Managers Should Perform Maintenance

IT managers should, from time to time, participate in routine maintenance events. I just did and I learned a lot. In brief, I made the following 3 observations:
  1. Maintenance events suck!
    • Even when well planned, with thoroughly defined steps and contingency plans, maintenance is tedious and stressful.
  2. Checklists need to be reviewed and updated often.
    • Checklists are useful to ensuring consistent results. But they break down when their content doesn't reflect the current state of your technology. I made 8 discoveries about our checklist that require addressing and correcting.
  3. You're only as good as your tools.
    • We use a number of tools before, during, and after maintenance events. I found some glaring issues with some of them. For example, some are needlessly complex and some don't quite do what we need/expect them to.

So? What to do?

First, I'm going to make sure my team is well stocked with refreshments and snacks during maintenance events. They need something to take the edge off. Second, we're going to make it a post-maintenance task to update the checklist based on a postmortem analysis of the event. Third, we're going to find better tools to replace what doesn't work.

And finally, I'm going to take my team to lunch next week to thank them for their continued efforts.