Reminiscence.. (Encarta: the recollection of past experiences or events in speech or writing, or the act of recalling the past).
Something most of us like to do in the period around the start of a new year. We do it because we want to learn from the past and not make the same mistake again. Sometimes, we do it too much and this often leads to grumpiness and risk- conflict avoidance. Sometimes, we don’t do it enough, happily making the same mistakes over- and over again….
And the latter is what I see today. In the past decades, we introduced things like ITIL, better processes, performance management and other expertises because they were necessary. The business depended on us, so we had to live up to their expectations. After the previous crisis hit us, budgets across the world were frozen. So new initiatives had to be funded with cost cutting exercises. And in many cases, this simply meant staff reductions, skipping unnecessary things like performance monitoring and trending etc. The crisis would pass and we would have money to invest soon anyway, right? Wrong. Less than 1 year, just when we were about to invest again, the second crisis hit us.
Only this time, we really feel the effects of years of cost cutting, shaving and staff reductions. What was once a stable infrastructure is turning into an unreliable mix of IT components. Simple because we do no longer use many of the “unnecessary” policies, procedures and jobs we developed and implemented in the past decades. People wonder why on-line banking systems go down more frequently, why the performance of websites is less predictable, why IT related anomalies seem to appear and disappear for no specific reason.
We have forgotten the lessons of the past. IT is complex and complex things fail when they are not monitored and managed with attention for detail. My hope for 2012 is that we start realizing that you can’t just scrap things we implemented for a good reason. Look back WHY you did something and reconsider if you plan to change it. 2012 will be a difficult year, but we have seen difficult years before. With the right pragmatic approach, we will come out stronger. We will have learned from our mistakes and not make them again. Right?