Just finished reading the excellent
Why do people neglect maintenance?.
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With a wide ranging discussion, from cultural myths to cognitive biases, there are a lot of reasons why your organization may not be giving maintenance the attention it deserves.
Here are some thoughts…
1. Weighing short & long term tradeoffs
When looking at maintenance problems, we sometimes must weigh easy to implement quick fixes, versus the better though weightier longer term fix.
Often the longer term fix requires more downtime, and so is a harder pill to swallow. So sometimes taking that medicine is put off till later. Weighing how much that could cost you is not easy. But that is often the reality of maintenance and ops teams.
2. Keeping it sexy
One interesting point they make in the article is around the culture of innovation. Since building new products and changing the world is sexy, some how the day-to-day realities of managing and maintaining that after delivery can take a back seat.
Just as we prioritize creating new features, and building a changed product, we must always weigh the costs of such change. As I wrote in the four letter word dividing dev and ops, different team members have different mandates. And that’s important.
While developers are mandated with bringing new features to life, ops are mandated with keeping things running at 4am. Software updates, maintenance, outages are what the ops team is worried about.
3. Status symbols – dev versus ops
There is some interesting discussion by Andy Jess & Lee about how these different job roles can be viewed as low or high status in an organization.
In my article why we need techops I mention some of this narrative. Once at a keynote, I heard a sales guy advocate a product that would obviate your needing to hire ops. Yep, more money to hire Devs!
On the flip side at ops and DBA conferences, I’ve heard over and over the story of “some idiot developer that took down our production systems…”
You get it on both sides. When will teams ever work together?