The Overstretched IT Department: When to Hire More Hands


I seek your insights on the adequacy of our IT department’s staffing levels given the breadth of our responsibilities. Our team, comprising myself and a junior technician, supports over 180 staff members. Our tasks range from routine tech support to managing complex IT infrastructure and financials. Despite not operating around the clock, the diversity of our duties—from hands-on technical support to strategic budget management—often leads to a diffusion of focus and expertise. This contrasts sharply with departments like sales administration, where staff specialize in singular, repetitive tasks.

Given this context, would it be prudent to expand our IT team with an additional member dedicated to IT financials and project management, even if their full-time engagement might not be required consistently throughout the day?”


In the dynamic world of Information Technology (IT), the question of optimal staffing levels is as complex as it is crucial. For IT professionals tasked with a wide array of responsibilities, from routine tech support to managing intricate IT infrastructure and financials, the challenge is not just about managing the workload but also about maintaining a high level of expertise and focus.

The scenario presented—a team of two IT professionals supporting over 180 staff members—is not uncommon. The breadth of responsibilities, including hands-on technical support, administration of IT services, and financial management, can lead to a diffusion of focus. This is particularly true when juxtaposed against departments like sales administration, where tasks are more singular and repetitive, allowing for deeper specialization.

Specialization can lead to increased efficiency and expertise in specific domains. When IT staff can focus on a narrower set of tasks, they are more likely to develop specialized skills that can improve the quality of work and the speed at which it is completed.

The Role of an IT Financial and Project Manager

Introducing a new role dedicated to IT financials and project management could bring several benefits:

  • Improved Financial Oversight

    : With a dedicated financial specialist, the IT department can benefit from more accurate budgeting, cost analysis, and financial reporting.

  • Enhanced Project Management

    : A specialist can provide focused attention on project timelines, resource allocation, and vendor management, leading to more successful project outcomes.

  • Strategic Planning

    : A financial and project manager can contribute to long-term strategic planning, ensuring that IT initiatives align with the company’s goals and resources.

  • Balancing Cost and Benefit

    However, the decision to expand the team must be weighed against the cost. If the new member’s engagement would not be full-time, this raises questions about the cost-effectiveness of such an addition. It’s essential to analyze the current workload, the frequency of tasks that require specialized financial or project management skills, and the potential return on investment.


    In conclusion, while the addition of a specialized IT financial and project manager could potentially bring significant benefits in terms of focus, expertise, and efficiency, it is imperative to conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis. The decision should be based on a clear understanding of the department’s needs, the frequency of specialized tasks, and the potential impact on the department’s and the company’s overall performance. Only then can an informed decision be made about the prudent expansion of the IT team.

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