Reprise of the Golden Rules of IT

Summary:In an earlier post, I ran through the "Golden Rules of IT" that appear to guide how medium and large organizations adopt technology. I've had several requests to run through those rules once again.

In an earlier post, I ran through the "Golden Rules of IT" that appear to guide how medium and large organizations adopt technology. I've had several requests to run through those rules once again. Virtualization technology adoption, by the way, appears to be following along the same path as the adoption of other technologies.

Although there would be some that say the cautious approach codified in these rules no longer are helpful, most IT executives would counter by saying, "maintenance is a very large part of our IT budget" and that "we need to be very prudent when making major changes." Several readers wanted me to present these "Golden Rules" as a separate post. Since we just live to serve, here's a reprise of the Golden Rules of IT.

  1. If it's not broken, don't fix it. Most organizations simply don't have the time, the resources or the funds to re-implement things that are currently working.
  2. Don't touch it, you'll break it. Most organizations of any size are using a complex mix of systems that were developed over several decades. Changing working systems that are based upon older technologies, older architectures and older methodologies has to be done very carefully if the intended results and only the intended results are to be achieved.
  3. If you touched it and it broke, it will take longer to fix and, in all likelihood, cost more than you think to fix. Most of today's systems are a complex mix of technology. If your organization is going to be updating part of that tower of software, be prepared for unexpected consequences and see Rule 2.
  4. Good enough is good enough. Although it would be nice to have the luxury of unlimited amounts of time, resources and funding and be able to develop every conceivable feature, most IT executives know that they are only going to be allowed the time, the resources and the funding to satisfy roughly 80% of requests for new capabilities.
  5. Don't make major changes unless people are screaming! If they're not screaming, see Rule #4, good enough is good enough. If they are merely asking for changes, see Rule 2, don't touch it, you'll break it, and Rule 3, if you touched it and broke it, it will take longer to fix than you think. If they begin screaming, you'll have to do something to respond, just touch things as lightly as possible.
  6. Embrace your "jerkdom." We all know that we have to move forward and help our organization be as efficient and successful as possible. In short we must do the best we can with the resources, the time and the funding available and accept the fact that years from now someone will look at what was done and come to the conclusion (based upon what they know then) that what was done was insufficient in some way or didn't properly forecast future events and requirements.

Adopting virtualization technologies is really no different. It's important to know where the organization is (from a technology standpoint) and where it wants to go before taking on major changes. In the end, it's far better to take the time to envision a comprehensive architecture that includes the capabilities of today's technology and makes allowances for the appearance of new technology before leaping headlong into an implementation process.

Topics: Virtualization


Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He is responsible for research, publications, and operations. Mr. Kusnetzky has been involved with information technology since the late 1970s. Mr. Kusnetzky has been responsible for research operations at the 451 Group; corporate and... Full Bio

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