Thursday, February 03, 2011

Note to self 14 - Backups don't matter, what you want is recovery

It really doesn't matter how good or how fast your backup process is - it's fastest if you just copy to /dev/null - if the recovery doesn't work. 
This is one of the times when the practices of ITIL and the like are very applicable even to the smallest IT department - like your own personal laptop computer.
Do a trial run of the recovery every now and then!

(At least I was told that ITIL emphasizes these trial runs. If it doesn't – well, to do them still seems like a good idea to me)

Edit: As Robby Raschke said on Twitter: IT Service Continuity Management (ITSCM) in ITIL is where testing your business recovery is a critical component.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Note to self 13 - you can't assign responsibility, it has to be assumed

Michael, you might be able to say - or even order - that somebody is responsible for something but that doesn't really make them feel responsible for it. If he is assigned that responsibility without assuming  the responsibility he will most likely find ways to delegate this responsibility and to redefine the borders of the responsibility. 
An example for assumed responsibility would be this guy I know who develops his own software for a living - they lengths he goes to circumvent the glitches of the operating systems are impressive. For example even if the java installations on the client machine are completely effed his software will still try to figure out the best match for his needs and will 'just work' - Although he could just lay back and take a position of "Well, if the user can't correctly install java it's his problem" he doesn't. He feels not only responsible for implementing his software. He feels responsible for the users experience with his software. (And given the fact that he is able to make a living from a $30 software package his commitment seems to pay off)
It's unrealistic to expect this kind of behavior from people who are assigned responsibilities - especially if they don't believe in the goals or the underlying beliefs of the people who try to assign the responsibilities.