#BlogElul Day 25: Intend

There is a popular saying about the road to hell. It may equally apply to the road that leads to a system outage.

  • If we intended to back up our servers, but never requested the SAN storage…
  • If we intended to patch the application, but never cleared time for the change control
  • If we intended to upgrade the network, but never included it in the budget
  • If we intended to get that certification, but never scheduled the class (or exam)

It’s fair to say that when something goes wrong in IT, it is rarely because that was the intent of the people responsible.

So why do we let things like that happen? After more than a half-century of modern IT operations, you would think most of this would be utterly and unquestionably standardized.

Part of this is that things appear to change (something I’ve written about elsewhere) and therefore we fool ourselves that the methods that provide stability somehow don’t apply any more.

But part of it is that we intend to do it, but allow other things to get in our way. From the manic (“we have to inventory and integrate 3 new acquisitions this quarter”) to the mundane (“someone said something factually incorrect on Facebook!”) there are plenty of compelling reasons to postpone that change control request or certification exam.

At least, until it’s setting off alarms. Then we realize our intentions were just more fuel for the fire.