IT Manager Workflows

I was inspired to post this by reading some similar posts but wasn’t quite what I was looking for. Most of the guests on MPU and other similar podcasts on Relay FM are writers or coders. I haven’t really seen any IT Managers or someone in a similar role.

10 months ago I became an IT Manager and was overwhelmed by how different the job is. I knew it would be different. I love my role but before that, I was an engineer and had good use of tools and workflows that allowed me to excel. Now the job is different and not sure if I’m utilizing the best workflows and curious about how others do it.

I do work off strictly windows but have an M1 Macbook Pro. I was using an iPad but moved back to a Macbook. I would like to use my Macbook more but it is a BYOD situaiton

  1. Task Management: Outlook Tasks that feed into ToDo. Developed this workflow years and years ago. The email comes in and gets moved to Tasks. Use ToDo to feed them into specific “folders/categories”. The folders/categories can be related to specific direct reports, projects, departments, or offices.
  2. Planner - Team project management/Every project over 2 hours
  3. Notetaking - on my windows machine OneNote for everything. On my Mac, I use Bear for non-work-related items
  4. Power Automate & Power Platform - I enjoy creating automation and currently doing that with Power Automate. I have a couple of flows that I use to help manage the team. I am lost here on finding the best automation as a manager. Before it was easy to automate things I do on a repeated basis.
  5. Use Toggl for time tracking to get an understanding of what I do to help look for automation or things I can delegate

Looking to see if there are any other IT Managers out there and how you work and what tools are you using to get the job done.

It’s 8 years since I managed in IT, but from my perspective there are two types of work, Proactive and Reactive.

For Proactive work, I wrote a long term strategy in Word for the next 3 years, then a Medium term in the same document breaking down work for the next 12 months and anything for the next 3 months was planned out in Omnifocus and then either assigned to someone for delegation or assigned to me. I can see the final 3 months in MS Planner.

For Reactive work, a Ticket system is crucial to allow both self logging of issues by the users, and also the opportunity to self help by users. I used Sitehelpdesk, but SpiceWorks used to provide a free application which included a ServiceDesk and some monitoring tools. Reactive work was completed and monitored within the ticketing system.

Note taking was in word docs at the time, but now I’d do it in something wiki style. Honestly, I never time tracked as it’s never worked for me.

I like to keep my work and personal system separate and all my personal is on my Mac and I too have a windows machine for work. It seems like that is your general approach. My work workflow is very similar to yours and have tried but have not extensively used any of the MS products on the Mac so I can’t say the experience will be the same on the M1.

On windows, I too use Outlook and create tasks that come in via email and funnel those into ToDo. I also extensively use OneNote for meeting and project notes. I like to be able to create tasks from the OneNote integrations. I agree with @geoffaire that work is often broken into proactive and reactive work. For me the proactive also is broken into collaborative and non-collaborative work. For my job the proactive is the typical project plans. I could not get our organization to use anything like MS Project or Planner so I have done everything in OneNote and managed the tasks in ToDo. Tasks for others I tracked in my own system. I’ve looked at Planner and could see the benefits of it but only if it was collaborative. I felt it was overkill just for myself. I’m in a Software R&D org so most of the engineering staff use Atlassian’s Jira Software for managing their work. This is where most of the collobartive wok that needs to be tacked is done. There is no desire for another tool. There has been some recent changes so I’ve made some tracking and we are going to try and use it for project management.

From what I’ve seen you have a pretty common set up. I can’t offer much advice to change except if you want to try and consolidate on your M1 give the Outlook/OneNote/Todo combo a try.