Dr. K's Korner - Ideas For Success - Notes & Naming Conventions

I want to talk this month a little about the importance of naming conventions and notes fields. Sometimes we get lazy, thinking “Oh, I’ll get around to that later”. If we think longer term we realize that not everyone thinks the same way, and eventually one of us is going to leave the company due to winning the lottery, right? Given those eventualities, it’s a darn good idea to leave some notes for ourselves and others as to how we built and meant to use  things.

This is all too common in Labeling. Whether it’sK1000K2000, or your inbox, a little laziness here can have major impact later on. Here’s an example: I create a new label, the first of 10 or so that I need to create for some new project, and I tell myself I’ll get to filling in the Notes of each label after I finish creating them all. They’re all very similar labels, so I’ll remember what I typed into the wizard…of the first label…after I finish creating all 10 labels… but I won’t!

Let me explain:
I know I’m not going to remember if I have a particular label, much less what the criteria was that I used in creating it. Especially if I got the SQL fromITNinja.com, and didn’t really understand it in the first place. So, I give it a good name, to aid in sorting my label list to find it when needed, and I type the exact label-wizard-criteria I used in building it, into the Notes field of the label. By following a simple regimen to clarify my work, I never have to worry about forgetting something important about the labels, or more importantly, someone else using them in ways they shouldn’t. I can only imagine a large team with a fair amount of staff-turnover… Multiple techs creating varied labels every day; It wouldn’t be possible to remain successful for long without a very good naming convention and notes-field-usage.

Labels was the example given, but the benefits of some simple organization can be seen across all of the K-Appliances. On the K1000: Custom Inventory, Schedules, Scripts, KB Articles, Roles, Reports, Categories, Labels, LDAP Queries, etc. will benefit from some notes and naming convention. For the K2000: Source Media, Pre- & Post-Install Tasks, Scripted Installs, System Images, KBEs, Labels, etc. are more sustainable with some simple notes left behind. The more of them I have, and the longer it has been since each was created, the more important it is that I name them well, and notate them with all of the detail I might need later. The likelihood of my winning the lottery is much lower than the more realistic notion that I might forget how something was done six months ago.

So, put some thought into your naming conventions before you get too deep. An ounce of prevention beats tons of renaming later! Too late? You already have a thousand objects without notes or naming conventions? That’s okay. Make a policy moving forward, and retroactively fix things as you use them at minimum.