One day, a dog stumbled upon a toolbox left on the floor. There was a note on it, left by his master, which he couldn't read. He was only a dog, after all.
He sniffed it. It wasn't food. It wasn't a new chew toy. So, being a good dog, he walked off and lay on his mat, and had a nap.
When the master returned home that night, the dog was happy and excited to see him. He greeted his master with joy, and brought along his favorite toy to play with.
He was greeted with yelling and anger and "bad dog". He was confused. What had he done to displease his master? Why did the master keep yelling at him, and pointing at the toolbox. He had been good and left it alone. He knew that it wasn't his.
With his limited understanding of human language, he heard the words "fix", "dishwasher", and "bad dog". He knew that the dishwasher was the yummy cupboard that all of the dinner plates went in to, and came out less yummy and smelling funny.
He also knew that the cupboard had made a very loud sound that had scared the dog two nights ago, and then had spilled yucky water on the floor. He had barked to wake his master, who came down, yelling at the dog, then yelling at the machine.
But what did fix mean? And why was the master pointing at the toolbox?
The Toolbox and Web Performance
It is far too often that I encounter companies that have purchased Web performance service that they believe will fix their problems. They then pass the day-to-day management of this information on to a team that is already overwhelmed with data.
What is this team supposed to do with this data? What does it mean? Who is going to use it? Does it make my life easier?
When it comes time to renew the Web performance services, the company feels gipped. And they end up yelling at the service company who sold them this useless thing, or their own internal staff for not using this tool.
To an overwhelmed IT team, Web performance tools are another toolbox on the floor. They know it's there. It's interesting. It might be useful. But it makes no sense to them, and is not part of what they do.
Giving your dog the toolbox does not fix your dishwasher. Giving an IT team yet another tool does not improve the performance of a Web site.
Only in the hands of a skilled and trained team does the Web performance of a site improve, or the dishwasher get fixed. As I have said before, a tool is just a tool. The question that all organizations must face is what they want from their Web performance services.
Has your organization set a Web performance goal? How do you plan to achieve your goals? How will you measure success? Does everyone understand what the goal is?
After you know the answers to those questions, you will know that that as amazing as he is, your dog will not ever be able to fix your dishwasher.
But now you know who can.