Another day, another trip.  Another week potentially out of touch with the horse-trading and politics of home base. 

Travel is a regular part of the job for any IT person in a multi-site organization.  Sure, we say we want to avoid it.  I have a 22 month old son who I delight in seeing every day, so I really do.  But the truth of the matter is that we cannot do everything remotely.  Sure, we want to.  It would be nice to sit in our cubes all day, every day, and never be bothered by the ugly realities of field work.

If we choose that, though, we lose track of important things.  Things like what our clients actually do all day or why we do our jobs in the first place.  We lose track of the drivers motivating the site IT groups needs, of the pressures they work under, and of the urgencies they face.

Losing track of these things makes us less effective.  Just to start off with, it makes us forget that our job isn’t bits and bytes; it’s the delivery of services (if not customer service) to the people who face the customers.  Just as importantly, though, it also hamstrings us when it comes to negotiating.  If I don’t know what my counterpart really wants, what capabilities he has, and what timeframes he needs to respond in then I cannot create a winning transaction for him.  If I cannot create a win for him, then he has almost no reason at all to give way on the things I really need.

I’ll natter on a bit more tomorrow about this week’s plan.  For now, I have an upgrade to interfere with.