Excuses to keep doing exactly the same thing, if not even less.
From The Fight Between Carnival and Lent.
This week we recap Datadog’s announcements, discuss Sequoia’s investment pivot and hot takes on Facebook’s intent to rebrand. Plus, some thoughts on heated pools…
I aspire to talk more about the products we have in Tanzu-land. Here’s me talking about the Tanzu Build Service, trying to explain what it does - and why - in less than 2 minutes and 20 seconds:
Tanzu Talk: Securing Apps in Kubernetes with the Tanzu Build Service
Getting people to change is difficult - in regular life and especially at work. Reluctance to change when faced with the new, better way to operate is a frequent topic in conversations I have with executives. This week, I cataloged all sorts of reasons people come up with to avoid changing, hurdles for digital transformation. When I presented this, I also added in the word “excuse” as in “these are often excuses people use to avoid the work of changing.” That’s my old cynical self!
Anyhow, here’s the video of me collecting this together. As with much of the streaming I do, it’s the equivalent of watching someone code, except instead of code, they’re…thought-leadering? The list I typed up follows:
Tanzu Talk: Why is this so hard? An omnibus of digital transformation hurdles
(Tech) Compliance - auditors need to reverifying the new tech stack. Reference: USAF going through many months of re-verification, but now can ship in weeks/months instead of years. Done right, there are plenty of new controls that security gets from kubernetes and a true CI/CD pipeline.
(Tech) Security - similar to compliance, security people and policy needs to understand, trust, and be able to risk manage new stack. Done right, there are plenty of new controls that security gets from kubernetes and a true CI/CD pipeline.
(Tech) Tech Debt - using older systems that cannot be adapted to new uses. Most often old ERP and CRM systems, sometimes “mainframe” stuff. Hurdle: connecting all the “unseen” work of modernization to creating new business capabilities, not just “upkeep.” Solution: Needs some API wrapping, replatforming/rewriting. Longer-term, by putting in place centralized platform, you should prevent a lot of the variation that causes tech debt and institutional forgetting… also, by using a kubernetes bistro, you don’t get stuck on years old versions as we saw in DIY OpenStack and as we see in early DIY kubernetes stacks. Same for dev frameworks and services, e.g., Spring, etc.
(Tech) Build it and no one comes - ops/DevOps teams build a platform and tools, but groups don’t use them much. Solution: platform as a product . Make sure you have executive urgency/support, product manage the platform with developers, go on roadshow, and iterate features rather than building the complete platform all at once. Also: use Tanzu cause that’s what we do already, built over 7+ years and always evolving. Related: do platform operations.
- (Tech) CI/CD not complete - often, organizations don’t actually have CD, they just automate builds. When you change to kubernetes, you have a new way of building, configuring, and deploying your apps and services. Developers will spend a lot of time on that, building their own stuff unique per a team, and then you’re back into wasting productivity. This variability also causes lots of compliance and security waste because you have to verify all the different things. Solution: need to product manage and mandate that pipeline with good tools that are constantly updated to be better than what devs themselves could do. E.g., buildpacks and Tanzu Build Service.
(Meatware) Big Bangs Rarely Work/Can’t Change Enough of the Org at Once - people often want to transform everything at once due to urgency, over confidence, and making a business case. Big Bang change doesn’t work well - you have to learn what works in your org. and, as with your software, you have to adapt your transformation to your organization. Solution: start small, learn, and seed. Focus on business facing apps that are easy to succeed at and low risk. Quadrant of X-axis is technical feasibility/easy, Y-axis is business value/payoff.
(Meatware) Bottoms-up change rarely works - enlightened/ambitious teams and individuals want to change how the org works, but gets no support from management, or peers. Solution:
(Meatware) Skills - everyone always worries that their people don’t have the right skills - every survey ever, always, shows this. Solution: training is good, but isn’t enough. You need to pair up with experienced people and seed those people across new teams to do on-the-job training. Start with Tanzu Labs people, and then fade them out as needed (e.g., VW). Also: this is much like tech debt: it means leadership has neglected maintaining their “machine” and making sure it’s ready for business flexibility/agility.
