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Win Friends and Influence Processes as a Configuration Manager

If you cultivate a lifelong habit of making friends, life gets easier and easier, as more friends show up when you least expect them.    But  if you make a life habit of making enemies, aka burning bridges, using up a place, etc.  then life gets progressively more difficult as these enemies show up unexpectedly.


Sometimes you don't know when you're making an enemy.  I, for example, am intrinsically task-oriented, relative to the continuum of task- to people- oriented in their work approach.  I've had to learn my people skills in the crucible of  professional services consulting.  And along my journey I have gotten a heck of a lot of work done, but at times there have been a trail of bodies behind me that it took to get the work done.  I was measured by the results, not penalized by the body count, and that was ok with me.  And then one day, I ran into one of the bodies at a customer account.  I lost some of my innocence that day.  It made me think.  Today, I am somewhat more balanced. 


As architects, implementors and administrators of the configuration management process,   what are our consumers, owners, and providers taking away from your conversations?  Is there a cycle of trust-building, or do you seem to have to be running over the same old ground, the same old fears?  If you're building an onboarding process, have you thought about how this process will treat those who have to use it?


The process must work, meaning, it must produce the correct level of availability and accuracy of the configuration data,  and be workable, that is, implementable by the organization.   Now, this would be a rhetorical statement were it not for the amazing amount of bad process engineering I see in our industry.  I have already blogged at length about the role of process engineering in a CMS, and the role of a CMS in process engineering.  The whole goal of the COP model is to produce a process which creates the correct CMS, not one that takes increasingly more effort than is necessary to deliver the expected level of accountability of the data.  If you have one of those, you know what I mean.


But be kind.  Make sure your processes don't have any rough edges on them if you expect it to work smoothly.  You're not building an orange crate here, you're working on a finely tuned engine, with lots of moving parts that require lubrication.  You can't skimp on the details.  It's hard to imagine a formula One engine running at high speed when you just discovered the principle of internal combustion.  You have to evolve.  So do your processes.


Have the end result in mind when building your CMS processes - the processes that will actually enact the CMS.  Without it you may  be burning bridges and not even know it.    But if you create the correct CMS processes, you will see a field of friends grow before you, for not only did your processes make sense, they had the desired effect on your consumers - you moved the needle in the right direction.


What do you think?  Are you making friends or enemies?  I'd love to hear your responses.  Thanks for listening!


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About the Author
Jody Roberts is a researcher, author, and customer advocate in the Product Foundation Services (PFS) group in HP Software. Jody has worked ...

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