Nov 172010

Every Sunday, Michelle and I sit down to brainstorm what we’ll be eating for the week ahead. From there, we come up with a shopping list for our weekly grocery shopping that afternoon as well as a menu which goes on the refrigerator. This may seem like overkill, but we’ve found that not having a menu planned out in advance can lead to lots of indecision when we get home from work:

“What do you want for dinner?”

“I don’t care, what do you want for dinner?”

If we’re lucky there will be leftovers in the fridge, otherwise we’ll probably just end up eating sandwiches or pulling a soup and hot dogs night.

As we were discussing the food for this week I got to thinking that planning ahead isn’t much different then the planning that good DBAs carry out, even when there isn’t any bacon on the menu.

Being a DBA typically means lots of different types of planning including (but certainly not limited to):

  • Disaster Recovery planning (bleach, stain remover)
  • Capacity Planning (how much awesomesauce can the pantry hold?)
  • Regular Maintenance Planning (fiber)
Security Planning Fail

Security Planning FAIL

Things like that aren’t just limited to DBA roles either – a lot of IT work is related to planning ahead. Sometimes spending some more time upfront can save you a lot of headaches later on down the road. Inadequate planning can lead to critical tasks not being performed regularly, or at all. If you aren’t taking the time to do things like those listed above, you could eventually find yourself in a whole heap of trouble – and perhaps out of a job. Your employer might not care now – in fact they may think that planning ahead is a complete waste of time (non-technical managers are great for this) but they’ll sure care when the system is down and they can’t conduct business. Winston Churchill’s saying that “He who fails to plan is planning to fail” is very appropriate for DBAs.

On top of that, there’s all the other types of planning more related to professional development. If you’re really looking to stay on top of your game, you’ll want to spend some time doing this as well. For me these are things like:

  • Upcoming blog topics
  • Upcoming presentation topics
  • What certification(s) to take the exam for next
  • How can I pass the MCM now that the new requirements make it much more possible for the rest of us?

In planning ahead as a DBA, as with life, I’ve found that many of the more important goals are the long-term ones. Stuff you think about months or years ahead of time is probably going to be way more important than what’s for dinner, but as the old saying goes: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you probably won’t get there.”

Here’s to planning ahead!

  4 Responses to “What’s For Dinner? Why Planning Ahead is Important”

  1. I plan on planning later today….

    I think some people get wrapped up in formal plnning strategies and forget that there is a difference between program/project planning and personal getting stuff done.

    • Very true, Karen. For what little it’s worth, formal planning strategies have always seemed like they make things more complex than they need to be. While I can see the value in having a uniform and prescribed way of planning, so far I think I’ve had pretty good results just by using my own methods.

  2. Great lead in!

    You had me sucked in, and I’m not even a DBA!! That said, your points are actually valid for many careers. I’m going to write a blog on this idea too! Thanks, Bob!!!

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