ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Will You Survive IT Evolution: Becoming a High Performance Team

Updated on December 7, 2012

Change is not easy...

Just like a tadpole turns into a frog or a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, IT is meta-morphing into something completely unknown and unfamiliar.

I've seen the confusion first hand - CTO's and CIO's doing re-organization after re-organization to sort out how IT should be set up to support a business that is trying to keep up with today’s fast pace.

Watching as everything IT related converges because somehow magically what used to take years and months is now expected in weeks and days. And what used to be the normal IT operations has changed into some new tribe called DevOps with a completely different culture.

Why all the change? Because IT is evolving to keep up with the leaders...

For example:

Think of how many products Apple has released over the last three years. Now think how many new models of iPads have been released over the last six months – heck, before any dust settled on the iPad 3 with retina display, Apple released two more models, and a new iPhone, and various different iPods and MacBook’s. Apple’s pace is incredible!

RIP Status-Quo IT

This may be the first time you are hearing this but I've heard this phrase a few times recently and think it is the next iteration of change that is coming to IT departments everywhere – are you a High Performance Team?

Let’s start with what a high performance team is not:

  • Does your team struggle to do the most routine task?
  • Is your team always reacting to fires that take too long to recover from – missing SLA’s?
  • Are your system administrators and engineers so set in their ways that things are still being done like it is still 2002?
  • Are your people still doing what systems should be doing such as manual patching of servers and desktops?
  • Does it take 2 weeks to get an IP address, and another 2 weeks for firewall ports to get opened, and another 2 weeks to provision a virtual or physical server – a total of 6 weeks to deliver one VM to the development team?
  • Does each of your SA’s build a “work of art” every time a server is provisioned, every artist doing it their own way?
  • Does every project still follow the same waterfall path and nothing gets completed before 3 or 4 more projects are started?
  • Does your help desk or service desk have 300 – 400 day old incident tickets in the queue because they have fallen so far behind because everyone’s focus is on who calls the boss and complains the loudest?
  • Is there a feeling of accomplishment after adding new server or network hardware because your system has failed?
  • Is piece-milling a solution together over weeks the norm because nobody sees the big picture?
  • Is your team always trying to make something work or fit because nobody did their due-diligence to ensure the right part was ordered, or because they were not involved in the decision to order it in the first place?

The list above could go on but I’m hoping you are starting to get where this is going. Each example I have given is an indicator that you do not have a high performance team.

Let’s Put Things into Perspective

For a moment think football or more specifically the team currently with the best record. They did not get the best record by accident.

These high performing teams practice hour after hour, running plays that are designed, planned and thought out by masterminds with years of experience. And these masterminds are not who they are by accident either, they have been taught by other great minds to do things right.

Each of these teams has systems they follow that have been trimmed down and polished to get the most value out of the least effort. Each system is designed with just the right parts and is practiced until it can be executed perfectly - even the water-boy has a system.

Now think of the last time your team did a go-live of something new – how did it go? Did your IT team execute the plan successfully or was it rolled-back? If it wasn't rolled-back you may have something to be proud of, but on the other hand, if your team’s record is rollback, after rollback, something is broken and needs to be fixed - fast!

High Performance Teams Are Not Status-Quo

What does a high performance IT team look and act like? What are some of their characteristics? Of the three different teams I have managed, here are some of the lessons and takeaways I have to offer you.

Characteristics of High Performing Teams:

  • First and foremost, the leadership is chosen because of experience and subject matter expertise, not because they have been around the longest time.
  • The support staff are chosen because of skills and experience - but above all, a willingness to do it better each time. This means they adapt and change, and are not set in their ways.
  • Automated systems or tools handle routine and repetitive tasks – these systems are not set in stone and improve as time goes on.
  • People are taught to think and see the bigger picture – service oriented versus tasks oriented. It's all about the best service and not the servers.
  • Things are never left in limbo or for chance that someone will do it – loops are intentionally closed.
  • You measure only what is important and stop wasting time on metrics that only frustrate the person who has to figure out the math and do the report.
  • Meetings are kept short and to the point, and should only include the people required (15 minutes).
  • Vetting of ideas is encouraged and is allowed to root out bad ideas that waste time and resources, and that cause redo-work.
  • A clear definition of what “done” is defined and agreed on so everyone understands what is expected.
  • Bad apples are terminated without haste, and team players and role models are praised and rewarded.
  • And finally, practices that are old and tired are retired for new and improved ways of doing things. Value-ad and efficiency is key.

This list only covers some of the many "good" and "best" practices some high performing teams do.


Many of these practices will not be easy to do because some IT managers and staff are so set in their ways that they have made traditions out of their processes or because they have fallen in love with how they do things. To survive you must see the big picture.

So I ask and leave you with this thought - will you survive the IT evolution that is going on? Will you work on becoming a high performance team that is able to pivot on a dime and adapt to anything, or will you stay and fight against the change? Visualize this - tadpole or frog, caterpillar or butterfly - Super Bowl Champ?

Other topics: 5 Insider Tips To Help Start a Career in Virtualization and 10 Must Ask VMware Interview Questions

Read more IT management topics on Joe's Blog or check out his eBook: VCP for Hire on Amazon.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)