Editorial Note: I originally wrote this post for the Monitis blog. You can check out the original here, at their site. While you’re there, take a look at the monitoring solutions and integrations they have to offer.
Some years back, I worked as the CIO. During my tenure, I had a head of IT support reporting to me. He did his job quite well and had a commendable sense of duty and responsibility, and I will always think of him as a model employee.
I recall an oddly frustrating conversation that I had with him once, however. He struggled to explain what I needed to know, and I struggled to get him to understand the information I needed.
Long story short, he wanted me to sign off on switching data centers to a more expensive vendor. Trouble was, this switch would have put us over budget, so I would have found myself explaining this to the CFO at the next executive meeting. I needed something to justify the request, and that was what I sought.
I kept asking him to make a business case for the switch, and he kept talking about best practices, SLAs, uptime, and other bits of shop. Eventually, I framed it almost as a mad lib. If we don’t make this change, the odds of a significant outage that costs us $_____ will increase by _____%. In that case, we stand to recoup this investment in _____ months. In the end, he understood. He built the business case, I took it to the executive meeting, and we made the improvements.
As much as we might like it, people in technical leadership position often cannot get into the weeds when talking shop. If this seems off-putting, to techies, I’d say think of it this way. Techies hack tools, code, and infrastructure, while managers and leaders hack the business.