Regular cooks look for a recipe, check their cupboards and fridge and then go shopping for the missing ingredients. Home chefs either peruse their kitchen or walk the grocery store, looking for inspiration. A great chef can create a new dish from leftovers and bits of this and that. They simply see things in a new way. Taking a second, and even a third look at ingredients inspires them.
How much do you find yourself doing your job on auto-pilot, looking at the same things in the same way, using your tools exactly as you did 10 years ago? But the challenges change as do your tools. When was the last time you looked at what you did and how you do it with fresh eyes? Start with your job – what has changed this year? Have your company’s priorities or business focus changed? Are you moving from a primarily storefront interface to the web? To mobile? Are you virtualizing or moving to a cloud? Look back 10 years (or 5) and see if your job is different now. Then ask – are you still doing it the same way?
Next, look at the tools you use to do your job. Are you on the current release? Have you read up on all the new features? Do you even use a lot of what is available with the tool now? Find at least one capability that you could use, but haven’t, and learn it. Approach your old tool with fresh eyes; what else can it do for you? Once upon a time, I got a notion that my modeling tool, now called BMC Capacity Management for Mainframes, could do more than just predict the future, as it is commonly used. It could also tell me whether our various disaster recovery plans would actually work. For some key scenarios, we were able to determine that they wouldn’t perform, even though, on the surface, they looked okay. A new use for an old tool – what could be better?
Ask who else might benefit from the information generated by the tool? Too often, we don’t see a way to share the information, or in some cases, don’t want to share the information, but it can be great to share with the business a report that shows them their business transaction counts paired with their IT costs. They can then see how they are doing from a profitability standpoint. And you can include response time and other metrics showing them the quality of your work.
Tomorrow, take a step back and review your data center “kitchen.” What else can you make from what you already have? How can you get more value out of those old ingredients? You may be surprised at what you find.