Once upon a time we categorized companies into two broad categories with regards to decision making: Centralized & De-centralized. This model is easy to comprehend when we think of a central headquarters housing centralized functions and executives, and then a large number of branches which service local regions. A bank or retail operation is a common example. Thinking on the subject seems non-applicable to companies that lack this distribu...

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Welcome to the Age of E-Operations Management

Posted on November 12, 2015

DevOps has often been criticized for drawing too strongly from manufacturing metaphors.  SRE, DevOps, NoOps, we quibble over words.   What is DevOps?  We scratch at definitions to explain it.  I think the time has come for the confusion to end and for us all to accept the reality: we have entered a new age, the information age.  e-Commerce, e-Government, everything has changed as we've evolved with the coming of the internet.  We ...

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Governing an Organization

Posted on October 5, 2015

How does one govern an organization?  The word govern derives from the Greek word to steer.  Today we commonly prefer to say "manage", but manage has a more active and direct connotation.  How does one steer an organization? Steven Blank says that there are 3 phases to an organization: the search phase, the build phase, the execution phase.  While strictly speaking each of these phases could be of any size, we most commonly see ...

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What exactly is value?

Posted on May 12, 2014

In the LEAN and DevOps worlds we're obsessed with the idea of providing value. But what is value really? Some times we use a word so much that it is drained of any practical meaning and becomes more of an abstract idea. It may not be too much of a stretch to say that the word "value" ceases to really contain any value. Webster defines "value" as: "a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged" "the ...

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Writing a Better SOP

Posted on September 25, 2012

Within an ops team you should have 3 primary types of governance enablers: controls, policies and processes. A control is a guiding principle, which is implemented as a one or more policies (which are just rules), which are in turn standardized in a set of procedures. Its important to have all 3, because controls are very vague, policies are often general and broad in nature, which means to provide consistent quality results we require ...

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Policy & Process in the Blood

Posted on April 14, 2012

I'm highly introspective... far more than I would actually like to be.  I'm one of those strange individuals to whom if you said "Do you realize your being a jerk right now?" I'd actually admit "Yes, I'm sorry about that, I'm trying to find a way to rectify it unsuccessfully." Despite that obsessive level of awareness, nothing can tell you more about who you are then your children.  In particular, by observing things your children do that ...

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LISA Keynote 2011: The DevOps Transformation

Posted on December 16, 2011

Last week I was given the incredible opportunity to not only speak at LISA but to deliver the opening keynote.  I hadn't expected to even go, but when I learned the topic was DevOps I made a last minute plea on the eve of the submission deadline for a slot to deliver a talk I was calling "The 60 Minute MBA", a history of Operations Management.  My hope is that I could get some obscure timeslot so a handful of people could geek out with me on ...

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8 All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembra...

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The Joy of Non-Functional Requirements

Posted on April 30, 2011

ITILv3's "Service Design" book, in section 5.1 regarding Requirements Engineering defines 3 types of requirements: "Functional requirements are those specifically required to support a particular business function." "Management and operational requirements (sometimes referred to as non-functional requirements) address the need for a responsive, available, and secure service, and deal with such issues as ease of deployment, operability, ...

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Systems Thinking & The Wisdom of Ackoff

Posted on March 9, 2011

Dr. Russell Ackoff was not the father of System Thinking, but he was in my opinion its best disciple. A voice of reason in the wilderness. In the following is one of many you will find on YouTube (I recommend you watch as many as you can), but there are a great number of important points he makes that I'd ask you to carefully ponder: "There are 5 types of content in the human mind: data, information, knowledge, understanding, and ...

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