The Incident Manager: five vital skills for success

The Incident Manager: five vital skills for success

Amrit SaroyaIncident Managers are crucial to IT service operations in any organization. When something goes wrong, they provide immediate support, commanding and controlling major incidents.

A successful Incident Manager needs to be proactive and a real people person. But what other skills do they need to excel in the role?

  1. An eye for detail
    An Incident Manager must ensure processes and policies are being adhered to and standards are being met. To do that, they’ll need an excellent working knowledge of best practice such as ITIL® or COBIT. They’ll also need to be able to assess data, identifying gaps, trends and inaccuracies, and turn that data into actionable outcomes and opportunities
  2. Be calm under pressure
    Incident Managers are on the front line during major service issues, so need a cool head and the ability to make others feel at ease. As well as keeping calm, Incident Managers need to think fast to resolve and restore services within a business
  3. A methodical mind
    As part of their role, Incident Managers need to use systematic methodology to evaluate, design and implement process or technology change to achieve measurable business benefits. They need to make recommendations based on clear, reasoned arguments and be able to spot problems before they occur
  4. A good communicator
    Keeping people informed is crucial, but particularly during a crisis. Incident Managers must be good communicators and able to translate messages and information to people at all levels. They should be empathic, good listeners and able to take negative feedback without being defensive
  5. A problem solver
    An Incident Manager must be adept at finding solutions to problems and trialing different ways to find a resolution. Talking of the skills needed to be an Incident Manager, Orla O’Brien, Incident Manager at Vodafone, says a ‘good technical grounding’ is key to having a ‘perspective on how to approach problems’. This capability might be a natural skill or, like Orla, developed through a degree in engineering.

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