Most of us are aware we should get our oil changed every few thousand miles and change the filters in our furnace every couple of months. We perform these activities so that these systems that are critical to getting us where we need to go, or keeping our house comfortable, can perform at their best. However, when it comes to our own bodies, we often forget the importance of regular maintenance.
I’ve been postponing a lot of my personal “maintenance” tasks for years, which is why I’ve set off on a few journeys in 2016. Most importantly, I am making a more concerted effort to become a healthier and happier person. This is includes a number of different “transformative” projects. The steps in my journey include starting a new 90 day fitness routine, following a much healthier diet and having more honest dialogue with important people in my life.
As I think about how my personal life intersects with my professional life, it is amazing how similar our challenges can be to those of IT infrastructure. (And no, I am not going to go all Transcendent on you). I just on boarded a new client into our Performance Services practice, and it is easy to draw parallels to my personal journey. They have inherited servers and networking infrastructure that is aging, out of warranty, and unable to support the client’s organization. There was no sense of ownership over data or systems, leading to a huge sprawl of unnecessary resources, most of which were being wasted. This led to a very displeased user community that sees IT as a burden to their daily life!
So, like my journey, the adjustments needed to address the lack of maintenance in this environment will not be completed overnight. The client and environment must go through a few transformative projects to remediate and re-establish a proper base in which to operate. Similar to how I chose my 90 day program, we will assess this environment, interview the stakeholders to understand their goals, and then develop a program that will get us the results we want.
The ‘change in diet and exercise’ will include working with those same stakeholders to identify leaders of applications/systems (or have the tasks delegated to us). By doing this, we can ensure proper and regular maintenance for their data and systems. We’ll also need to engage the users to regain their trust. It takes a long time to build trust, and only a few seconds to destroy it. Maintaining open dialogue will create a healthy relationship with IT.
What does regular maintenance mean to me? And how does it compare to infrastructure?
As with all journeys, there are detours and unexpected events along the way. I’ll post a ‘health status update’, for both myself and our new client, in the next few months.