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20 of the Most Painful Lessons IT Pros Had to Learn the Hard Way

We could all easily fill a book with the mistakes we have made in our careers. Writing for, Dave Sparks opts just to write a plus-sized list of the lessons he and others have learned from the School of Hard Knocks. If you read this list now, maybe you can save yourself a couple bruises to the head later.

Twenty Lessons

  1. Complex systems are expensive.
  2. Complex systems will be replaced.
  3. Lack of pre-planning and testing will bite you.
  4. Don’t underestimate the complexity of running a network remotely.
  5. The current design isn’t going to last.
  6. Don’t assume.
  7. Backups are worthless if you don’t test them.
  8. Vet consultants for interoperability and business alignment.
  9. Always be monitoring your performance efficiently
  10. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not out there.
  11. Your redundant systems will be broken.
  12. Crisis management training shouldn’t just be about putting out fires.
  13. Remember to think about the future.
  14. You’re only as good as your ISP.
  15. Don’t just look at the current choke point.
  16. If the network has a problem, then the business has a problem.
  17. When upgrading equipment, don’t make network changes.
  18. Watch out for those sneaky users and their nasty traffic patterns.
  19. Protect your network by managing your SLAs.
  20. Everyone has different expectations from IT.

If systems do not need to be complex, do not let them become complex. The odds are good that in spite of your best efforts to build longevity, the current design will not last for long. In general, assumptions are never a safe bet in IT. Instead, do all the planning and testing, and find ways to automate alerts that give you exactly the information you need about a problem and nothing more. Likewise, stay vigilant about locating not just current bottlenecks but anticipated future bottlenecks as well. The overall health of the network is vital to business operations.

Looking across the many lessons, the recurring themes appear to be the ephemeral nature of systems, the importance of risk management, and the need to seek out feedback about critical processes. To read these lessons in greater depth, and accompanied by myriad quotes from executives, you can read the full article here:

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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