Leadership is becoming more and more digital, especially in the home office. I have also been running a department with three teams for 9 months and we have been working from home even before COVID-19. I saw my job as a manager in the digital world as creating an environment in which everyone would like to work and there is transparency. As a manager, I also have to be able to monitor work and report to the management again and again despite the distance. I believe that in the digital world every manager should actively help shape this important task and knowing how to set up and use tools like Jira is very important. You also become a little IT admin and I even think that’s a good thing!

Define processes

As a manager, you should first define clear processes in the form of workflows. Important: Think digitally, so what can the process look like in a digital context. This requires a lot of abstract thinking and a little experience. For example, the process for a customer inquiry is:

  • new request
  • Support answered
  • Wait for customers
  • Customer responded
  • Now it’s a couple of rounds of communication
  • Optional: request is escalated
  • Request is closed

You notice that this workflow in the form of processes is an important managerial task. You shouldn’t give them up. It is your department and you should manage and design these processes too. I currently have three teams and have defined a process for each team. There are also clear workflows in consulting and projects, which I can see at any time.

Map processes in software

The task now is to map the workflows in tools and also to map the corresponding KPI overviews there. For example, you want to know how many inquiries each employee is processing or which cases have escalated status and much more.

I set up most of the tools myself with the help of my employees. It’s my processes and I want to make sure that they are correctly entered into a tool. For example, I introduced Jira Service Desk for support and had to familiarize myself with it for almost a week before I was able to fully configure everything. It was important to me that I have the skills to change my processes in the tool at any time and to be able to manage them like a manager.

It is important for you that you build appropriate management views for yourself. For example, I can see how many new consulting tasks we have, who is working on which tasks and how many. I also have views on how many tasks we can manage per week and how many new ones come in. This is how I can identify bottlenecks. I can also see in one view which cases have been escalated to me. Yes: I also have a to-do list and check myself out.

All of these views require a certain IT know-how and I believe that every manager should be able to build such views for themselves.

Training and click instructions

Now it is a matter of training the employees in the respective tools and providing click instructions for new employees. Software like Jira can be used in many ways, but it is important that the software is used in such a way that my processes and views work. I also consider this to be my job and I believe that it is a good sign for the workforce. It’s my processes and tools: that’s why I like to train them.

It is an important task of a manager to design and implement processes and to help employees work accordingly.

Monitoring the processes

Now it is important to monitor whether processes are being adhered to by means of sensible views and reviews. The processes also need to be improved again and again. I am always happy to receive feedback on this. Above all, the views that I have built show me that we work efficiently and, despite virtual work, I can control my department even better than before on site.

Conclusion

I believe that a manager should actively shape the digital change and should also dive into the operative business again, at least in terms of workplace IT. Of course, external freelancers can help you set it up, but in the end it’s your processes and your department. I would not like to let this issue out of hand.

I devote a lot of time to providing my employees with a good environment to work and I can still draw the necessary reports myself in order to make well-founded decisions. I also see my role as part-time admin for the department not as a demotion but as an important task. I actively shape my department digitally and learn new things every day.

Tip: I have this on this Book virtual teams and home office written.

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Dr. Dominic Lindner
Author

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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