In today’s world of instant gratification, it is really hard to be patient. Rather than walking down the hall to talk to your colleague, you can email them from 20 feet away and then march down the hall 15 minutes later to say “didn’t you get my email?”. In the information age, most of us have forgotten what it’s like to not be instantly connected whether we are on vacation, in a restaurant and now even on planes. It has largely destroyed our ability to be patient.

Unfortunately there are a lot of things in our personal and professional lives that require A LOT of patience. On the professional front, there is the not-always-cooperative Print MIS. On the personal front there are the young humans some of us live with and are responsible for, our kids.

As someone whose work revolves around Print MIS systems and as a parent of “almost” 5 year old identical twin boys, I feel somewhat qualified to make this analogy. I’m certainly not saying that the technology is as difficult as parenting, as there have been days when I have “run” to my office to find some peace. However, there are several times when I have muttered to myself or to a customer “implementing or managing a Print MIS is very much like parenting”. It doesn’t always cooperate, it’s not as easy as you thought, it can throw you curve balls, it can make the most prepared person feel like their world has turned upside-down, it keeps you up at all hours – the list goes on and on. The one thing I have learned on both fronts is that it takes patience, lots and lots of patience. The successes and milestones are so rewarding, but along the way there are challenges.

Like parenting, Print MIS is not a lovely bundle that arrives with a full set of instructions and guidelines. It may look beautiful and peaceful, but it has a lot of intelligence and challenges brewing. It needs you – more than you could have ever imagined. You quickly learn that every implementation will be unique and while there are some really fun and exciting moments, there are also the unexpected events and situations that make you feel unprepared and on some occasions, unqualified. Implementing and managing a Print MIS is a marathon, not a sprint. Anyone who disagrees with that has probably never done it (kind of like the non-parent that says “I will never be the parent who’s kid has a melt-down in the grocery store - yep, I said that).

The one thing that I can say is that if you have the patience, and you work hard, and you put energy and creativity in to developing and implementing your Print MIS, the rewards will be massive not only to you but to your organization and your customers. It will be something you will be proud of.