I had a fascinating conversation recently with an IT pro that I know and respect. We were talking about IT management, issue triage and resolution, and he made the point that the first question any IT pro asks is, “what changed?” Makes sense to me.

For many, change = risk. I understand that. Change even the littlest detail and there’s a reasonable likelihood that the fragile web of intricate IT interdependencies will come crashing down.

Often, the risk (or fear?) of change is justification for standing still – not upgrading or choosing a newer, better approach that provides orders of magnitude more functionality for the same or lower cost. I can see the reasoning, but in my opinion, that is incredibly short-sighted.

Here’s another way of looking at it: You are ALWAYS going to be dealing with change, no matter what kind of change it is, whether it is orchestrated by you or others. Change happens, whether it is proactive or passive, offensive or defensive.

It seems to me you have two choices:

  • Accept the status quo. Continue burning precious time (yours and others) and budget troubleshooting changes that happen with the same old gear. Simply rehearse the response, “that’s how we’ve always done it…”.
  • Embrace progress and change to something better or new to you. Ideally, your reward is a better way of resolving (and maybe ending!) the same old problems you were dealing with before. Worst case is that you at least get new and interesting troubleshooting challenges to take on, right?!

One is driven by fear. The other is motivated by progress, growth, and improvement beyond the status quo.

In sporting terms, one is referred to as “playing not to lose”. The other? “Playing to win.”

If you’re going to deal with the impact of changes one way or another, isn’t it worth it to at least take charge and make it interesting?