Quote of Week 21, 2017, The “ORC”.

“Our foundation of systems documentation will begin with the ‘ORC’, the Operations Readiness Checklist.” – Jonathan Merrill @ LANVERA

How are we doing systems documentation? Today, its spreadsheets by system, contained in a knowledgebase article, updated by the knowledge champion for that system. This is a fairly antiquated yet reliable way to manage this type of documentation. The ORC has an interesting history and has evolved for the years. Here is an abbreviated account.

The birth of the original ORC came from former Santander Consumer USA VP, IT Operations and Engineering, James Brewster in 2013. “I want a checklist that every system must have completed before it goes into support.”

The original ORC was a simple checklist of questions to answer:  Name of servers, did we back it up, was it security vuln scanned, etc.. This Q&A went through three iterations as different groups asked for information to be added. The simple checklist turned into a seven tab spreadsheet. The reception by engineers and customers alike in the end was… “awful.”

The next major iteration of the ORC, dubbed ORC-lite, had it’s most influence by former Santander Consumer USA Director of Datacenter Architecture, John Thomas. Feedback took the ORC in a different direction and focused on systems configuration documentation and support capability.  In other words, an engineer-friendly quick to fill out document focusing on support.  That change exploded it’s adoption and was embraced meaningfully across all IT Operations’ leaders.

Victim of it’s success, the ORC came onto audit’s radar when systems documentation became an IT control item, requesting specific system configuration data.  ORC-lite once again became a 7-tab worksheet through the many discussions with these teams.

Today’s ORC is the end result of those deliberations.  John Thomas commented this was some of our best work.  A lot of hard work did go in, but the goal was never a spreadsheet.  Our search for an automated system documentation was the vision.  Could ServiceNow’s discovery engine and business service mapping serve?  I won’t be there to find out.

Nevertheless, the ORC is a great tool for organizations needing a starting point for system documentation.  The ORC lives on!

Link:  ORC 1.0 “template”.

\\ JMM

Quote of Week 20, 2017

“Life is about risk.  It’s important to take risks.  Just don’t be reckless.” – Richard Holbrooke, HBO Documentary, The Diplomat

I grabbed this gem as my last four years in banking could easily be summarized by saying, “We didn’t take a lot of risks.  In fact, they beat the risk out of us.”  How do you run an innovative and agile organization without risk?  Not easily.

Some organizations get this.  Many do not.  It’s an important to be risk adverse, but not risk intolerant. Just don’t be reckless.

\\ JMM

Quote of Week 19, 2017

“Technology is not a panacea for whatever ills.  Technology is only an enabler and needs to support people, process, content and connectivity needs.  Starting with technology has proven disastrous for many companies…” – Deloitte Development, Knowledge Management 2016

Is it possible for companies to have too much technology?  Is the knee jerk reaction to behavior to deploy a technology versus a people solution?  Take employee wasting time on social media.  Line managers know it exists, but do they confront their people to set behaviorial expectations?  Far easier to avoid those conversations and let IT handle.  Technology is the enabler — for good and bad.

Although this quote was in the context of managing knowledge, it’s just as true for every aspect of the business of managing people.  Start with people first.

\\JMM

Quote of Week 18, 2017

“‘Reinventing the wheel’ sounds pretty benign but ‘failing to learn’ and ‘reinventing failure’ are actually what many organizations are facing today… especially troubling given the pace of change…” – Deloitte Development, LLC on Knowledge Managemennt 2016

What a great insight.  So many companies who don’t have a knowledge management strategy with staffing turn.  The fundamental problem of “teaching smart people to learn” and the invisible costs this comes with.

This quote came from DFW’s Knowledge Management interest group.  I highly encourage your participation.  A place where ideas go to be captured and shared.  Next one is May 24.  Hope to see you there.

\\ JMM