamics is an important stepping stone towards organisational success. Considering the role of IT Manager in RHA Solutions, it is clear that there are numerous responsibilities assigned to this particular role. However it is impractical to think that all these responsibilities can be fulfilled by just one position of IT Manager. In order to execute and fulfil all these responsibilities team work is required. Being a manager it is important to understand the team dynamics and how work can be extracted from team members. No manager is capable of doing all the tasks by himself, because if that would have been the case then organisations would have hired only managers for the execution of all the tasks (Cornelissen, 2011).

As an IT Manager in RHA solutions, my main target is to ensure that there is team work at every possible level of the project. Reason behind this is, that there are several benefit when a particular task is done through team work, such as team work provides better understanding of the overall project and activity, and it helps in building of basic essential skills such as communication, conflict management, problem reporting, people management and problem solving, which in case of individualistic approach is not possible.

One major approach which as an IT Manager should be followed is the PUSH and PULL analyses for the team dynamics. For ensuring a positive and effective team dynamic it is important to have elements of both PUSH as well as PULL in the team dynamics. PUSH elements includes, telling, putting the plan, control etc. whereas PULL elements include asking and listening, supporting and valuing, empowering the team etc. As an IT Manager it is important to have control over the team executing the project. However the control should not become autocratic in nature. Similarly having a plan is also an essential PUSH element which should be part of the overall team dynamics. In absence of an effective project plan there will be no way through which progress of the project can be measured up (Steyn, 2012).

Another important aspect of team dynamics is the composition of team. One of the project which I am managing is of the integration of website and CRM in RHA solutions. Hence in such project teams, it is essential to have professional at various levels. For example developer or coder at the basic level who will be guided by a module lead. These module leads are more experienced than the developers. Hence it is expected that in case of any issue faced by the developers these leads should be in a position to help the team. Thus it makes important for these leads to have specific skillset related to technology otherwise in case of any issue they will not be able to help their team members. Ultimately these team leads can escalate their issues to me. Being an IT Project Manager, I should not only guide the entire team but should also be able to motivate them from time to time.

Reflection and learning from past mistakes in the project is also crucial for future success. Hence team should be open enough to accept new changes and suggestions to improve their performance.

P 3.2 discuss alternative ways to complete tasks and achieve team goals

To fulfil or complete a task there are essentially two ways. One is the conventional way of doing things, and other is the unconventional way. The concept is simple, conventional way of completing task is simple and straightforward. As an IT Manager I need to assign the task to designated professional and then set a timeline to complete it. This approach is followed in majority of the organisations today. However with fast changing work culture, and exposure to new ways of doing work has impacted the way a task is done. Following above approach might be beneficial in short term, but in long term it leaves an employee fatigued, demotivated and monotonous (Pennypacker & Grant, 2003: 4-11).

In order to avoid all such issues, unconventional approach of doing work can be taken up. In other words these are the alternative ways of completing tasks. Although the end result is same in both cases, but the process of completion of task is more fruitful and enjoyable for the workers. Various ways which can be followed are:

Setting Parameters: Setting up informal comparisons and parameters is one of the biggest motivators for employees. Hence in RHA Solutions, this can be one approach where star performer of the project can be declared on monthly basis. This will push other to work harder and become the star performer next month.

Motivation: motivation of team is essential for its success. At times team or member of the team might feel disheartened because of some temporary failure such as client complain etc. In such situation it is important to show faith in team’s capability and help them to overcome their disappointment.

Promoting Innovation: RHA solutions is one of the large organisation in IT Training. Hence for it is important to keep coming up with innovative way of conducting business and offering something new to its client. This innovation comes from the grass root level. That is why innovation should be promoted and rewarded as and when required.

