Friday, 26 July 2013

How to save time when you've got none

Most of the time you may have more work than you can handle. Here's some strategies I've learnt to help claw your way out of the fire-fighting cycle.

Postpone non-essential projects - Delay or kill projects that don't help you solve problems and are not required to support the core IT services. There may be projects that people have started on because they're interesting. But when you're up against the clock, you've only got time for interesting things that matter.

Prioritize time-saving projects - Choose projects that reduce the amount of work you will need to do in the future. Typically, these may be the projects that reduce incidents, the time it takes to resolve an incident, or eliminate some routine maintenance. Start on the projects that take the least time, the work your way on to the bigger projects.

Do the important things first - It's always worth reviewing your open tickets or tasks in projects before you start anything. It's easy to get drawn into some issue which is valid but just not more important than the things you have to do that day. If I start fixing issues before I've made my list, I frequently end up not doing things that were more important.

Be clear on where your responsibilities lie (and where they don't) - we all like fixing problems, but sometimes it's really the responsibility of another team or even the customer to resolve it. Avoid getting into habits where you routinely take on additional responsibilities for things that are outside your domain.