Which of the following two do you think it is:
- An innovation fails to get off the ground?
- A file server cannot be restored?
Everyone in IT knows all too well what it’s like to deal with freaked-out end users who need things (they deleted) put back. Or, even worse, breaking the bad news to someone (usually senior) that missing files are nowhere to be found.
Then there are the scenes of mad panic — always on the days you come in late — because no one can access a network resource.
It’s this demand for constant reliability that drives an aversion to risk in IT. It may never be verbalized. But it will be when something does go wrong.
That attitude to risk is pervasive, not just in IT but across every organization with even a single computer.
With “risk” seen as a bad thing, mitigation is baked in to processes. For example, the ITIL process features risk prominently as does the Project Management Professional (PMP) body of knowledge, although, in fairness, they talk of risks having potential positive outcomes.
A big part of minimizing risk is planning. And that just gets groans from the end users. “Why can’t IT just do it?” they complain.
On the other hand, IT is sitting on huge resources both in personnel and technology. And CIOs are coming under increased pressure to use these assets to drive innovation.
But innovation is inherently risky. It’s messy, experimental and deals with the future and a host of unknowns.
Square that circle, why don’t ya?
Image by Amber Case on Flickr.