In Preparing for Battle, Plans are Useless...

... but planning is indispensable.
(Dwight D. Eisenhower)

An IT leaders, we are very familiar with crisis management.  Equipment never fails at a convenient time.  Our systems are critical to our organization's operation, and as such we are usually part of first response in a crisis where business continuance is impacted.

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.[1]
Let me take some liberty and apply this rule to IT management.  It is my observation that IT organizations are spending approximately 80% of their time in a reactive mode, and 20% of their time in a responsive mode.  It's easy to look busy in IT... something will break soon! Planning is usually relegated to a few meetings a year, when the IT Operating Plan is sent out (usually during budget season).

To be effective, today's IT leader needs to reverse the ratio. 80% of your operation should be responsive - helping the organization achieve its strategic goals, increase its efficiency, or be even more differentiated from its competitors.  Things will break, so leaving 20% of your operation to be reactive is not a bad idea.

Does this sound unbelievable?  It won't be a quick transition, and you won't do it alone. Gather the best and brightest resources around you (some of them likely work for you already) and block out time to engage in planning your transition, planning your response to key trends (e.g. consumer devices), planning what it would look like if everything in IT was working as it should.

We can't predict the future, or determine exactly how things will transpire (i.e. the Battle), be we can engage in scenario planning.  A great tool for IT leaders is Daniel Rasmus' book "Listening to the Future".  

Let me end this post with another quote:  "If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail."


Post a Comment