Anyone who’s ever seen an Eisenhower square knows how easy it is to do urgent-but-unimportant stuff today, and put off important-but-non-urgent stuff until tomorrow. We all do it. The danger with that approach is that projects that are actually vital are always on tomorrow’s to-do list – never today’s. Here are 5 IT projects it’s time to shunt up the list to job #1.
1: Software updates – especially in end devices
Increasingly, inhouse IT departments are moving towards a ‘push’ model of updating software, one that distributes software updates to devices on the network from a central point. But that transition’s far from over and in some IT departments it’s still necessary to physically go out and update software. If the machines that need updating are in distant corners of the company buildings IT can end up supporting four different releases of the same software.
2: Job descriptions
Jobs exist now that didn’t even two years ago. Go back six years and the landscape has changed unrecognizably. But when’s the last time job descriptions in your department were updated? Go back over them and make sure they’re up to date or you’ll find that when you need to know who’s in charge of cloud issues or social media outreach it turns out that officially, no-one is.
3: Spare parts and old equipment
Below the top layer, there’s probably equipment in the back room for repairing external dial-up modems, spare 5½” floppy disk drives and a couple telegraph keys near the back. It makes sense to keep this equipment to cannibalize it for spare parts or in case it’s needed, but unless you’re building a steampunk laptop in your spare time some of this stuff just needs to go. Getting round to this job isn’t always easy, but managing it at least once a yea shouldn’t be too hard.
4: Asset inventorying
Asset inventorying software has been on the market for a decade or more, but many IT pros still don’t have a clear understanding of how many of their servers are idle or underutilized. An asset inventory can identify these and help you decide whether there’s slack in the system or whether you’re running servers that just can’t cope with modern demands and need to be replaced.
5: Vendor agreements
IT departments are often missing something vital, despite all that spare equipment: contracts. Many are short as many as a third of all the contracts that cover their agreements with their vendors. If these are missing, ask vendors for copies and check what they cover. Your relationship with the vendor may have changed, or the type of provision on offer might have moved with the times. Make sure your contracts are complete and up-to-date.