(Meatware) Transformation without believe is process waste - uninspired people won’t put in the needed effort to do a good job, worse, may be sabotage things mostly due to transformation fatigue and learned distrust of management. Solution: management transparency through metrics and sharing failures, build up success cases, seeding successful people to new teams, and internal marketing/conferences. Address common fears and explore what motivations work for your staff.
(Meatware) Empowerment without clarity is chaos - empowered but confused about what to do, week to week, day-to-day. Solution: make a crips, actionable vision (e.g., DBS: “live more, bank less” ), instead of “strategy” focus on “principals” (e.g., Tanzu Labs practices, like the Radical stuff; UK GDS principals ). Manifestos are helpful sometimes. Also, management has to spend a lot of time “walking to halls” to see if people understand the strategy and can translate it into actions (e.g., Sophie at Daimler/Mercedes).
(Meatware) Reluctant Individuals - people are skeptical of changing, don’t see that it matters, and/or think they’re too “old and crusty.” Solution: demonstrate that people’s lives get better with the new methods: ship more frequently, less overtime, less toil/dumb work. Also, seed some “old and crusty” people on initial teams to convert them to advocates and living proof for change.
(Meatware) All talk, no tools - Lack of urgency from management and executives - they don’t actually change what they do, nor give people new tools/powers to do things in a new way. Solution: there’s no urgency from management, need to either create urgency or wait for some, or slowly skunkworks a series of small successes that are business facing. Also: focus a lot on how you solve business problems, not tech problems, or even get new capabilities. Cf. my metrics talk for business metrics , etc.
(Meatware) Corporate Finance & Strategy - you want to focus on weekly, iterative “product,” finance wants to fund annual projects. You have to spend 12 to 18 months planning, politicking, revising, without ever shipping one line of code to get validation/learning. Solution: yes, this is a problem. Start small to to be out of this big picture thing, market your success. Enlist finance and strategy people in small projects to experience how a smaller approach changes how risk management is done. Also you can just get big blocks of funding. This is really a problem because often the finance people have unchangeable rules, so they need to be motivated to change. Strategy should be interested in validated learning to come up with their own work…but, again, they need to be so. Nothing is better than success, making money, and having people latch onto that.
(Meatware) Can’t change the organization structure- becoming product centric, requires creating product teams. But changing org. structure is often “impossible.” For individuals, their roles change, for HR it’s a big change and may also be ongoing change until you figure it out. Solution: need to get executive urgency to push through change (that’s their job after all! Being the architect of their “product,” the org.) or create a new org., real or virtual. The second may seem bad, but it’s likely better than doing nothing.
“According to Wodehouse scholar Norman Murphy, the club was inspired by The Running Footman, a pub that was frequented by butlers, valets, and other servants in Mayfair in the 1920s, located in Charles Street (not far from the eastern end of Curzon Street). The pub is now named The Only Running Footman, or The Footman for short.”
‘Sprezzatura has also been described “as a form of defensive irony: the ability to disguise what one really desires, feels, thinks, and means or intends behind a mask of apparent reticence and nonchalance”…. “studied carelessness”, especially as a characteristic quality or style of art or literature.’
“most people tend to prioritize function over aesthetic value. But not aesthetic vloggers. Viewing and evaluating the internet as chiefly an aesthetic object — how aesthetically pleasing, beautiful or cute something is displayed/presented — is what unifies them.”
“The project is not only a rich visual archive, but a categories game, a gleeful exercise in terminological pedantry that reminds us of the shocking fun of language (not to mention consumerism). There is the rare flash of recognition that accompanies matching a term to a thing, the ability to capture and communicate what was previously just it”
- Week after next, November 11th, I’m giving a new talk, “Kubernetes is not for developers” at DevOops.
- I’m helping put together a series of webinars on platforms, featuring Forrester overview of cloud-native platform thinking and business case planning. I’m doing the one in English (on Dec 19th, not open yet), but you can check out the ones in Italian and French that are coming up. The Forrester content is really great and useful.
- Get three of my book for free!