Adopting an Agile Mindset


Imagine your company is planning a physical relocation, creating an opportunity for you to go back to the drawing board for its IT setup. What would you change in such a scenario? Personally, unless it's an animation studio or design house, I would likely opt for a wireless office. The upside here is that I can do it without the cost of wiring up LAN points, except perhaps for a limited number of network printers and wireless access points.


You would not believe what I have seen in the way of wired nightmares. In one company I joined, the wired network was nothing more than a mish-mash of cascaded network switches put together without planning. Ann All couldn't have known just how close she was when she made a remark in her SMB Big Picture blog about me "crawling around under desks." Beleaguered, I eventually decided to declare war on the shoddy system administration I inherited and started crawling in order to track every single one of those switches down. The company only had 60-odd network nodes, but I found a staggering 12 network switches "camouflaged" under desks and tucked into dusty corners. I kid you not.


Wireless obviously has its own set of problems too, especially when you try to scale to thousands of users. But hey, you're an SMB and you likely won't get to scale into the thousands, remember? Also, I would probably steer clear of WEP and stick with WPA encryption at minimum. (I'll delve further into these trouble spots in the near future, so stay tuned.)


Subconsciously or otherwise, IT managers and professionals are often drilled to think in "enterprise" terms. However, while I am all for enterprise-grade hardware and feature sets, the fact is that an SMB often has a lot more dexterity to think out of the box, as well as to do things differently. Where a large company in this case might run into scalability problems with wireless, an SMB could probably get a wireless network up and running in no time at all -- and at a much lower cost.


We will all benefit greatly if we would just adopt a more agile mindset.


You have a great weekend ahead.