Chopped – IT Style

ChoppedBlogPicSometimes I find myself looking in the fridge at night wondering, “How can I make a ‘Chopped’ dish out of what’s here?” Chopped is one of the Food Network’s most popular shows. It’s a culinary race to create something wonderful for the palate out of a basket of mystery ingredients. Here’s how it works:

  1. Four people enter the kitchen to cook for three celebrity chefs
  2. There are three tightly timed rounds – appetizers, entrées, and deserts
  3. Participating chefs get a basket of mystery ingredients for each round – what would you create with corn dogs, candied chickpeas, snow cones and canned baby corn?
  4. The chefs present and describe their culinary masterpieces to the judges
  5. After tasting and judging each dish, someone is “chopped” in each round until there is a “Chopped Champion”

Recently I watched one chef, who had survived the first two rounds, fail to “plate” his desert dish. He was trying to do too much in too little time. Two of his plates only had a little sauce stylishly swished on the plate with some garnishing popcorn crunch. He’d failed to get his funnel cake soufflé on two of the three plates and garnish them with special cream cheese topping, which contained two of the mystery basket ingredients. Ouch! He was doubled over in pain knowing his misjudgments may have cost him.

The Chopped final judgment takes into consideration the sum of all of the dishes. So, did he stand a chance to win? No! Not plating the desert was too big of a mistake to overlook; he got chopped and his competitor claimed the $10,000 prize.

So how does Chopped relate to IT? How many of us try to do too much in too little time? Every day feels like you’re in the Chopped kitchen with mystery IT ingredients you have to figure out—and fast! Here’s seven ingredients Chopped chefs use to win and how you can win in IT:

  1. Remove the mystery of the ingredients—Chefs know their ingredients, whether they’re sweet or salty and how they interact. IT professionals who have the right information about everything in their network make better choices from the start.
  2. Quickly plan and prioritize—If something takes 12 minutes to cook and you only have 10 minutes left, you didn’t prioritize appropriately. Don’t make that mistake. Put together a quick plan using the information and reports you have. A quick plan for each day and week that aligns with monthly and quarterly goals will help you to achieve both tactical and strategic success.
  3. Use the right tools—Each Chopped chef brings his own cutlery and skills; however, everything available in the Chopped kitchen is top-of-the-line professional appliances. What you have in your IT kitchen matters and you need the leading professional tools to help you do everything quickly and expertly.
  4. Get in your zone—You can get things done quickly if you’re in the zone and acting without thinking. Design better processes with quicker ways of automating repetitive IT tasks and you’ll reap the rewards every time your in the IT kitchen.
  5. $%!+ happens—Get over it! Yes, it happens to everyone. Winning many times is simply picking yourself up, learning from your mishaps and getting back in the game. Chefs make mental notes, you should document it in IT so your team benefits.
  6. Finish strong in each round—Do a better-than-average job in multiple aspects of IT and for multiple stakeholders and you’ll build confidence both inside and outside IT.
  7. Present your success—The dishes on Chopped are judged in three areas: presentation, taste and creativity. IT is often judged by meeting SLA’s, ability to solve complex business problems, and whether or not IT helps avoid costly risks like compliance audits and security breaches. Make sure you can present your success to your teams and to your management.

FYI: LANDESK helps thousands of customers perform these seven steps to become IT Chopped champions in their organizations.

Like so many Chopped viewers, I’m always amazed what people can overcome and create. Their problem solving skills and resolve to quickly get the job done is amazing to watch. I see the same types of challenges and successes in IT organizations everywhere. Keep amazing us with your success.