In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, where innovation and disruption are the name of the game, tech companies and start-ups are constantly striving for success. However, amidst the excitement and ambition, there are treacherous pitfalls that even the most promising ventures can stumble into. Join us on a journey through the digital labyrinth as we unveil the common IT mistakes that have plagued tech pioneers and the savvy strategies to navigate around them.
✅ Deploying on Fridays
It is one of the most common IT mistakes. We’ve all been there, vowing never to commit this cardinal sin, only to find ourselves burning the midnight oil, sacrificing our precious weekends, all because something just couldn’t wait until Monday. It’s the one error that transcends mere lists and becomes an epic saga of digital drama. Welcome to the Friday deployment challenge, where even well-organized plans can fall apart due to tight project schedules. This issue is not just a simple problem but can turn into a complex and troublesome situation in digital projects.
✅ The art of making server changes right before holidays or weekends
A daring maneuver that adds a thrilling twist to your well-deserved downtime. It is as if IT folklore has a special chapter dedicated to these moments of sheer audacity. From my own recent escapades, I vividly recall the heart-pounding excitement of upgrading a server’s hard drive right before embarking on a much-anticipated vacation. You can probably guess what I spent my time doing on the plane, seated next to the window, as the aircraft taxied down the runway (thank goodness for that unexpected delay). Join me in exploring this peculiar phenomenon of server tinkering just before holiday escapes and weekends, where the line between adventure and misadventure blurs in the world of common IT mistakes.
✅ Not giving anyone access to your server/code repository/ssh key
Do not treat your SSH key like a well-protected treasure chest – it’s a practice so secure that it’s often reserved for those moments right before you vanish into vacation mode. After all, there’s an inexplicable magic in knowing that when you’ve sealed off access, everything mysteriously continues to hum along perfectly. I won’t delve into the captivating tale of someone who found themselves unexpectedly occupying the role of the remote savior, stationed in a hotel room in Turkey, where only they possessed the mystical computer granting access to the ailing machine.
✅ Neglecting backups
A blunder that’s echoed through the chronics of common IT mistakes history, and I won’t dare to admit how recently I may have committed it. The story typically goes like this: you know backups are important, and you even get reminded when one is successfully created. You notice the disk space gradually dwindling, which suggests something is indeed being safeguarded. So, there it sits, safe and sound, until that fateful day when you actually need to perform a restore. And what unfolds next? Well, let’s just say it’s an adventure in its own right, one that leaves you with a newfound appreciation for those humble backups.
✅ The risky game of neglecting the direct checking of backups
A dance with data that can lead to unexpected and often regrettable surprises. It’s easy to fall into the mindset that once you’ve set up backups, everything is invincible, immune to the whims of fate. Remember that notorious European server room fire not too long ago? Those who ensured such catastrophes couldn’t possibly occur were likely the ones who experienced it firsthand. It is almost as if the universe has a mischievous sense of humor, targeting precisely those who think they’re invulnerable to such accidents.
✅ Making code changes directly in production
It seems harmless, just a tiny tweak, a quick alteration to a message or a single line of code. It’ll take no more than three minutes, and surely, nothing could go wrong, right?
But here’s the cruel twist: it almost always ends in disaster. Because in that rush, you’re bound to overlook something crucial. Testing? Nah, who needs it? Checking? Why bother? Not to mention that even if everything miraculously appears fine for now and might even resolve the immediate issue, let’s face it – there will be repercussions down the road.
Someone, somewhere, is going to make changes to that same file in the repository, and the future merge will turn into a battle royale of conflicts. Or worse, someone will inadvertently overwrite those hastily made changes, and the next production deployment will be a catastrophe in the making. It’s a chain reaction waiting to happen, a never-ending loop of complications. Because, in the world of coding, something will always happen. Always.
✅ Not testing code, not writing tests
It is a relentless race against time, fueled by project deadlines, the ever-watchful project manager, the demanding client, or a myriad of other excuses that never seem to end.
