I had a situation where a Zimbra server was hosting several domains. Some of them were related in such a way that there could be no downtime where any of the domains couldn't send to each other, even during a migration to another server.
One of the domains was going to be hosted by another server. It happened that the domain I'm talking about only used Zimbra for account, pop3 and smtp mail services, so I didn't have to worry about moving mailboxes and mails, but I had to make sure that the emails kept flowing.
So, the new server was set up and ready. All accounts were loaded. Email would go in and out of that server.
We made the big switch of the DNS and outside mail started to flow in. However, I ran into a problem where the mails being sent using the old server would not route after having deactivated the domain on that server. All I'd get is a 550 error telling me that user was not on that server.
So, here's what I did...
"A spoon does not know the taste of soup, nor a learned fool the taste of wisdom."
"Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor."
When you are working on a project, you'll want to know which role you are in. If you are a team member, you are the soup. When you are the leader or project manager, you are the spoon.
Each has its role...
"There is no 'I' in team. But there is an M and an E."
--Unknown Minion Manager
How YOU manage the people that report to you says a lot about your character. Of course, calling them minions, even if they are in on the joke, is a bad way to start.
It is a pretty big step when you go from a one-person department or consulting company to being responsible for the lives of others. When you take that on, be ready to build a team, not just hand off your undesireable work.
Here are some key elements of leading your people...
Do the best with what you have, when you have it, where you are.
If you really want to build something and make a difference, you need to dare to have a written plan. Why "dare"? Because talk is cheap and ideas are nothing unless something is done about them. Set aside brainstorming and talking about what you might do and commit to a written plan. It could be one of the boldest and most important things you do. If you write it down, you might actually be held accountable!
One of the best ways to document your plan is to create a 1/3/5-year strategy document for your area of control. If you're a consultant, that could be for your business. If you're an IT Director, it could be for your department. If you're in an entry level position, it could be for your career.
Just like when building a building, you need to know what you're starting with, know what you want to create, and know what you think it will take to get there. That is what you are trying to document in your written strategy.
Let's start with the purpose of why you are bothering to do this...
I had a user report that, all of a sudden, anytime they cut or pasted something in Excel 2003 running on Windows 7, Excel would crash.
We'd had a problem before with Skype and Bluetooth causing Excel to crash, but when I checked this setting in the registry, it WAS set to zero as needed:
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Excel\Addins \BtOfficeAddin.BtOfficeIntegration.1\LoadBehavior REG_DWORD 0x0
Change the LoadBehavior key from 3 to 0, if needed. In this case, it was already 0.
So, that left the user still having the problem...
Recently during the summer of 2011, I had a number of Excel users complain about how slow Excel had become opening spreadsheets, especially over the network.
It also seemed to affect files opened from Outlook and locally stored files, but was most pronounced on Network files.
It also seemed to mostly affect XP and Excel 2003 users, but that could be because they run on older computers which "feel the pain" of slow opening files.
There are a lot of articles on the interwebs talking about similar slow downs, but they didn't help...
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
The answer to the question, "when should you re-invent the wheel?", is simple.
When it makes sense to!
The phrase is often used, usually as a derision, when someone wants to dismiss some else's idea or solution, "we don't need a custom software solution, that would just be re-inventing the wheel." You'll also hear it when someone feels a problem has already been solved and can't be improved upon.
The more "horizontal" the problem (things that affect lots of people and industries), the more likely using existing "wheels" will solve your problem well enough. Clearly, it would be a total waste of time for an IT department to set up a project to write a word processor. There are plenty of old choices, like Microsoft Word, and plenty of new choices, like Google Apps, to solve that problem.
However, as you look at "vertical" problems (things that affect a limited number of people and industries) and you narrow things down to something more and more specific or start to document special processes or when searching for competitive advantage, the more likely you'll find that you DO need to reinvent the wheel.
That is why picking your tools is so important. You'll want to pick things that are open, documented, and can be customized.
And keep in mind that off the shelf is cheap and custom is expensive, so make sure you are allocating your expensive (time/people) resources on the things that will give you a competitive advantage.
Another situation when it makes sense to "re-invent the wheel" is when you are making a paradigm shift, like from horse carts to autos or autos to airplanes. The wheel really DID need to be re-invented in those cases.
Finally, keep in mind that limited resources usually means you'll only be able to re-invent one "wheel" at a time and you'll have to support that wheel for some time. Choose wisely.
The unexamined life is not worth living.
--Socrates, in Plato, Dialogues, Apology
Greek philosopher in Athens (469 BC - 399 BC)
You are only given a certain amount of time in this life, that is why they call it a "lifetime".
Make sure you are living a life worthy of your God-given time here. It is too easy to choose between the busyness of business or the laying around of leisure. You need to take some time, once in a while, and make sure you are investing your time in the right activity.
One old "life coach" exercise is to write your tombstone. The idea is to write, boiled down to one sentence, what it is you would want people to say about you when you are gone. This is OK as far as it goes, but it isn't really an action plan. It should help you figure out what is really important. I think it only really works if you also write down what you think people would say about you right now. Then, using the difference, you can create a plan.
However, if you really want to make a difference in your own life and the life of others, you only need to start out by filling out a single short answer question:
I need to spend LESS time ____________, ___________, and ___________, and MORE time ____________, ___________, and ___________.
Take the time to think this through. Fill in at least 3 answers for each time allocation. Everyone can probably start by adding "LESS time watching TV" and "MORE time with family/friends". Don't stop there. In fact, if you're really focused and thorough, you can probably come up with 10 answers for each.
Take your answers and write them on the back of a business card, laminate it, and stick in your purse or wallet. At least once a week (once a day to start), pull out that card and compare your day or your plans to what you've identified as your critical time allocations.
Within a few weeks, I think you'll find you've started living the life you want.
Here are some things I don't understand about India...
- Why do I wash my hands with water I can't drink?
- Why do the western style toilets use 12 liters of water, but never fully flush?
- Why is the shower in the middle of the bathroom so that everything gets wet, including the toilet paper?
- Why are the wall switches so badly designed and identified that not even the homeowner knows what they do?
- Why are there three kinds of power sockets?
- Why can I get great pizza, lattes, and KFC, but no hamburger? (never mind on this one...)
- Why is it that the same people that stare angrily at you in the street would, after you say hello, invite you to stay with them in their home for as long as you like?
- Why do I hate going to India, but miss it when I'm gone?
OK, fantastic, I just got a free, totally sweet, Samsung Galaxy 10" Tablet for being at Google IO. I spent the second day of GoogleIO using only the tablet (and barely my Nexus One phone) having left my backpack and laptop safely locked up. Feeling the freedom, baby! I was hoping for about 8 hours of battery, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that, after a full day of use during the conference, I still had 50% of my battery left!
Everything was going fantastic. I dropped my stuff off in my hotel room, set up everything to charge, the took off for dinner (In-N-Out, DoubleDouble combo #1, if you're keeping track).
When I got back to my room after dinner, disaster had struck! My little tablet was totally dead. Completely unresponsive. All attempts to reset by holding in the power button failed. I was getting pretty desperate...
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