How to manage an IT company?
Leading activities in various areas have much in common, however, at the same time, depending on the business sector, there are some specific features. If you are interested in general issues of company management, I recommend you the article How to manage a company. Here we will talk about how to manage an IT company, or rather, about those nuances that distinguish the IT sphere from all others.
On the structure of an IT company
Before proceeding to the description of specific aspects of management, I would like to say a few words about the structure that exists in almost any IT company. First of all, this division into two departments - technical and sales department. The sales department is the company's managers who are engaged in finding customers, negotiating, drafting TK (technical assignments) and payment issues.
The technical department is those specialists who work according to the TZ made by managers. This includes designers and web designers, copywriters, programmers and optimizers. In large companies, each department has its own manager, while in small companies, all report directly to the director. And now we turn to specific aspects of management.
Employees of an IT company are quite different from employees of insurance / trade / credit / legal, etc. organizations. In this environment, work mostly people who wholeheartedly love what they do. This is due to the fact that in this area there is a lot of room for creativity. A copywriter and editor, a designer and a web designer, a web programmer, a SEO-optimizer - what a profession you can take, you can't do without a creative approach.
This feature can be successfully used for their own purposes. Do not limit the imagination of your employees. Even if some ideas of your designers and copywriters are not suitable for this project, use them in the future (and I assure you there will be an opportunity). I don’t say to my employees: “It doesn’t suit us / It’s not our format / It’s useless,” etc., I say, “Listen, it's a great idea, thank you, we’ll use it!” Or “In this project, it’s probably not very appropriate, but the idea is excellent, well done! ”.
With this approach, we kill two birds with one stone: the employee does not lose motivation, and our piggy bank is replenished with another useful “coin”. In general, a positive approach has the advantagethat in the best way stimulates the creative activity of an employee - he was convinced of this more than once on the example of those companies in which he worked, and now his own IT-studio.
Criticize only as a last resort, and not for blunders, but for negligence. And by the way, blunders often become the result not of the mistakes of the technical department staff, but of an incorrectly drawn up technical task, which we shall now discuss.
On the importance of well-written TK
There are many articles where signs in detail how to make a technical task for the site. However, something people still lose sight of, stepping on the same rake. Most importantly: TK should not be blurred. There, it should be as detailed as possible, for what purposes the site is created, what information should be placed on it and in what style it is submitted. The more detailed the requirements for the texts (taking into account the key expressions, volume, stylistics), the better.
The same applies to design. "Anything to your taste" will not work. Believe me, only a small percentage of customers will be satisfied with the work of your designers, so make the customer write the design details in the technical specifications as detailed as possible.And this should already be concerned about your managers, who must insist and actively participate in the development of a detailed ToR for a specific site. Control over the work of managers is also necessary, but it is carried out somewhat differently.
When a company grows and it comes to the emergence of a manager position, the manager has two main fears at once: first, that the manager will work for himself. So, you need to create a rigid control system, where a step to the right, a step to the left is execution, that is, a fine or dismissal. The second fear: the manager will not want to do anything and will be entertained at the workplace, getting his salary.
Both problems are solved, and far from radical measures. Let's start with the second. Offer the manager a good percentage of found customers and contracts. No, not 3-5%, as some stingy leaders sometimes think, naively believing that their subordinates will work more efficiently. The percentage should be really significant - from 10% and above (here we look at the possibilities).
Now for control. Practice shows that the harder the nuts are tightened, the worse.I know companies where employees do not even have a minute of free time, and their work is controlled by electronic managers. But draconian control measures will not give you anything but a turnover of personnel.
I recommend in the selection of personnel to proceed from the personal characteristics of the person. Yes, mistakes happen here too, but there is an opportunity to find a real treasure - a manager who will be truly committed to his business and his company. Do not forget only that such people should be valued and encouraged in every way (remembering about interest and bonuses) - then the return will be even greater.
This topic, in an amicable way, would be devoted to a separate article, but in many respects it echoes the theme of TK. Do not believe the customer, who says that he does not care what design you choose for the site and on what key expressions the texts will be written. This happens, but only in one case out of ten, or even less. Remember that customers are the same businessmen as you, therefore they naturally worry about their own business.
If the customer says that he doesn’t care, it means that he hasn’t yet decided what he wants. In this case, let your designers offer several layout options (of course, paid ones), and copywriters will write for example a few texts (also, of course,paid). This will be a kind of litmus test: whether the customer is ready to cooperate seriously, or is it an ordinary freeloader.
And finally, the choice of customers. We do not cooperate with all of those who, as we think, would like to make or improve the site. Work with those who are ready for this. Your managers may spend heart-hearted talks about everything in the world with representatives of companies and even managers, but they are unlikely to turn to you, because for them it is just a way to have a good time. Likewise, it is worth getting rid of customers who change decisions all the time, try to force them to redo work repeatedly and are not ready to pay for it. Remember about that same litmus test in the form of paid tasks.