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IT Chief of Staff: How to
Run the Office of the CIO

Defining the Role of the IT Chief of Staff: Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Avoid these common pitfalls when setting up the role of the IT chief of staff:

1. Not Clearly Defining the Role.

With over 50% of IT chiefs of staff moving into newly-created roles, defining the core responsibilities of the role can be problematic. We see significant differences in activity ownership, reporting structure, and even the role title itself.

This means that it is often incumbent on the IT chief of staff to communicate their role to IT and business stakeholders, while at the same time mobilizing their support for IT strategic plans to ensure effective execution.

2. Overcommitting the Role to Too Many Activities.

The ambiguous nature of the IT chief of staff role offers opportunities to add new activities and responsibilities. While this can increase the visibility and perceived strategic importance of the position, it puts the IT chief of staff at risk of overcommitting themselves: 85% of IT chiefs of staff want to increase their ownership of at least three activities, while 58% are looking to take greater ownership of at least 10 different activities.

3. Misaligned Objectives.

IT chief of staff goals impact the activities to which they allocate their time, so CIOs and chiefs of staff should consider the key outlook of the role and ensure that incentives align directly with the outcomes the chief of staff needs to enable.

For Direction Setters, they goals should skew towards IT and business growth or talent development objectives. Orchestrators’ targets should be weighted more heavily towards IT cost and efficiency, or the success of specific initiatives that they lead.