Along time ago, eWeek’s Peter Coffee published an article entitled ‘Top 10 Stupid Things that Smart IT Pros Still Do.” (I would link to it but eWeek has removed it) I really liked the article and kept the 10 things with me as a reminder. How many do you do? My thoughts are in ( ) after each one.
10) Let vendor upgrades define your path of least resistance (Better yet, don’t let the vendor define anything for you).
9) Install all software with default settings (Ouch – Guilty as charged at times).
8) Let users set de facto policy for password complexity and change interval (Let Group Policy do it instead).
7) Assume that hardware and software vendors will tell you whatever you need to know (they most certainly won’t and in fact, you also shouldn’t tell them what you want to hear as they are likely to say exactly that, with sometimes only a tiny nugget of truth).
6) Never get out in the office and walk around with open eyes and ears (People talk about IT every single day, are you listening?).
5) Behave like a system administrator, not like a center of innovation and strategy (The word innovation has become such a buzzword that I almost cringe when I see it. So I no longer like the wording on this and would rephrase it to be, ‘Don’t act like a cost center, or else you will only be a cost center.” Instead of the ambiguous ‘innovation’ word, I prefer to think of it as adding value. What can you do to create value? Is it automating a process? Improving uptime or reliability of a series of systems? Is it simplifying a process? ).
4) Treat IT as a world unto itself (Although I’ve found networking is very important, don’t only talk to other IT people).
3) Speak to the rest of the company only in numbers (See #5, add value, talk like a business exec, know what they do to perform their jobs).
2) Act like an employee, not like a member of a professional community (Employees that aren’t a part of something larger can be outsourced in about 3 pages. This can honestly be very simple, like helping someone set up a conference room to stream March Madness. Do what an outsourced IT department wouldn’t, be a valuable part of the company).
1) Keep doing things manually, again and again and again (Those people will be the first replaced by robots).