As we have discussed, avoiding repeated failure is a key to keeping our careers moving in a steady upward arc. However, there is a large gap between failure and success. You may very well go through your day without failing, and yet never really succeed. Assuming that your company hires competent and skilled people, two factors may still limit your success: systems and tools.
The word “systems,” in this case, refers to ways of working, not the servers and applications – eg., how are WAN orders handled, new servers requested and delivered, or changes implemented to production environments. A great example of a system is the "co-worker sanity check" before making a major change, which many people mentioned during the previous week’s discussion. This is a great system, and more IT teams should implement it.
A good toolset can make or break a team during crisis. If you fill your SNMP monitoring tool with useless alerts, you won't notice an issue until a user complains. On the other hand, a well-tuned toolset notifies you that a battery just failed the weekly UPS test, creates a ticket to order a replacement, and assigns the ticket to the right team. This scenario avoids a future failure and tracks a solution through completion.
Another problem that organizations experience is too many systems and tools. Suppose a company uses 20 different tools for tracking various minutiae. Add hundreds of Teamplace sites, many of which haven't been updated in years, and you could possibly understand why a technician in this organization might be overwhelmed. Because of this, systems and tools are both frequently out-of-date, missing important information, or simply ignored. Throwing a new tool of system at a problem wouldn't fix anything either.
What problems do you experience with either systems or tools within your organization? Are there too many tools? Are the systems out-of-date or too clunky to understand without a cheat-sheet? What have you done to improve upon them?