See here: London Academy Business Environment Assignment

TASK 4

P 4.1 review tools and methods for developing solutions to problems

Being an IT Manager, there are various situation where it is required to develop a proper strategy to achieve a specific task through various tools and methods. These tools and methods might include timescale, stages, resources and critical path analysis. In general all these methods are part of project management techniques. PERT/CPM is one such method which can be used to plan the scheduling of individual activities that make up a project. It helps in determining the earliest/latest start and finish time for each of the activity in order to determine project’s completion time (Thornley, 2013).  PERT/CPM network model can be constructed to represent the activities. In this model, Arcs represents the activities whereas Nodes represents points in time when an activity has been completed. This can be understood by an example IT training for all levels of end users within six weeks to enable certification needs to be done. In this project following will be the details required for doing CPM.

Activity Description Time Immediate Predecessor
A Select the target audience 1 None
B Prepare the training material 1 A
C Decide about the training duration and schedule 1 None
D Impart training 3 A,B,C
E Conduct certification exam 1 D

Hence based on above mentioned information, a critical path can be defined to complete the project in time. Apart from CPM, there is another method which is defining stage of the project in order to achieve them. Activities which are identified in CPM can also be taken up as stage of the project. Fulfilling each stage is essential to move on to next stage.

P 4.2 develop an appropriate strategy for resolving a particular problem

Strategy which can be implemented in order to complete problems such as IT training for all levels of end users within six weeks to enable certification will consists of various stages and activities. This strategy can be broken down in following stages or phases of the project:

Identification of target audience: This will ensure in identification of the group which needs to be imparted with IT training. Based on the experience and the existing knowledge of the group further strategy will be prepared.

Identification of a trainer: this stage will include identification of the trainer who can impart the training. Important point to note here is, that during this stage there should be identification of the back-up trainer as well. Training being dependent on the availability of the trainer it is essential that backup trainer should cover up if there is any absence of the main trainer.

Preparation of training material: IT training requires both theoretical and hands on training. For example training end-users of the system will require dedicated training environment where application can be explored and understood.

Module assessment: There is no point of training, if there is no assessment from time to time. In a six month training, there will be monthly assessment to track the learning imparted among the target audience.

Final Certification: At the end of the training, audience of the training should appear for a final exam, passing of this exam will entitle them for certification of the entire course.

Feedback: It is essential to have feedback from the attendees of the training. This feedback will help the trainers to fine tune their training methodology and various course material related to the training.

P 4.3 evaluate the potential impact on the business of implementing the strategy

Assuming that IT training was imparted for all levels of end users, it is now important to analyse the success or failure of the training. In order to measure the success or failure of the training imparted, it is essential to establish certain specification or checkpoints which were required to be fulfilled. Based on fulfilment of these specification and end-user feedback the outcome of the training can be decided.

Specification Achieved/Not Achieved/Partially Achieved Any Issue faced
Identification of target audience Achieved No Issues faced during this phase of the training.
Identification of a trainer Achieved Trainer was successfully identified, however there was certain issues in identification of a backup trainer, as matching the same level and skillset of training was difficult.
Preparation of training material Achieved Preparation of theoretical training material was relatively easy compared to arrangement of demo instance of the application. Hence in future it should be noted that demo instance preparation should be given high priority during training planning phase.
Module assessment Achieved At the end of each module which was on monthly basis, assessment were conducted in order to estimate the progress of the training batch.
Final Certification Partially Achieved Among the training batch there were many people who failed to clear the certification. And the overall pass percentage of the batch was 80%.
Feedback Achieved Feedback from the training batch helped in concluding that overall training was successful. However 20% people who failed in clearing the certification mentioned that their knowledge level compared to other in the group was relatively less in terms of exposure to IT field as such.

Hence based on above table it can be conclude that the training was imparted successful to all levels of the end-user. It is also important to understand that any project in IT organisation should be measured in a phased manner, as it gives more insight on various intricate details (Griffin, 2013).

References

Zack, M. H. 1999. Managing codified knowledge. Sloan management review, 40(4), 45-58. Dess, G. G., & Miller, A. 2005. Strategic management. McGraw-Hill. Kerzner, H. R. 2013. Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons. Gido, J., & Clements, J. P. 2012. Successful project management. Cengage Learning. Larson, E. 2004. Project management structures (pp. 48-66). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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