Andrew Cowie at ONLamp.com - Extreme System Administration:
"Write user stories.
Jot down, in just a few sentences, what the user experience will be for interacting with your group, your systems, or some process interface you are creating. Share this with people--your team, your boss, and above all the people who will use it. [...]
Code test cases before the rest of the system.
[...] I think we can learn a couple of things from this. Certainly one of the biggest problems in operations is simply knowing when something has broken. If we can establish effective monitoring, telemetry, and alarm event notification systems from the outset, and make maintaining and updating those systems a rigorous part of our change management, then we are a lot more likely to know when a casual, supposedly unrelated change causes a problem."