If you are like me, you are very busy and when you get in that mode, you forget to plan.

Winston Churchill said “Those who fail to plan to fail”

This is true in about any aspect of life, but I want to relate it to the Technology Business in general. In my consulting role I walk into emergences from time to time. Some of them cannot be avoided, but most can. For example, I have walked into upgrades that have not gone very well. You ask, do you have a backup and they give you a blank stare. If they would have planned the upgrade, a backup would have been on that list.

Another good example is walking into a place with the email server out of disk space. Besides not monitoring the system a process should have been put in place or a tool purchased to notify someone before the situation lead to down time.

With how busy we are these days, people want to forget about the plan and just do it (Like the famous tag line from Nike). The problem with the just do it, it critical steps are missed and you risk a failure or even downtime that can cost your business money.

What you should do is each year sit down with a master project list that you will be performing each year. You then take that project list and assign it to the various people involved. Have them create an implementation or upgrade plan. They should present this to their team for review. The peer review is important to ensure you are not missing any steps.

You should have some sort of objective and timely of when a project is completed and what a successful project is.

You should also sit down and list out who is responsible for the systems and software that is in place and what procedures you have to monitor them. If it is a manual check, that is ok but make sure someone is assigned to do that check. It is a manual check, you might want to see if an affordable solution exists to automate those checks.

I think in this industry people think they don’t need to plan, but you should at least a quarter to half you time planning. I have found the more time I spend planning, the less failure and down time I have.