Monday, November 2, 2009

Juggle the infrastructure (Part 7 of 11 on Managing Tech 2 Meet Mission)

A jugglers hands are a critical tool in making the magic happen.

So when we first start to learn to juggle our instinct is to stare at them and figure out why they are catching the balls. We look at our hand as it releases the ball, then quickly scan over to the other hand to see if we are going to catch it. But as we look at one hand, the other one is also supposed to be simultaneously doing its part. Plus we may be so busy looking at our hands, that we dont even see that the ball went the wrong direction and we dont stand a chance of catching it anyway.

However if you talk to a juggler, they will tell you the key to juggling is to watch the balls, not your hands. You should be able to know your hands will be in the right spot without looking. You have to train your hands to catch the ball based on where you saw the ball was headed.

Social media, gadgets and technology whiz bangs are great at making us loose sight of the basics.  How can we ever manage all these new balls in the air when we havent even trained our hands to catch the ones already in the air?

Every organization needs to be able to depend on their core technology to be there to catch the balls (daily work) and throw them back up without looking at their hands (technology). Technology should be transparent like the jugglers hands, he doesnt seem them, they just do their job.

Sure there may be an occasional dropped ball, but well trained hands will be able to pick it up and get started where it left off.

While I love conferences like NTEN, enjoy reading blogs and heart social networks, how do we ever believe we will get our organizations to embrace technology if our core infrastructure doesnt work? Sure Facebook would be awesome, but our PC's are too old and bandwidth is strained. Sure I would love to launch a video campaign but first I have to clean our network storage because it is full. Why dont we have more information getting put in front of leadership that helps them understand this point?

Seriously, dont start juggling 5 balls until you can handle the 3 you already have.

Anyway. Kevin Lo and Willow Cook do a great job with their chapter on Introduction to IT and Systems.  I have always been a HUGE RAVING FAN of TechSoup because they will not and have not given up on the basics.  They are still willing to tell you what a VPN is or what is important in IT security or why/why not buy refurbished. Stop reading my blog and go to TechSoup now!

Over 11 weeks I am doing a themed series of blog posts. Each week I will write about a chapter of the book called Managing Technology to meet your Mission. This week is on the 7th chapter by By Kevin Lo and Willow Cook called Introduction to IT and Systems. You should totally buy the book. (In case you are wondering, I am volunteering to do this, I am not getting paid or in any other way reimbursed for this. I just love NTEN and their events.)

Flickr photos by Cayusa and by Shannon Henry 

1 comment:

The A.R.T. of Technology said...

at the core, keeping the trains running on-time is tech meeting the mission - walk before you run - be tactical, but build a tech strategy with a team of key staff, including the CEO - in the NP world, tech staff are truly 'jugglers' - get an extra hand by designing IT goals that are aligned with the Mission.