One of the more annoying themes in IT is the lack of understanding that anything valuable and complex takes time. We recently launched a new service at work and I’ve spent the past month on the phone talking to people and discussing some common problems and issues we have with the business / people and the fallacy of impatience.
I need huge margins and immediate results. I understand, I need to lose 50lb in one day but the only way for that to happen is if I chainsaw myself in half. Nobody wants to clean that up – and I’m pretty sure it would be less of a legal challenge than if you took that chainsaw to your clients Exchange server. Yet many people want to do just that. Ain’t nobody got time moment.
Since this is likely to only be valuable to people that don’t have a long attention span I’ll make it quick: Nothing good happens fast. If you have no experience and you think you can fix a problem in a split second because everyone around you is an idiot, grab a buddy – use them as a human shield when you earn your “experience” and something blows up.
When it comes to complex issues, particularly the ones involving the cloud and infrastructure / process shift, it takes time. You won’t be a millionaire by the end of the week. Or month. Or a year. But that doesn’t mean you just turn your back to it and wait for it to errode you out of business – ask all the Geeksquad MSPs how well they are doing next time you visit them at Target, Car Max or another IT vendor job – ignorance is not a business model. It takes time to build, promote, sell, implement and sustain a new business line or a new product and if you’re just hoping to find that next “set it and forget it” piece of IT then it’s going to be a rough winter.
I have (a lot of) projects that fail. I don’t want to give you an impression that I have any magic solution to failing, just my process for handling failure.
1. It starts with planning. All new ideas come with plans, tracks, stages, estimates, priorities, outcomes, scenarios and so forth. Most crackheaded ideas don’t even see the light of day.
2. It’s sustained through monitoring. You have to stay on top of your plans and you have to keep on checking how things are going. Everyone at every level of management will tell you that their reports are task avoidance ninjas, trained in the art of avoiding any hard prolonged work. Quick bursts of output, no problem. Repetitive mindless droning, got it. Six week project with deliverables, unknowns, research, etc – it’s due in six weeks, right? We’ll worry about it in 5, I’m stalking something on eBay. If you aren’t paying attention to your business nobody else is.
3. It lives and dies through evaluation and persistence. How is the plan progressing? Has anything changed? Do we make changes or push forward?
Ineffective people fall on the opposite parts of the spectrum: They either get consumed in their projects and never get anything done and don’t know how to quit… or they quit at the first problem they encounter and don’t give their projects enough time to develop.
I want it all and I want it now. But I don’t want to take the time to get there and I don’t want it to require hard work. Who am I to say you can’t dream?
But waking up in the IT services landscape we have today paints a picture of ridiculously complex and overpriced infrastructure that never lived up to it’s billing, competing with a cloud infrastructure that is seemingly free and easy but it’s really neither. The challenge of bridging the two for a business is a difficult, painstaking and process oriented task that will be neither easy nor quick. And that’s your job. Embrace it, take it and build a business around it.
Or look at the alternative: It is quick and easy and nobody needs you. Your call.