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

Quote of Week 17, 2017

“I would recommend looking at toxic culture through the glass of Deming’s 14 Points on Quality Management.” – Jonathan Merrill – From:  Deming’s 14 Points

  1. Create constancy of purpose for improving products and services.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on price alone; instead, minimize total cost by working with a single supplier.
  5. Improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production and service.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Adopt and institute leadership.
  8. Drive out fear.
  9. Break down barriers between staff areas.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce.
  11. Eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce and numerical goals for management.
  12. Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship, and eliminate the annual rating or merit system.
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone.
  14. Put everybody in the company to work accomplishing the transformation.

\\ JMM

Quote of Week 16, 2017

“Thank you for being an agent of change. Continue to be a voice for ideas for empowering our department to the next level. We don’t always express appreciation for the people who care about us.” – A Manager in Accounting

Agent of change.  What a great way to describe a person.  Please read “5 Characteristics of a Change Agent”.  This picture from the website describes it perfectly:

5 Characteristics of a Change Agent
5 Characteristics of a Change Agent

\\ JMM

Quote of Week 15, 2017

“Unless you are an OS vendor or tools company, If your business has to care about operating system end-of-life announcements, IT has failed.  If your business has to care about audit/compliance exposure due to old operating systems, IT has failed.  If, as a business what operating system you run is a point of contention, IT has abdicated its responsibility.” – From Can You DevOps from Windows, Steven Murawski (Blogger)

Heavy conversation this week around engineering technology infrastructure, cloud, DevOps, and why companies are struggling with this shift.  This article popped into view and perfectly explains the problematic nature of IT at large organizations.  Steven describes it as “The Passivity of Enterprise IT”, liking IT leadership as order takers and janitors of the software world.

DevOps core values are described by the acronym CAMS:  Culture, Automation, Measurement, and Sharing.  DFW hosts an DevOps user group and the re-occurring theme is not the A-M-S, although there are legacy challenges there too.  In my experience, start with C, Culture.

What’s the point?  This week’s quote is about IT’s real role:  providing business value.  Steven goes on to say, “IT is not just responsible for executing projects. IT is responsible for making sure the project will return business value.  IT is responsible for making sure projects are done in a supportable manner.”

What’s your IT look like?  Are you an order taker or doing what information technology’s real role is:  provide business value.  And please read Steve’s post.  How Microsoft does DevOps will continue to garner large interest.  How that’s done will get you a hundred different answers.

\\ JMM

Quote of Week 14, 2017

“Some animals were meant to carry each other, to live symbiotically for a lifetime – star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not those animals. The slower we move, the faster we die. We are not swans. We’re sharks.”
– Ryan Bingham, Up in the Air (2009)

I was sitting at a table with a collection of other IT professionals this past week at a local networking event, when the conversation turned to turning forty. And, while I expected the usual aches and pains conversation, the informal comments and questions were on assessing careers at that milestone. Are you making and meeting your goals? Are you staying engaged or keeping the status quo? Are you slowing down as time goes on or keeping pace with the competition?

This quote popped into my mind during the event. We are sharks. We stay engaged. We practice life long learning. We improve and grow. And we teach. Because we are sharks.

\\ JMM

Quote of Week 10, 2017

“ServiceNow isn’t in any Gartner quadrant for project management, I am aware of. We should think about using third party versus ServiceNow.” – An IT Leader

It’s quite known I am an internal champion of ServiceNow at SC.  The largest benefit alone is in the demand and resource management functions of an ITSM.  Although there are many amazing third party project tools out there, the value of this tool and the visibility gained is equally amazing.

\\ JMM

Negative Argument for IT Automation: Jurassic Park?

Sitting at a recent IT event the commentary turned to forecasting IT’s future.  The speaker gave an innocuous prediction about how automation is replacing the average IT worker.  The industry has decided and is transforming with terms like DevOps, software defined networking, and emphasis on scripting leveraging Microsoft PowerShell, Ansible, or the liking.

Later that evening, the family and I caught Jurassic Park on television.  The story of scientists creating a theme park with genetically resurrected dinosaurs from DNA located in petrified tree sap.  The movie is amazing, still.  Interestingly, I found myself watching and comparing the movie’s themes and messages with the morning’s event.

IT Industry Visionaries Say… The future is Custom Automation.

Dr. Ellie Sattler: So, what are you thinking?

Dr. Alan Grant: We’re out of a job.

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Don’t you mean extinct?

The Cost Of Custom And Automation Dependence:  It’s Not Cheap

John Hammond: Dennis, our lives are in your hands and you have butterfingers?

Dennis Nedry: [laughs] I am totally unappreciated in my time. You can run this whole park from this room with minimal staff for up to 3 days. You think that kind of automation is easy? Or cheap? You know anybody who can network 8 connection machines and debug 2 million lines of code for what I bid for this job? Because if he can I’d like to see him try.

Deploying Custom IT Using Automation Is A Journey

John Hammond: All major theme parks have delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked!

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, but, John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.

IT Developers Argue Automation Reasons For Operational Greatness

John Hammond: I don’t think you’re giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody’s ever done before…

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

The Fallout Of Automation Dependence:  It’s Never Flawless

Dr. Ellie Sattler: But you can’t think your way through this, John. You have to feel it.

John Hammond: You’re right. You’re absolutely right. Hiring Nedry was a mistake, that’s obvious. We’re over-dependent on automation. I can see that now. Now, the next time, everything is correctible…

Dr. Ellie Sattler: John…

John Hammond: Creation is an act of sheer will. Next time it’ll be flawless.

Realizing IT Automation Dependence Isn’t A Viable Reality.

Dr. Alan Grant: Hammond, after careful consideration, I’ve decided, not to endorse your park.

John Hammond: So have I.

Last Thoughts

This was meant to be a humorous take on a serious topic that is affecting the IT industry in big ways.  Long time IT architects and engineers recognize there may be simple truths here, but the fight to automate everything continues to rage on.  Granted, many shops have seen irrefutable gains in this space.  Look deeply inside those cultures and those leaders.  I suspect you’ll find the extraordinary, the exceptional, outspoken, the fighter, and maybe even crazy.

I like to play in those spaces too, but sitting at DevOps, Cisco, and other user groups around DFW, the constant theme I see and hear, many with frustration in their voices, is the desire and want is there but the capability, knowledge, culture, and leadership is not.  Creation is an act of sheer will.  But, the definition of insanity is creation and sheer will gone asunder.

\\ JMM