Quote of Week 13, 2017

David Marcus: Lieutenant Saavik was right: You never have faced death.
Kirk: No. Not like this. I haven’t faced death. I’ve cheated death. I’ve tricked my way out of death and patted myself on the back for my ingenuity. I know nothing.
David Marcus: You knew enough to tell Saavik that how we face death is at least as important as how we face life.
Kirk: Just words.
David Marcus: But good words. That’s where ideas begin. Maybe you should listen to them.

– Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn (1982)

Reflecting on this week, I’ve been confronted with the word death more than a couple of times. My good friend and former colleague had a father pass away. Another colleague is leaving the city he grew up in and characterized his departure as “the death of this chapter, the birth of the next.” In my own life, I described divorce as a death. Especially one having spent fifteen years which produced two children.  The longer the marriage, the longer the pain.  Feels like death.

Losing a job which you loved is also a death. This is the third time I’ve unexpectedly lost a job due to economic realities, forced downsizing, or the company moving and not relocating it’s people. Putting your soul into your work means you leave a part of you behind. Building IT is like a birth. Leaving IT, to never see it again feels like a death.

So, this week’s quote is from Kirk’s son, David Marcus. Where Kirk is dealing with the death of his friend, Spock, and the advice given is my reminder of how we should go on:  How we face death is as important as how we face life.

\\ JMM

March 30th marked the end of my four year journey…

March 30th marked the end of my four year journey with Santander Consumer USA. Looking back, there were many challenges faced and difficult decisions made. Likewise, I’ve shared in the victories and enjoyed collaboration while influencing a challenging culture. Where we failed, we learned. Where we succeeded, we shared with all. And each time, my team was there and did their job.

I wish I could say it was all me, but it wasn’t. I had great leader who took time to mentor and coach. I had a peer that was both grounding and supportive. And I had a group of guys who cared as much as I did. Each time, we grew as a team, focused and determined to deliver amazing service.

To my former team and SC colleagues, let me leave you with these words by Ed Marx, “Insignificance is not my calling. Nor is it yours.” Do not coast, do embrace challengers, give credit to the team, build villages, not castles, love when you want to hate, people first, and serve, not be served.

Always forward.

\\ JMM

Quote of Week 12, 2017

“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

Quote Of Week 11, 2017

“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

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

Quote Of Week 7, 2017

Please keep in mind that the key words “MUST”, “MUST NOT”, “REQUIRED”, “SHALL”, “SHALL NOT”, “SHOULD”, “SHOULD NOT”, “RECOMMENDED”, “MAY”, and “OPTIONAL” in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.

One of my peers cited this in one of our project meetings.  Nebulous or poorly interpretive descriptions of technical requirements should be avoided.

\\ JMM