As more companies move toward digital transformation and implement more complex technology infrastructure, the onus is on IT leaders to restructure their departments to meet the demand. It’s a complicated process that requires a deep understanding of the needs and potential pitfalls.
Below, 13 experts from Forbes Technology Council examine common mistakes IT leaders should avoid when restructuring their teams.
1. Not Including A Broad Range Of Skills
Missing out on the opportunity to include a broad range of skills is a big mistake. Digital initiatives should be focused on change—even disruption—in the way we operate. Use this to bring in new skills and perspectives from areas such as design, the humanities and psychology. There’s huge value in cross-fertilizing across disciplines to deliver better systems, better solutions and more “approachable” technology. – Geoff Webb, PROS
2. Failing To Focus On The Big Picture
One common, unfortunate side effect of change in IT structuring is losing sight of what matters most—your main objective. All too often, your top priorities get lost in the mix of all your other to-dos. But by keeping your eyes on the prize, you can reverse-engineer your desired outcome and ensure your team is ready to handle the workload necessary to get there. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC
3. Allowing Gossip, Rumor And Misinformation To Spread
Every time people hear the word “restructuring” they translate it to “layoffs” or “losing my seniority.” Being well-prepared on the execution side should always include well-prepared, frequent, transparent communication. That includes clear communication both with the team and the senior management team. – Vaclav Vincalek, Future Infinitive
4. Bringing In Generalists To Oversee Specific Tech
One IT restructuring mistake is bringing on generalist developers to oversee a very specific technology, such as Salesforce, or relying on a single administrator to handle IT requests and overall maintenance. In this digital environment, you need a layered structure that includes specialist developers, administrators and strategists to ensure your system supports and evolves with the company’s growth. – Thiru Thangarathinam, MST Solutions
5. An Unclear Reporting Chain
Having two managers can be confusing for an employee. Priorities can become unclear, loyalties may be divided and relationships can suffer. Teams need autonomy to work together effectively, and the best way to do this is to make sure reporting lines are clear so that teams can thrive! – Amy Czuchlewski, Bottle Rocket
6. Failing To Establish Accountability
In an age in which adaptability is critical, it is important to have clear expectations for those involved in restructuring events triggered by digital initiatives. Too often, these restructuring events lead to a lack of accountability while settling, which damages credibility and morale for team members in long-standing roles. Define the right expectations for change and ensure accountability is clear. – Joshua Stanley, RevUnit
7. Leaning On What Worked Before
As tech leaders work to restructure their teams in the world of digital disruption, one mistake to avoid is structuring based on what has worked in the past. Although it may seem safe to have a structure you’re familiar with, it may prove irrelevant given your company’s new direction and new tech. Instead, find a structure that positions you to take advantage of the future while winning today. – Tanvir Bhangoo, Freshii inc.
8. Not Setting New Metrics
Measuring the value of work within a new system often goes beyond initial key performance indicators and service-level-agreement deliverables. In my experience, new structures require a new approach to success, especially if the teams’ goals have changed. To achieve this, CIOs need to establish and monitor the objectives and key results of the new structure. Keeping the relevant business outcomes at heart should make this easier. – Nacho De Marco, BairesDev
9. Creating Bottlenecks
Like other departments, IT works with allocated budget and resources. When restructuring, managers should have a clear understanding of each resource’s skills and avoid under- or over-allocating in a specific function. Under-allocation or overloading a specific resource creates bottlenecks, reducing overall throughput. Skillset diversification should be adopted to have flexibility in resource allocation. – Sujeeth Kanuganti, Aira Tech Corp.
10. Restructuring In Waves
Too often, it seems that simultaneous restructuring of the entire team may call for too much chaos. But it is actually easier to restructure an entire department at once rather than doing it gradually. Restructuring bit-by-bit will lead to a decrease in productivity and increased stress within the team. All the members of the team should deal with the process at once. – Daria Leshchenko, SupportYourApp Inc.
11. Overlooking Learning And Adaptability Skills
In a digital transformation initiative, it is very important to match the right talent to a particular open position. More often than not, the folks in charge of digital transformation will have to learn new technologies on the go. So the ability to learn quickly and continuously is definitely a skill to look out for when restructuring teams to handle digital transformation initiatives. – Mohammed Rijas, Attinad Software
12. Relabeling DevOps Engineers As SREs
In today’s competitive market, nothing is more important than reliability. Often, organizations will turn to site reliability engineers to solve reliability issues. But don’t be fooled: Relabeling your DevOps engineers as SREs is not the way to go. Instead, work on integrating SRE best practices and hire SREs to embed within DevOps teams to reap the benefits. – Lyon Wong, Blameless
13. Placing Junior Contributors In New Roles
When forming a small team to take on a new role, often a too-junior contributor ends up on an isolated or minimally staffed team. Task out small-value roles. If the role has real value, have a senior contributor define the processes and sort the requirements by challenge level. The organization will take note, and soon you’ll have a well-defined role with employees excited to take part. – James Litton, Identity Automation