My Experience as a vCIO
I had the opportunity to become a vCIO for a medium sized company. I saw the opportunity as a challenge. I have had management training and have been considered a lead technical employee for over six year. What could be so hard… With that said I learned a lot. I was also very disappointed on how I was treated during this transition.
The first rule that has been a motto of mine, Scope it out! If you are asked to take the position on vCIO make sure that there is a Scope of Work (SOW) or at least a contract that outlines what your job function will entail. I was tossed into the vCIO with no direction. I was told to take the leadership role and run the IT department. That would have be an easy task if that was all that was required.
This brings me to the second rule. If you want to be a vCIO you need to manage the department all the way to HR. You need have control of purchase orders, payroll approval, paid time off, etc. A vCIO cannot just lead, you also need to have authority. Without authority this team will do as they see fit.
I had a manager that was very sensitive to how the client view the company. In laymen terms, if you yell loud they with throw resources at the issue. This is not a good way to run a business. In other words, I spent more in my mangers office than I did getting work done. I had to explain more time why I did what I did, then allowing me the time to solve the current issue.
This manager did not have any technical background. They relied on the ability of their employees. When I took a stand on a couple of major issues and found there was no backing. The question for this manager that still haunts me is “Why?” I would explain why and the glazed look on their face said it all. I was on an island and had to fight every battle for myself.