8 Common attributes of High Performing IT Departments

The key to being a High Performing IT Department is adopting a culture of change management, causality and continual improvement. This must be instilled in every member of the team. They need to have a set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices. There is a science to IT management and that rather than applying rote application of externally imposed practices and controls without understanding, the culture must utilize the scientific method to prove/disprove what works then apply carefully constructed controls to ensure they apply the appropriate practices without fail. These 8 attributes define if an IT Department is a high performing one. It is important to understand where you are at if you truly want to transition from good to great.

Allari John Mathieu

John Mathieu

Managing Partner

Does your team have a high throughput of effective change?

High Performers are often responsible for successfully implementing hundreds or even thousands of changes per week at success rates greater than 99%. In order to accomplish this feat, there needs to be a culture of change management. Implementing changes outside of the defined change management process is unacceptable and such actions are openly punished in these types of environments.

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High service levels and availability?

IT services are highly available and reliable, as measured by Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) and Mean Time To Repair (MTTR).

MTTR—Mean Time To Repair

The average time to restore service after an interruption.

MTBF—Mean Time Between Failure

The average time between service incidents.

Higher investment early in the IT life cycle?

Continually deploy resources/staff earlier in the IT life cycle, as measured by staff deployed on non-operational and pre-production activities, such as in release management, packaging and testing processes.

Consistent process integration between IT Ops and IT security?

Adopt security requirements into the IT life cycle, early and consistently, as measured by % of deployed infrastructure meeting security requirements, as well as % of infrastructure that is officially “blessed” by the IT security organization.

Posture of compliance?

A trusted working relationship between IT operations and auditors, because controls are visible, verifiable and regularly reported on. Since auditors perceive that controls are pervasive and effective, high performers spend far less time on compliance activities, such as audit preparation, audit liaising, and remediation of findings and have fewer audit findings and repeat findings.

Collaborative working relationships between function?

IT operations and security work together to solve common objectives. These types of organizations have a relationship of mutual respect with auditors, as opposed to one characterized by mutual suspicion, requiring high levels of effort to work with auditors.

Low amounts of unplanned work?

Your team should be spending 5% or less of their time on unplanned and urgent work.

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Server to system admin ratios > than 100:1?

The average server/sysadmin ratios are between 15:1 and 25:1. High performing IT departments are greater than 100:1.

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8 Common Attributes Graphic 1

Does your team have a high throughput of effective change?

High performers can handle extremely high volumes of change, often responsible for successfully implementing hundreds or even thousands of changes per week at success rates greater than 99%.

High service levels and availability?

IT services are highly available and reliable, as measured by mean time between failures (MTBF) and mean time to repair (MTTR).

Higher investment early in the IT life cycle?

Continually deploy resources/staff earlier in the IT life cycle, as measured by staff deployed on non-operational and pre-production activities, such as in release management, packaging and testing processes.

Consistent process integration between IT Ops and IT security?

Adopt security requirements into the IT life cycle, early and consistently, as measured by % of deployed infrastructure meeting security requirements, as well as % of infrastructure that is officially “blessed” by the IT security organization.

Posture of compliance?

A trusted working relationship between IT operations and auditors, because controls are visible, verifiable and regularly reported on.

Collaborative working relationships between function?

IT operations and security work together to solve common objectives.

Low amounts of unplanned work?

Your team should be spending 5% or less of their time on unplanned and urgent work.

Server to system admin ratios > than 100:1?

The average server/sysadmin ratios are between 15:1 and 25:1. High performing IT departments are greater than 100:1.

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