Decision Maker

Test Your Team's IT Competency

Does your IT team have the competencies it'll need to survive the remainder of this decade?

We're entering an era where, especially regarding Microsoft, things will change a lot more, and much faster. Some of those changes will be massive, mind-altering and disruptive -- and you'll need to be ready. Take this short quiz, adding up your scores, to see where your team lands. Next month, I'll offer some context for those scores, and suggest some directions to help shore up any weak points.

When asked to rate your "comfort level," be honest and consider the technical abilities of your team, their experience levels at these tasks and their ability to quickly learn new technologies. Remember, this isn't meant to rate how "good" or "bad" your team is. Rather, it's meant to help highlight areas they may need to skill-up in order to meet the changing demands of IT.

If your company determined that the new version of Windows offered compelling new business features, how long would it take you to deploy it to all of your server and client computers (assuming no incompatibilities existed)? Don't consider business-level questions like whether you'd want to deploy a version; think only about how long it'd take, given your current people and systems.

  1. One month or less
  2. 1 to 6 months
  3. 6 months to 1 year
  4. More than 1 year

If you identified a major technology need within your organization, how long would it take your team to assemble a short list of possible solutions suitable for a pilot or deeper evaluation? Think specifically about your team's ability to research previously unknown solutions, identify business criteria and engage with potential vendors to develop a fuller picture of a solution's capabilities.

  1. One week
  2. Up to a month
  3. More than a month, less than 6 months
  4. 6 months or longer

Your comfort level in efficiently managing an IT organization that includes different versions of Windows and non-Windows OSes is...

  1. Very comfortable
  2. Somewhat comfortable
  3. Somewhat uncomfortable
  4. Very uncomfortable

Assuming a cloud solution could meet your legal and industry requirements for security and privacy, how comfortable are you that your team could effectively manage an IT environment that included cloud-based components? Don't think too much about whether your organization would use cloud solutions; assume you've identified one that would be of use and rate your comfort level in actually managing it.

  1. Very comfortable
  2. Somewhat comfortable
  3. Somewhat uncomfortable
  4. Very uncomfortable

If everyone on your IT team -- including administrators -- were asked to learn a new programming language that would be beneficial to their job, how much resistance do you think you'd encounter? Consider your team's personal willingness to tackle new languages, particularly administrators' willingness to learn programming.

  1. No resistance
  2. Some resistance
  3. A lot of resistance
  4. It would never happen for the whole team

Now, score yourself:

  • 20 points per "A" answer
  • 10 points for each "B" answer
  • 5 points for each "C" answer
  • 0 points per "D" answer

A score of 100 means you're an agile, flexible team ready to tackle whatever comes your way. A score of zero means you're seriously lacking in key competencies that will be crucial in keeping the organization balanced over the next few years. Most are likely in between. Lacking in some competencies isn't necessarily a negative thing; after all, some of these things are brand-new to IT in general. But as you've probably guessed, a lot of this scorecard is more about your team's attitude, and the ability of your internal processes to accommodate rapid change. That doesn't even mean rapid change is always good, but the idea here is to assess overall readiness, not to make a value statement. Next month I'll explain how to interpret those results -- and you'll probably be surprised.

About the Author

Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is an Author Evangelist for video training company Pluralsight. He’s the President of PowerShell.org, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. Follow Don on Twitter at @ConcentratedDon.

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