Those who fail to plan, plan to fail!
However, there is the perception with IT Operations that it is impossible to plan. In every organization I’ve supported, the argument has been that there are too many pressing issues that prevent IT from developing (let alone executing) any plans. Similarly, staff will note that it is impossible to know what issues you may encounter from day to day that may take priority.
While those things are true, there is still a need for adequate planning. Planning allows you to anticipate and resolve issues before they become major problems for the organization (fire drill, anyone?). I have successfully applied Agile management practices to effectively plan for both short-term and long-term activities in organizations.
I conduct a stand-up meeting every morning with my team. Depending on the size of the team and the activities underway, these meetings can take less than 15 minutes but should last no more than 30 minutes. It’s a great way to get a handle on the state of current IT operations. This is also a good way to identify where resources may need realigning or redeploying to problem areas. The team is empowered and both they and I have clear agreement on the priority tasks that need to be completed for the day.
I also conduct a longer weekly planning meeting (45 minutes to an hour). This is how we plan for, track, and manage longer term tasks and projects e.g. infrastructure upgrades, laptop lease refreshes, on-premise system updates, etc. I utilize a Kanban task board broken out into relevant categories e.g. IT Operations, Cybersecurity, Reporting & Analytics, etc.
One critical item that benefits from advance planning is scheduled maintenance activities and system outages. Every organization has critical working periods when it is challenging to take systems offline. I work with stakeholders to identify maintenance windows with the least amount of impact each month. Scheduling these far in advance allows staff to adequately plan for workarounds if needed.
Note: the migration of workloads and systems to the cloud significantly reduces the need & impact of system outages.
Azunna Anyanwu is a seasoned Technology Executive, Servant Leader, and Problem Solver. He is a trusted advisor who provides strategic technology leadership to IT and business unit executives as well as corporate boards. He is a servant leader who effectively manages, develops, and mentors people and teams. He leverages agile principles and practices to get to the heart of client business challenges and rapidly deliver innovative technology solutions.
Azunna has 20+ years of experience across IT operations, IT strategy, cyber security, and business (digital) transformation activities.
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