You've probably heard of test-driven programming, where the first thing a developer writes is an automated test, not the actual program code. This way when the code is written, it can instantly and repeatedly be tested to see if it works.

Why not do the same in an IT department, or any other endeavor for that matter? If automated testing is available, it should be used as early as possible in the endeavor so that as soon as a working state is achieved effort can be diverted to polishing or new tasks instead of wasting more time "making it work" when it already does.

How many times have you as a technician been troubleshooting a connection issue, and realized the problem had been fixed for awhile but you didn't notice? If your first step had been to set up automated pings or http connection tests, you might have saved a lot of time and frustration. Tools like Nagios and IPmonitor are well equipped for this task. If you know of any other good tools, leave a comment!

Just some food for thought. Get some visualization or results of what you're working on if at all possible.