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In Praise of Practice

IT Service Management (ITSM) uses the word “practice” to help describe actions and processes taken – but consider for a moment this memory shared by the IT Skeptic: We have emergency fire drills regularly. Some places have emergency nut-with-a-gun drills. Yet not enough IT shops have Disaster Recovery drills, and it is almost unheard of to have Major Incident or Emergency Change drills. Maybe a one-off rehearsal, but that is not the same thing. My Dad ran a data centre in the 1970s. I was there after school one day when he casually walked up to the fire board, inserted his key, turned it, and clicked a stopwatch. All hell broke loose. When he walked outside 47 seconds later the staff saw the stopwatch and only then knew it was a drill. I believe the OSH lunatics don't allow us to do that any more, but I learned a valuable lesson that day. And this fire drill is also a “practice”, isn’t it? It’s with this in mind that the IT Skeptic praises the idea of practice – and asks why we don’t actually practice disaster recovery drills or major incident drills. In truth, it’s hard to tell how your organization will respond to a critical issue if it’s never happened before, and who doesn’t want to address problems with recovery processes before they complicate recovery? Noting the other uses of the word (including the point that “practice” indicates actually doing rather than theorizing, the IT Skeptic brings up a logical conversation to have with your team about how much they understand and are versed in practicing non-routine elements of ITSM. And, if you’re brave enough, create an emergency situation for the team to handle.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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