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Coté Memo #077: Avoid going from "VP of Having a P&L" to "VP of Special Projects"
I’ll be at DevOpsDays Chicago in a few weeks, August 26th to 27th. If you want to go and haven’t registered yet, you can use the code PIVOTAL10 to get 10% off, which gets it down to like $170 or something. It’s excellent value for a tech conference, plus you can see me speak and staff a booth! While I’m up there, on Aug 26th, I’ll be speaking at the local Cloud Foundry Meetup.
Tech & Work World
Stacking the Deck
I’m working on the second part in my “cloud native journey series” (part one was an overview and brief summary). Here’s an excerpt from my draft on greenfield journeys, on selecting the right initial projects:
Selecting your first projects
If you’re a small team, or a small company, selecting the project to work on is likely easy: you probably just have one application, so select that! In larger companies, there are often 100’s, of not 1,000’s of application and projects you could pick from. You want to pick one that will have customer value (that is, be customer facing) and will give you feedback once you deploy it (people will use it a lot, it won’t just be shelf-ware). You also want to pick a small enough project that getting it into production is possible in a short amount of time, let’s say 3 months at the maximum. Finally, if things go poorly, you want it to be a somewhat low profile project so you can sweep it under the rug if things really go poorly so you can live to greenfield another day.
This last point is no doubt contentious to the purer minded of y’all out there, and I can sympathize. We should strive for truth and transparency! I’m sure you’re lucky enough to be in a corporate structure that rewards the value of failing (learning), but think about your peers who are not so lucky and work in caustic corporate culture that punishes any type of failure by “promoting” the former “VP of Having a P&L” to “VP of Special Projects.” In such cases, you’re given the chance to advance to the next place on the board by success, so you’ll want to pick a project accordingly. Of course, the point is that as you build up the success record of failing fast, as it were, you’ll be able to change said caustic corporate culture around…hopefully. While a bit dated, the 2010 booklet, The Concise Executive Guide to Agile has a detailed discussion and methodology that’s helpful for picking your initial projects.
There’s a different type of project you can choose as well, what I like to think of as a “moribund” project. It fits all the criteria above, but already exists and just needs to be shown some love. One of our customers, Humana, profiled this strategy. Their Vitality project wasn’t getting the engagement levels they wanted: just 3% of potential users. They wanted to triple engagement, getting it to 10%. As they detailed in their keynote at this year’s CF Summit, after reving that project with a more agile and cloud native approach, they were astonished by the increase in engagement to over 30% of potential users. They then parlayed this success into two other, small but important projects and are not on the path to transform how applications are done company wide, beyond the greenfield.
At ~3,500 words, I need to cut down the full piece a bit. We’ll see what comes out the other end of the chute!
Some recent items from me/us:
Software is awesome, Software Defined Talk #40 - When you can pay the sprinkler repair guy by using your finger to sign an iPad, things are looking up. Maybe it means we’ll have lots of microservices wrapped around government services, who knows. Also, we cover the strategy of choosing boring technologies, MongoDB, and The EMC Federation.
Part two of my talk with Josh Long about the Spring Framework in cloud is up: we discuss Spring Cloud and how it works with Pivotal Cloud Foundry. There’s a full transcript up too if you don’t like podcasts. (And, see part one which was all about Spring Boot, and China.)
More from “cloud native” land
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the infrastructure niche of the tech world has gone crazy for “cloud native.” Consequently, I follow it a lot and type that phrase a lot. Here’s some recent items I’ve found:
Cloud Native Application Platforms – Structured and Unstructured | Wikibon.com - this is, perhaps, one of the more perfectly aligned to Pivotal views of what all the container, cloud native, DevOps hoopla is all about.
A Value Framework that Works for Transforming Your Application Portfolio - we’ve got a whole passel of people in The Federation who’ll help you get from legacy to cloud native.
Modernizing Business-critical Apps for the Cloud - “Finally, CIOs need to understand if the juice worth the squeeze.”
Five Things You Need To Know About Microservices - “For those not familiar with the concept, microservices is essentially a software architectural design pattern. The fundamental premise of microservices is that value can be unlocked through decomposing large, monolithic legacy applications into a set of small independent, composable services that each can be accessed via RESTful APIs.”
Getting Mad at Work Can Cost Women $15,000 in Annual Pay - “If a woman comes across as angry or critical, she is rated as 35% less competent and worthy of $15,088 less in pay than a woman who doesn’t rock the boat.”
An introduction to Wardley (Value Chain) Mapping - a nice way to figure out what you should focus on doing.
VCE Study Makes Case for Converged IT - in case you’re interested in input on converged being a good idea or not.
The end of corporate computing (10th anniversary edition) - “I got plenty of things wrong in the article, but I think the ensuing ten years have shown that the piece was fundamentally on target in predicting the rise of what we now call the cloud.”
The digital transformation illusion - Don’t just put old wine in new bottles, figure out if there’s something better than wine too: “How much of the current excitement – and achievement – of digital government is about making the old product better? And what might the new product be which will change the idea of government altogether?”
RSA chief uncans insurance giant’s mega IT infrastructure review - a write-up of one company moving the boulder up the hill.
EMC Documentum Goes Cloud Native With Pivotal Cloud Foundry - “deployment timeframes have been reduced by 75 percent.”
Global SMB IT spend heading towards $600 billion - “It predicts that global SMB IT spend – defined as firms with between one and 999 employees - could reach $597 billion this year, equating to an average of $700 per full-time employees and just over $8,000 per SMB business.”
Activist Investors - tips for what buyers should do when their vendors go private and otherwise get involved with activists.
The 7 “Deadly” Wastes That Could Cost Your Company - a nice summary of wasteful process, referenced in Damon Edward’s DevOpsDays Austin 2015 talk, along with his addition “hero culture.”
IT: Think Digital, Think Business, Think Big - n=250 survey that shows people want more from IT, but they feel IT is not up to the task: “A mere 43 percent agreed their IT department were successfully becoming more strategic, responsive, and valued as a partner; 58 percent rated IT as poor or making only moderate steps, the report said.”
PaaS or Play? Cloud’s Next Move - MeriTalk - “respondents from a recent government study who have already used PaaS say they save 47% of their time, or 1 year and 8 months off a 3.5 year development cycle. For those who have not deployed PaaS, respondents believe it can shave 31% off development time frames and save 25% of their annual IT budget, a federal savings of $20.5 billion. As well, 90% believe PaaS is critical to data center consolidation goals. The report goes on to share how 52% see reduced costs, 37% believe they will achieve more automated IT maintenance, and 20% believe they will see greater shared costs.” Commissioned by RedHat: “online survey of 153 [US] Federal IT professionals in August 2013.”
Google Losing $8B to $9B on Side Projects, Estimates Morgan Stanley - Trying to figure out the various lines of business in Google. I’m awaiting some details on their reporting structure. I don’t really see what the big deal is: it’s all still the same company, same stock, same people. We’ll see what happens.
Fun & IRL
7 Minute Workout
I’ve been trying to the old 7 minute workout via an app (there’s a NYTimes one up too). Not having exercised for, let’s see…none of my life, it sure is hard and just the right amount of time and pain that I keep doing it.
We’ll see what happens.
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