The Passivity of Enterprise IT…

“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

We are not swans…

“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

The other four letter word…

“The other four letter word: C-A-R-E” – Bill Atkins, Colleague

Information technology craftsmen care. How engineers perform their work defines who we are as professionals. The attention to detail, exceeding standards, faster and exacting than peers.  Why do this? Because we care. It bothers us when we see others don’t… or won’t.

\\ JMM

ABC: Always Be…

“ABC: Always Be Crisp” – Brooks Brothers

When walking into work, I like to be prepared.  Ready for anything.  Journaling allows me to refresh my memory with yesterday’s events, prepared with facts.  I don’t like walking into ambushes nor feel like a fool.  Always be crisp, both visually and mentally.  Impressions matter.

\\ JMM

ServiceNow isn’t in any Gartner quadrant for project management… ?

“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

Well engineered projects are indistinguishable…

From:  http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r29293609-How-Does-WHT-Do-It

“Well engineered projects are indistinguishable from crazy ideas.”

I resonated with this statement as we spoke of the important of wiring standards, craftmanship, and the sad state of installations in so many IT shops.  Why are well engineered projects, like data center wiring, met with so much resistance?  Answer: cost, time, and effort are not always well articulated nor understood by the masses.  And often, trump all unless you spend the time showing amazing value for that effort.

A wire is not always a wire.  Kudos for those shops that get it and embrace good IT.  It’s crazy, I know.

\\ JMM

Think like a Risk Manager…

“While I understand the process and how it should work, there is a chance that someone could go in and make changes [to servers]. We have to think like a Risk Manager and the possibilities that could happen.”
– Steve Moore, Director, IT Operations, Santander Consumer USA (2017)

Just recently, we had several conversations where system engineers lamented on the amount of work risk mitigation has created.  While this often is viewed through various colors of lenses and often tempered with bias, the point was not to just express exasperation about the volume of reactive work.

The point was to proactively think like a risk manager and head things off so it’s built into the DNA of the technology.  Are we really thinking this way?  Are we creatively thinking about risk as we architect solutions.

Let’s prevent the backlog versus react to it.

\\ JMM