As the project marches forward, the problem only worsens. The system expands, the codebase swells, dependencies multiply, and functions, classes, and methods scatter throughout the code like confetti. We make changes here but not there, and the thought of revisiting the neglected realm of testing becomes even more daunting.
So, we opt not to write tests, and the vicious cycle continues. With each subsequent release, the system becomes an orchestra of errors, a cacophony of chaos. It’s a high-stakes gamble, and the odds are not in our favor.
✅ A new version of X or Y has been released, we should add/rewrite/replace it now
How many times have we heard it, and been tempted by a new language version drops, a shiny library update beckons, or simply because “everyone” is now using X, and that conference talk swore that the “old way” is outdated.
“Why not?” we think. We’re determined to avoid accumulating more technological debt, so we dive headfirst into the upgrade process. But that’s when the rollercoaster begins.
The moment the upgrade is complete, it’s as if chaos descends. Nothing works as it used to. Suddenly, the rules have changed, and we find ourselves chasing a rabbit down a never-ending rabbit hole. What was once there is now gone, and what was familiar is now alien. Instead of focusing on our core business, we’re knee-deep in rewrites and repairs, trying to tame the unruly beast that was once our well-functioning system.
It is a cautionary tale of the pursuit of the new, the perils of unchecked upgrades, and the tangled web we weave when we stray from the path of stability.
✅ Not paying attention to the new version of X or Y
It’s a story of missed opportunities, driven by a chorus of excuses. “We don’t have the time,” they say. “It’s working fine as it is,” they argue. “That function won’t be unsupported for another year,” they reassure themselves. The pressure from the relentless demands of business and customers further compounds the inertia.
So, we wait, clinging to outdated technologies, grappling with their limitations, and watching as the world moves forward without us. With each passing day, the chasm between our aging version and the current one widens, making the eventual upgrade seem like an insurmountable mountain.
I recall a staggering example from my own experience: a colossal IT behemoth with millions of monthly users, clinging to a version of a language that had been unsupported for three long years. As time trudged on, they missed out on bug fixes, security enhancements, and innovative features. Fear paralyzed them, and no one wanted to be the one to touch the ancient relic, for fear it might crumble to pieces. In the end, there was no choice but to embark on a monumental year-long rewrite from scratch, a journey born out of necessity rather than choice.
It’s a cautionary tale of the consequences of neglecting the evolution of technology, and a stark reminder that staying tethered to the past can eventually lead to a dramatic and costly reckoning.
✅ The unwavering belief in Scrum as the ultimate project management methodology
How many times have we been subjected to the fervent assertion that Scrum is the be-all and end-all, and that it should be the default for every project? Too many to count.
But let’s call a spade a spade: it’s not always the right fit. I’ve seen it myself, where Scrum was shoehorned into projects where it made about as much sense as a square peg in a round hole. There are scenarios where any form of agile methodology is ill-suited, and others where projects are so sprawling that it’s logical to split them into multiple teams, each operating under different methodologies.
Scrum, as revered as it may be, is not a universal panacea. In certain situations, it’s not just ineffective; it’s counterproductive. In fact, there are times when the tried-and-true waterfall approach might be the wiser choice.
The lesson here is that while Scrum and agile methodologies have their merits, they should be applied judiciously, not dogmatically. Sometimes, the best path forward is one that diverges from the well-trodden agile trail, reminding us that flexibility and adaptability are the true hallmarks of successful project management.
These common IT mistakes are universal in the world of technology and project management.
Consider this article as a valuable checklist of anti-patterns to steer clear of in your endeavors. If you are interested in the topic, you might find the article ‘What is Dev Marketing?‘ intriguing as well.
In the fast realm of start-ups and tech businesses, it is all too easy to charge ahead and overlook the pitfalls awaiting us. Remembering that if something should not happen, it often will, can be a vital mindset to keep projects on the right track and minimize setbacks. So, use these lessons as a guide, and may your tech ventures be marked by smoother sailing and fewer unexpected detours.
Ready to avoid these common IT mistakes? Contact us today, and let’s chart a smoother course for your projects.