On Tactics

Like most heads of IT Departments, I have a long-term strategy in place. Granted, it’s vague (it has to be), but I look at industry trends, technology trends, and my firm’s history, shake them all up, and dump them out into a crystal ball. I gaze into the crystal ball and take a stab at where we’ll need to be in the next 3-5 years.

I also have a shorter-term strategy, where the next year’s goals are more concretely expressed. I determine the probable larger capital expenses and figure out generally where we’ll be in a year in the hardware, software, staffing, and user experience realms.

Tactics, however, are where I might depart from the “normal” way of doing things. See, my tactics are never truly solidified beyond the next step or two. Why? Because I plan my tactics according to the Theory of Constraints.

(Brief note to my Operations prof: See? I listened in class and even read The Goal!)

How does this play out? Well, I’m so glad you asked!

  1. I collect all of the various tactical components I need to have done in order to accomplish my short-term strategy.
  2. I determine which of said components are dependent (e.g., I have to move File/Print off of two blades before I can expand my Citrix farm onto the same blades).
  3. I determine which immediate actions will address the most user pain.
  4. I execute that set of actions. (Okay, so it’s actually mostly my geeks and various consultants who do the true execution here, but you already knew that.)
  5. I move to the next most painful item, and continue the process.

Someday, I hope to run out of user pain to address such that I can manage more proactively. In other words, I hope to find the “bottleneck” that will cause pain and address it before the users feel the pain.

On the one hand, this gives me a lot of freedom to be more agile in implementation. On the other hand, it can drive some of my linear thinkers insane…