It’s not about the Toggles

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A departure from my typical content…

In IT, it’s not about the toggles. By “toggles”, I mean the radio buttons, switches, and configuration settings required to enable any given feature. Let’s be honest, if it were that easy, a monkey could do it. 😉

The value proposition for IT is, and always will be, rooted in customer empathy.

Yes, the toggles are what drives the functionality and it’s a necessary step; however you need to consider the customer impact when using them. This is what makes being an IT professional much more than a “toggle-flipper” – it’s an engaging, challenging, but also rewarding role in an organization.

Although “ripping the band-aid off”, “setting and forgetting”, and “hoping for the best” are the most expeditious ways of changing something in your environment, they’re rarely the right choice.

Have you considered…

  1. The customer impact of the change?
  2. The communication of the change?
  3. What else is affected by the change?

The importance of evaluating the customer experience is everywhere in the IT industry and as the technology landscape becomes more interrelated and complex, it’s more important than ever to consider.

I’m a seasoned IT-Pro and I’ve seen this type of “toggle” behavior – it’s never pretty. Usually, the bigger the organization, the worse the effect. You don’t get an endless supply of chances to make a good impression and if you erode your customer’s confidence one too many times, they may give up and use other non-sanctioned tools to get their work done. That’s not a good place to be.

The takeaway? Spend time figuring out the customer impact before making a change, but balance it with a “reasonableness” factor knowing you likely won’t ever know 100% of the down-stream effects.

Knowing how to strike this balance is what sets apart the professionals from the monkeys. 😊


Credit:Image by herry wibisono from Pixabay


  1. This is so true. It also has an awesome name – Change Management. We are forced here through our processes to evaluate these risks and get approval for the change (think toggle) that we are going to flip. Sometimes we take a long time planning that toggle flip to minimize the impact. The one thing that you maybe missed is communication. Make sure you communicate what you are making (in English – or the language(s) you use in your org) and when so people know (especially your support folks). Makes a world of difference for the business since they have already helped you determine the when.

    The best part if when the business just wants the toggle to be switched until you explain all the impacts. The look on their face is usually priceless 🙂

  2. If only there were a way for me to politely forward this to certain people in my organization. They’re either flipping the toggles willy-nilly or refusing to flip them EVER until we can guarantee uninterrupted perfection. Sigh….

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