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Friday, June 17, 2016

Change Is The Only Constant For IT Professionals

IT Industry as we know is changing very rapidly. Client expectations are increasing and changing with the evolution of digitization. In this changing scenario Business and Employee interests must be aligned. According to a gartner research businesses that focus only on technical aptitude and do not align their IT workers with their business goals willl fail.

Having said the above, technical competency- although still a necessity for IT workers- has clearly become less valuable, while business knowledge, project management and communication skills have become more important. In this changing scenario behavioral competencies are key requirements for success as an IT professional today.

Gartner also mentions that 75 percent of midsize and large IS organizations will consolidate hiring, development and promotional criteria around behavioral and interpersonal skills rather than purely around technical skills and know-how (0.8 probability).

This leads us to The Million $ Question…What Should Be The Focus Of IT Professionals, specifically the Senior IT Professionals? 
Answer is simple: Senior IT professionals should look to develop skills which will enable them take bigger responsibilities in the business domain. Here are some examples of such desired skills and responsibilities:

Irrespecive of the technical experience or expertise professionals should focus on gaining experience in a particular domain, say for example, banking or insurance or manufacturing, that is, even if IT professionals move from one one project to another or one company to another they should focus and continue in the same business domain. They should avoid moving from banking to manufacturing or say from finance to sales/ marketing.

Next priority should be in gaining ..
·         6 to 8 years of experience in managing or leading projects

·         Project / Program Mgmt certification

Other desired skills that should be developed are:
·         Excellent collaboration, proactive and influencing skills
·         Ability to build consultative relationship with stakeholders
·         Ability to tell compelling stories and explain complex issues in simple ways
·         Ability to work independently and jointly in unstructured environments in a self-directed way
·         Strong research skills with an attention to detail
·         Ability to manage multiple activities in a deadline-oriented environment; highly organized and flexible
·         Excellent oral and written communication skills with a high degree of attention to detail

Following business analysis skills will also help a lot:
·         Gather, interpret, and document business needs into functional and nonfunctional requirements 
·         Translate business problems into requirements that facilitate capability development
·         Complete business and operational impact assessment
·         Document, track and maintain in Master Priority List
·         Closely manage communication of business process and systems changes to impacted stakeholders across the globe  
·         Look at transformational project plans and identify impacted groups within the organization and plan for targeted engagement to socialize the change
·         Be the voice for Operational functions and drive improvements with the stakeholder community

In short, IT professions need to 
  • Develop important behavioral competencies
  • Make deliberate efforts to develop “soft skills” in addition to technical skills
  • Develop organizational and work-specific competencies: go beyond myopic focus on technical skills
  • Become business savvy

Conclusion: It is very important that professionals research, observe, read and understand the changes happening in the industry and be ready to make adjustments in their own skillset, this will ensure that rather than struggling they can be in a position of advantage. Remember a famous quote from Charles Darwin "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."

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