Change Management: A Scientific Classification

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Traditional IT systems management practices often focus on preventing change as a defense mechanism developed in response to pain. Many sysadmins develop a Pavlovian response to deployment, fearing inevitable alerts with late night trouble shooting, further entrenching a wall of confusion between operations and developers.

In the worst cases, every admin and developer has access to production systems and can change them whenever they feel like it. Almost paradoxically, in the best cases, everyone has access to production systems and make changes whenever they have finished a minimally valuable piece of functionality. In between these extremes exist a lot of documents, checkboxes and signatures.

In the brave new world of web scaled internet applications, organizations can’t afford processes designed only to slow change. The faster a business can test hypotheses of business value and respond, the faster they can pursue goals or differentiate themselves from competitors. Enabling change is a significant advantage.

Smaller, more frequent deployments, backed by correlated metrics, reduce the time and effort required to troubleshoot and recover when things do go wrong. Experience with this can push an engineering organization closer and closer to continuous deployment, in a virtuous feedback loop of trust in the process, the tools and perhaps most importantly, the people.

This presentation will evaluate a taxonomy of change management practices, with pros and cons of each classification.

Photo of Andrew Shafer

Andrew Shafer

Pivotal

Some people are born to web operations and some people have it thrust upon them. Andrew Co-founded Reductive Labs and worked to help organizations build better systems with Puppet. He brings with him a background in high performance computing, computational science, embedded Linux development, web frameworks and Agile methods.

Andrew really likes to help teams navigate the technology Renaissance triple point between people, process and tools.

Andrew is interested in conversation about almost anything. His two sons and wife think he is pretty cool. He is definitely a villager.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewcshafer

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Picture of Christopher McDaniel
Christopher McDaniel
06/23/2010 10:15am PDT

Good speaker. Kept us entertained. Content solid, informative and interesting.

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