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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Network Engineers

March 28, 2018

Dr. Stephen Covey’s international bestselling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has maintained a place atop the must-reads for successful business people, selling more than 25 million copies, since its release more than 25 years ago. It claims to have transformed the lives of presidents and CEOs, educators, parents, and students alike. Judging by its continued popularity, it would be hard to argue with their proclamations.

Good habits, whether in business or in your personal life, work. The difficulty lies in establishing the right set of habits and then having the discipline to carry them forward consistently. The secret to Covey’s success is that he provides a framework to follow. These are guiding principles where readers could fill in their own specifics and establish the habits that would lead to their own success.

We’ve taken on Covey’s theory and applied it directly to you, the network engineer. You can also read our version of Good to Great: Why Some Network Engineers Make the Leap . . . And Others Don’t to understand the five critical factors that determine the difference for network engineers.

So, what are the habits that will make you a more successful network engineer? Here is our take. If you think you have something better, please let us know!

  • Habit 1: Leave nothing to chance  Even the smallest misconfigurations can have a profound impact on today’s powerful yet fragile networks. Always validate proposed changes to determine the impact before making them.
  • Habit 2: Document everything  Much like a personal medical history, thorough documentation of changes and updates is the best way to ensure good network health. Making a note of it today can eliminate a big headache tomorrow.
  • Habit 3: Never stop learning  The better you understand your network, the quicker you can diagnose a problem and have things up and running again. There is always room for knowledge.
  • Habit 4: Automate wherever possible  Mundane tasks take up more time than you realize. If you can eliminate the simplest of daily tasks, you will have more room for making improvements.
  • Habit 5: Overcommunicate  When it comes to the health and stability of your network, there is no such thing as overcommunicating. Make sure that everyone has access to information needed to troubleshoot and perform repairs if needed.
  • Habit 6: Establish a single source of truth  Networks are complex. Ensuring that everyone involved is looking at the same data and information is critical to ensuring faster recovery teams and eliminating potentially damaging mistakes.
  • Habit 7: Begin with the end in mind  We are lifting this one verbatim from Dr. Covey as it represents a simple but brilliant approach to networking. What are you trying to accomplish as a business? First understand the goals and then work backward to construct a network that makes it a reality.

Experts say that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit. If you implement the habits outlined above you will find that your abilities as an effective network engineers will only increase.

Agree or disagree with our list of necessary habits? Let us know.

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