It Was Never About Ops

For a while I’ve been thinking about Susan J. Fowler’s Ops Identitfy Crisis post. Bits I agreed with and some I did not.

My original reaction to the post was pretty pragmatic. I had concerns (and still do) about adding more responsibilities onto software engineers (SWE). It’s already fairly common to have them responsible for QA, database administration and security tasks but now ops issues are being considered as well.

I suspect there is an as of yet unmeasured negative impact to the productivity of teams that keep expanding the role of SWE. You end up deprioritizing the operations and systems related concerns, because new features and bug fixes will always win out when scheduling tasks.

Over time I’ve refined my reaction to this. The traditional operations role is the hole that you’ve been stuck in and engineering is how you get out of that hole. It’s not that you don’t need Ops teams or engineers anymore. It’s simply that you’re doing it wrong.

The Loss of a Sense Doesn’t Always Heighten the Others

Over a two week break my wife and I were talking about a statement she read where someone was called the “long time embedded photojournalist for Burning Man” and how she disagreed with this. This person wasn’t shooting for any news organization. They’re known to be one of the Burning Man faithful which removes some impartiality they may have. In essence they’re a PR photographer for Burning Man.

This made me consider most of the output from social media is in one of two different camps. The first is “Free PR” and the second is “Critics”. You’re either giving away free material to promote an idea, organization, product, or a person or you’re criticizing them.

A Need for a Honest Look at How We Do Incident Management

Compared with other fields ours is still young and we haven’t figured out all the things just yet. The natural tight connection between academics, open source software and the improvements we’ve already seen can make it easy to think we’re already doing all of the hard work. All of which has been on specific technical challenges and very little on how we as an industry should improve how we work.

Consider the difference between how much attention we place on data we collect from the servers and services we support compared with what we have available for our entire field. We love dashboards and metrics to the point that they’re used to drive businesses and/or teams. Why haven’t we done the same thing at the macro level to help improve and guide our profession?

Our Resistance to Change has Sent Us the Long Way Round to Where We’re Going

Eight years after Mark Mayo wrote about how cloud computing would change our profession pretty much everything still applies and people are still trying to adapt to the changes he highlighted. The post is primarily about the changes that individual systems administrators would be facing, but it also describes how the way we work would need to adapt.

The problem is that on the operations and systems side of web development our overall reaction to this was slow and I think we confused what the actual goal should be with something that’s was only temporary.

What I'm Wishing For in 2016

Five Fucks to Give

First thing is that I’m only going to have five fucks to give in 2016. One for my wife Lane, three for our pets Chai, Hanna and Olive and the fifth for myself. This means keeping a low tolerance on the amount of stress and nonsense we’re allowing into our lives.