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“I love it when a plan comes together.” These words were uttered by John “Hannibal” Smith, the leader of the A-Team during each and every episode of the show’s run during the 80’s.


Like the inconceivable car crashes and shootouts that took place (which somehow never resulted in any scrapes or bruises for the team), this line became the identity of the A-Team.

CIOs can relate to Hannibal’s sentiment. When a plan comes together for them – whether it’s instilling business model innovation, procuring the most effective IT solutions for ongoing project needs, or delivering valuable process change through technology– there’s no better feeling as a business leader.

Hannibal was able to repeat that memorable line show after show after show because he had…well…the rest of the A-Team to help bring the plan together. 


The former Lt. Colonel was forced to think outside of the conventional approaches to outmaneuver the competition and keep his team moving forward. Forward-thinking CIOs are also faced with the same challenge. 

For CIOs to see their plan come together (whether conventional or unconventional), they need to pick their IT team members wisely. Like the A-Team, all members need to execute their roles in concert and combine their strengths to lead a successful mission.

Here are the key skills and roles CIOs should look for when assembling their own A-Team: 

Face: Director of IT 

  • Expert in the latest and greatest technologies
  • Can manage the rest of the IT team to put the plan in motion
  • Able to collaborate with other business departments
  • Manages the operations and systems at the ground level


The Director of IT and the CIO should be on the same page. Like Lieutenant Templeton Peck (more commonly known as “Face”), the Director of IT is the team’s second-in-command.

He or she must be able to execute the CIO’s vision, and when needed, provide detailed, accurate updates on how the IT infrastructure is running. The Director of IT is the CIO’s eyes and ears inside the operational trenches. 

B.A. Baracus: System Administrator/Network Engineer 

  • Dependable and technically savvy
  • Handles a lot of the heavy lifting
  • Installs, maintains, and updates systems
  • Not fazed by any technical challenge


Other than the attitude – B.A. was a lot crankier than some system admins/network engineers might be – there are a lot of similarities between the roles.

As the A-Team’s chief mechanic, B.A. was able to fix anything. Engineers and admins will also be called on to troubleshoot and support different system and network issues. They are often the glue to keep the infrastructure intact on the back end.

Howling “Mad” Murdock: Security and Quality Assurance (QA) Professionals

  • The last line of defense
  • Adaptable and agile
  • Able to react quickly to new security threats
  • Improvises and finds the best route out of trouble 


Murdock was called “mad” for a reason. He was kind of insane. But as the team’s pilot, he was also their bailout man whenever threats came close to crashing the mission down to the ground.

Similarly, information security analysts and QA members are trying to prevent bigger issues from popping up as projects advance. They should be able to come through in the clutch when the stakes are at the most critical.

Now it’s time to put your team into action.

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Written by IBM BP Network