Check and Recheck

Check and Recheck

Have you ever been faced with a daunting and overwhelming task?  Have you wondered to yourself, "where do I even begin"?  As we adjust to the new normal of a remote workforce, it will be important to make sure we stay organized and focused on effective communication and project deliveries more than ever. 

IT Project Management
Making unmanagable IT projects and services; managable.
  1. Before you begin, create a list of tasks.
  2. Use an established system to manage complex IT project deliveries.
  3. Don't over-engineer a solution, your goal is not to create a Frankenstein; but to work more (not less) effectively.

The Full Scoop

A few years back I was sitting in an executive meeting in San Francisco, one of my most favorite cities.  We were reviewing requests from the business for IT projects for the upcoming year, there were to be over 100 new efforts for our team to work on; a lot of work to say the least.  Where do we begin, even working on one of these efforts would prove to be challenging.  Well ... as they say, you do it the same way you would eat an elephant, one bite at a time.

Managing IT Services on behalf of a business can be a real challenge, there are so many processes and items to track.  You add to that active incoming requests to a helpdesk, software support, vendor support; how can it all be done?  Checklists to the rescue!

Some years back a book was published named, "The Checklist Manifesto".  To greatly paraphrase, the author stressed the importance of using checklists to avoid mistakes.  That you should not come up with verbose and exhaustive lists, and to remember that - there are many applications for a checklist; so be creative.

My Father is a pilot and over the years our family has enjoyed many trips in his 1948 Bonanza A35.  Something that always stuck out to me as a child, was before flying, he would run through a detailed checklist.  Even if we had recently flow or just landed, he would re-run through his checklist.  Fuel, propeller, flaps, parking brakes, it was always the same list.  He knew it well but regardless made sure to run through his checklists before (and after) flights.  It was so critical that no mistakes be made, that he went through his pre and post flight checklist each and every time.

Whatever your checklist or project management solution is, keep in mind that the world of Managed IT Services is already complicated enough, don't make it more complicated.  If you're working on an Azure or AWS initiative, performing a 365 migration, or performing a vendor supported software upgrade; create a list.  Start by creating a list, and as you collaborate with your broader team, you will find you've launched your journey to mapping out your next steps.   Break that elephant down into smaller bites that you can manage, rather than being hit with "analysis paralysis" before you've even begun.

A project management system can be key to your success as well.  We all at times become quite tired of the never ending variations in "excel file issue tracking logs" that seem to pop up during a software or hardware implementation.  Consider a project management system such as Teamwork, a personal favorite we use to track Professional Services efforts.  Excel can be great for small efforts, but for ongoing or large projects; it can quickly become unruly.  Versioning in particular can be a challenge.

If you want to break a complex project down into smaller components, or if you need to ensure accuracy in the field of Information Technology, Aviation or Medicine; any field or task really where you don't want to forget something important, nothing quite beats a checklist.

As you use technology solutions to help manage complicated efforts, or even the most mundane things that must be done (Reminder: Trash pickups are on Friday's!), you will find your capacity to accomplish more is greatly increased; checklists are your friend!