Exec Summary

Borrowing from Newton’s 3rd Law, and in the context of Information Technology at a sufficiently large organization:

For every “best practices” team, there is an equal (in magnitude) and opposing

“worst practices” team silently going round the organization making things worse.

Just one example:

Printer names

There’s often a group within an organization who are authorized to name printers, and are passionate about encoding location information and more into the printer name. Names like H12G174P result.

Instead, printers should always have names. A team that’s co-located benefits from being able to remember printers, cognitively map their locations, verbally pass on their whereabouts: “Godzilla is color and prints on both sides, it’s the one by the water cooler”. You should go as far as to make DNS entries for them that match their name, so that Mac and Linux users can more easily find them.

Google offices had/have names for printers like ‘Snoopy’, ‘Superman’, ‘Dilbert’, and made that pretty prominent on the printer, if not with a picture of the same pinned up on the wall above it.


December 15th, 2013