I see it as two separate areas that are worth getting mastery over - the "what" and the "how".
At any senior level, you need to understand and embrace what the organization is there to do - make money, provide a non-profit benefit, service a governmental dictate - whatever the driving goal is, you need the business savvy to understand it. You also need to understand how the business sees itself, organizes itself and pays for itself. The essence is - before you can cover how you plan to do something, you need a good sense of what you're going to do and why it's important for the business.
I really dislike the inflacted prices of MBAs these days, but the type of knowledge I'm talking about is covered in a good MBA program. I took an MBA-like certification provided by a well known university and it really opened my eyes to this side of the work. I have issues, though, with the crazy costs of brand name schools and I'm not so sure they are worth the money... but the coursework to look into includes:
- Organizational Culture
I'm loathe to say you have to have an MBA to succeed - it sure is a nice credential, but I think you can learn what you need from other sources - books, independent study, workshops, etc.
Everything I recognize from you list is training on how to do what you probably already do. Training will help you to avoid learning from painful experiences, and it may teach you tricks you don't know... but common sense can supplement just about any of the topics.
You can't take everything, and unfortunately, managers need to know a bit about everything.
I'd say the key is to figure out your group's big pain points, and look to training to provide you with strategy and ideas. Don't fix what ain't broken. For example:
- Project management = the various certification and training may help you both communicate with other parts of your organization that speak project management jargon, and it should help you manage projects to a cost and schedule better than you did before.
- ITIL - as far as I can tell, great for understanding "services", but I'll admit I'm weak here.
- Process improvement - CMM, CMMI, Lean 6 Signma - and others are all various ways to figure out how to do what you do better. The various styles of process improvement can work better or worse in different organizations. Sometimes it's industry specific (the DoD business areas often go for CMMI, it helps with winning bids in that arena), sometimes it's cultural. A big thing about most process improvement techniques - it has to be embraced throughout the organization. Don't get into this if you aren't considering a cultural shift, or if it's already part of your culture, learn what's appropriate to the place you work.
- Security - I can't help it - I have a bias as a security nerd - these days, a big chunk of the money and the risk that goes to IT is security related. With the core value of many companies now instantiated in data, there's a big risk to not addressing security issues sanely. Managers have to able to speak IT security to the business, and IMO it doesn't matter what kind of IT manager you are, you need at least some baseline here. Things like a CISSP can be an overload, but something in that vein is worth it.
I always liked the explanation that managers exist, in many ways, to translate from the world of the individual contributor to the world of the business. You need to speak the language that your folks speak well enough to understand them and make useful input; you need to understand the way the greater world speaks well enough to explain IT decisions.
So the biggest factor is - what will it take to speak the language you are weakest on? In some companies, that's project management. In others it may be jargon unique to the business or industry.
Certification and other Credentials
It's my belief that it's not so much what certification, as showing a focus on learning. I have yet to see a single certification or degree that was universally awesome. Get a MS in Computer Science and someone will want an MBA. Get an MBA and someone will want an MS. Get a certification provided by Microsoft and the next trend will be Oracle.
A given certificate program is as good as what you get out of it. Learn something useful, figure out how to use it to make the place you work better, talk about that in your next interview and you're in good shape. I have trouble finding one to be more marketable than the next.
I feel like a lot of the references out there are fluffy. Even Accounting and Economics, which have plenty of math, can have some real shades of grey due to the complexity of the world at large. The utmost test is - when you attend, read, or learn anything:
- do you understand it?
- can you see a way to use it to solve a problem that you have?
- does it make sense?
No system is comprehensive, but many will offer ways to solve problems you don't have, or which sound good, but once you try to use them, they make no sense. So - whenever you're listening, reading, skimming, etc - think about how you'd use it and whether it would really make any sense.
Mileage can vary hugely - books I love are boring to others, or seem useless to those who don't have the weak points or problems that I have... as long as it works for you, I wouldn't knock it.