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Why Technology Best Practices are Critical

March 30, 2014

As with many things in life, technology sometimes allows you to take the “easy way out.” For example, you have been working hard on implementing the new Exchange server and you hit a road block. The install won’t complete. You do some digging and find out what the issue is, then you come to a realization. You think to yourself, “All I have to do is quickly delete this little registry key, and the install will finish. It may not be 100% when it is done, but by golly, it should work.” While this may be the quickest, easiest road to your initial end game, it may lead to some larger road blocks and headaches in the future. This is where the importance of best practices comes in and here’s why:

HoldingHead-300x199It works, isn’t that all we care about?

Put simply, no. While we may be happy that it is working now, what’s going to happen when we have an issue or have to upgrade down the road? We might get stuck on a problem, and call the vendor in for help. But wait! Your implementation isn’t supported. Since you deleted that registry key, another needed service wasn’t installed correctly, and the vendor can’t help you until you get your install into a supported state. Uh oh. It is now going to take you at least a million times (slight exaggeration) longer to go back and reinstall everything from scratch, than it would have to have just fixed the issue correctly in the first place.

Time savings now does not equal time savings overall.

Let’s say you saved eight hours by changing that registry key. Eight hours seems like a big deal, an entire day. The first issue you will likely run into, though, is that it’s almost guaranteed that the initial time saved will be lost – and then some. You have no way of knowing if the shortcut you took caused the issue, is adding to the issue, or has nothing to do with the issue at all. All of the suggested fixes you find online assume that you are running a supported configuration, and if they aren’t working…you’re in rough shape. You can bang your head on something like this for days, even weeks. It is best to just spend the time up front to save stress and time down the line.

You may not be the only one who has to work on this.

Everyone gets sick. It’s an unfortunate reality. So you’re out sick when a colleague just emails to say there was an issue with the new Exchange server. That’s when panic sets in! He is, at this moment, running in circles trying to figure out why email isn’t working. You are sitting at home wondering if the shortcut you took caused this issue. How do you tell him about it, do you even remember the exact shortcut you took? Is there documentation somewhere that he can use to find out if that shortcut caused this issue, and if so, how to undo the shortcut so he can fix it? Rather than deal with situations like this, why not just do it right the first time?

Just do it right the first time.

Best practices and supported configurations are available for every reputable piece of technology software. They may seem annoying, but they are there for a reason. Following them from the beginning will save you time, headaches, downtime, and money in the long run. Get in the habit of following best practices, and your career and sanity will see immediate benefits.

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