My Senior IT Technician is Leaving. What Now?

August 14, 2017

The most senior IT employee in a small IT team of 3-4 (who does most of the advanced technical work) is leaving. 

The options now are to either hire a senior replacement or promote a mid-level resource and hire a new junior.

Or are there maybe even other options?


One of our IT Leader Mastermind groups recently tackled this question. Here is a summarised version of the outcomes.

The Mastermind Answer

The Mastermind participants came up with three options, in the order of preference:

  1. Find a Managed Service Provider who can handle many of the advanced technical requirements ratehr than trying to keep all roles in-house. With this option, one gets access to a full team of specialists. To ensure good service to the users, keep employing junior to mid-level internal resources in addition to optionally onsite resources supplied by an MSP.
  2. Hire a senior person (more of a Technical Specialist / Manager) who can replace the skills of the person leaving, manage all technical aspects and can also help grow the existing resource(s).
  3. Hire someone at a similar level as the current resource(s) and let them support each other. This gives the junior person(s) an opportunity to grow while the IT Leader steps into the senior role. Unfortunately, this puts a complete hold on getting business value from technology (and puts the IT function back at just providing a technical platform).

Some More Insights

  • When a person in a small team leaves, it is an amazing opportunity to take the step back and look at the big picture again. How can the IT outcomes be significantly improved by solving this challenge? Just replacing the departing resource usually is not the most optimal solution.
  •  It might be that the IT leader feels "rusty" and sees this as an opportunity to reassert his/her "own worth". The big question to answer: Is this really a career move or just an excuse to stay in a comfort zone? Being technical in itself is not wrong and technical specialists will be needed in the future. One cannot, however, be both, a technical specialist as well as an IT Manager or ultimately a CIO. These two career paths are mutually exclusive.

Pro Tip

Option 1 and 2 above might mean that the IT Leader is now out of his/her “technology comfort zone” and has to work hard on establishing a new value... read Business CIOs Urgently Needed.

About the author

Business Agility Coach | Abundance Thinker | Helping Mid-Market Companies Evolve by Using the Kanban Methodology
- As trained Industrial Engineer with close on 25 years' experience as IT Professional and Business Executive in the mid-market IT industry, Mathias Tölken loves to share his experiences and expertise with others.

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