Patience grasshopper.


Patience is a virtue.

We’ve all head the cliche and we’ve all fallen victim to it in the past. Wanting something now. Not being willing or able to wait for something.

I’ve come to realize that in the IT industry, patience is a true virtue and almost critical for self-preservation in this industry.

It’s also very, very rare.

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It might seem counter productive. In an industry where the latest and greatest is the rule of thumb. Where people demand “more, better, faster, smaller/bigger” and want it yesterday, it might seem counter intuitive.

But it’s not.

To me, having and practicing patience is central to IT survival. It’s certainly part of Zen.

Too often, I think we get caught up in the rolling tide of IT and technology change. We forget that there is a tremendous benefit to sitting back, being patient and watching how things develop.

I’ve learned that in several specific ways lately. The idea that if something isn’t a fit, don’t force it. Step back, and wait for the right thing to come along or develop. It will happen.

Take software.

I think too often, organizations spend vast amounts of time thinking about a particular “trend” might meet their needs, and not enough time really evaluating to see if what is available really does fit their needs.

“Hey it looks good…grab it and deploy it”.

“Heck, it meets ‘most’ of what we want to do. Buy it.”

“OMG. We can’t wait, we have to have something NOW!!”

Or my personal favorite, “I don’t care if you think it is too early or the system isn’t ready, I want to go live NOW!!”

How many of us have heard these before?

And it not just in the software area.

I think overall, there are times we need to slow down, take a deep breath, and really understand what we are trying to do.

Now, I’m not saying that deadlines are bad. I’m not saying that getting a product to market before a competitor should be take lightly.

Exactly the opposite.

I’m saying that in planning, in thinking about things, in evaluating things, we all need to step back and be a bit more Zen.

Don’t rush into things just because you can.

Don’t be in a hurry to change platforms just because a competitor is doing it.

And most importantly, don’t change directions on a project/platform/strategy so often that your employees get dizzy.

Stop. Think. Plan.

The best way I can describe it is from a quote from the television series West Wing.

Sam Seabourn (Rob Lowe) has been playing chess with the President (Martin Sheen) during a day filled with typical President-stuff. Domestic issues, international crisis, an unruly Congress, and general mayhem.

The President has just pulled off a bit of internal legerdemain involving a vast amount of insight. Lowe’s character, over a chess board, asks him “How do you do it? How to you make the right call and know it’s the right call.”

The President looks at him and says, “It’s like chess. You stop. You see the whole board. You understand your options. Then, you make the call, and make your move. “

IT Management should be the same.

Stop. See the situation. Understand your options. Make your move.

You’ll be more effective if you do.

Now…we’ll talk about non-attachment later.

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