jm + organisations   4

thoughts on rms and gnu -- wingolog
I can hear you saying it. RMS started GNU so RMS decides what it is and what it can be. But I don't accept that. GNU is about practical software freedom, not about RMS. GNU has long outgrown any individual contributor. I don't think RMS has the legitimacy to tell this group of largely volunteers what we should build or how we should organize ourselves. Or rather, he can say what he thinks, but he has no dominion over GNU; he does not have majority sweat equity in the project. If RMS actually wants the project to outlive him -- something that by his actions is not clear -- the best thing that he could do for GNU is to stop pretending to run things, to instead declare victory and retire to an emeritus role.

Note, however, that my personal perspective here is not a consensus position of the GNU project. There are many (most?) GNU developers that still consider RMS to be GNU's rightful leader. I think they are mistaken, but I do not repudiate them for this reason; we can work together while differing on this and other matters. I simply state that I, personally, do not serve RMS.
rms  gnu  leadership  open-source  foss  free-software  organisations  emeritus 
5 weeks ago by jm
Hero Culture
Good description of the "hero coder" organisational antipattern.
Now imagine that most of the team is involved in fire-fighting. New recruits see the older recruits getting praised for their brave work in the line-of-fire and they want that kind of praise and reward too. Before long everyone is focused on putting out fires and it is no ones interest to step back and take on the risks that long-term DevOps-focused goals entail.
coding  ops  admin  hero-coder  hero-culture  firefighting  organisations  teams  culture 
january 2014 by jm
Operations is Dead, but Please Don’t Replace it with DevOps
This is so damn spot on.
Functional silos (and a standalone DevOps team is a great example of one) decouple actions from responsibility. Functional silos allow people to ignore, or at least feel disconnected from, the consequences of their actions. DevOps is a cultural change that encourages, rewards and exposes people taking responsibility for what they do, and what is expected from them. As Werner Vogels from Amazon Web Services says, “you build it, you run it”. So a “DevOps team” is a risky and ultimately doomed strategy. Sure there are some technical roles, specifically related to the enablement of DevOps as an approach and these roles and tools need to be filled and built. Self service platforms, collaboration and communication systems, tool chains for testing, deployment and operations are all necessary. Sure someone needs to deliver on that stuff. But those are specific technical deliverables and not DevOps. DevOps is about people, communication and collaboration. Organizations ignore that at their peril.
devops  teams  work  ops  silos  collaboration  organisations 
may 2013 by jm
Natwest, RBS: When will bank glitch be fixed? Probably not today • The Register Forums
Some amazing insider-info posts on the Reg forum for the gigantic RBS/NatWest/Ulster Bank multi-day outage. Fingers pointing at their outsourcing/downsizing practices -- in a word, they've sacked the experienced staff, replaced them with noobs thousands of miles away, and not paid down any technical debt on the legacy code they're maintaining. Classic legacy IT fail.

"I worked for RBS during and after the merger with Natwest, I left their Global Financial Markets Department in 2004 after a 5 year stint. They had already moved some IT functions to India at that point and have continued to do so year on year since. The numbers some people are quoting 1600/800 are possibly the more recent figures, the total is way way beyond this.
The comments on documentation are comical, as if a document is the thing you turn to at a time of crisis.
The fact is, when you work closely with systems and the business users, you understand not only the quirks of the systems, but the risks and consequences of failure. You work with those users on the work around solutions that will get the banking day complete.
They haven't just outsourced the IT staff, but the very experienced and valuable back office / operations staff that would work with IT staff to solve the serious issues. I beleive these guys are mostly posted out in Singapore, who probably have never met the IT staff in India. The unseen cost of outsourcing is a compounding loss of shared experience and commitment, which becomes accutely apparent when the sh!t hits the ... cash machines
The chaps I trained out in India were nice enough, but they simply lacked the knowledge and experience of Finacial Markets trading, trade and settlement processing, Swift messaging blah blah and the risks involved.
I'll be drinking with a bunch of ex RBS/Natwesties soon enough, where we'll all be saying.....
"WE TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!"

Another poster says: "I understand that your description of the RBS Mainframe based batch update process is fairly accurate. The source of the problem was a software update to Batch scheduling suite CA7. The upgrade when so well that now there is no schedule to run all of those thousands of batch jobs to receive and make BACS payments, update balance, schedule printouts, etc.
I am sure the problem with the CA7 upgrade and the unfortunate misplacing of the Batch schedule has absolutely nothing to do the with the last UK based technicians leaving recently. The guys in India of course are perfectly able to cope and fix their mistake. I'm sure they understand how the thousands of jobs in the schedule need to ordered to make sure there is data corruption or loss. After all the problem happened on Tuesday and it's only Friday.
I wonder how many ex-RBS staff have received very lucrative short term contracts in the last few days......"
natwest  it  rbs  the-register  outsourcing  fail  organisations  ulster-bank  ulster-blank 
june 2012 by jm

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