Czech your plans at the door

In the 21st century, if we don't like our political leaders, we endlessly whine about them on blogs. In the Czech Republic, historically a simpler solution was frequently used: throw the offending individuals out the window.

In the 21st century, if we don't like our political leaders, we endlessly whine about them on blogs. In the Czech Republic, historically a simpler solution was frequently used: throw the offending individuals out the window. Storage managers can learn something from this.

I'm riffing on European history because I'm in Prague for BMC's UserWorld conference, and no tour of the city (one of the best-preserved in Europe) is complete without reference to the two defenestrations of Prague, which involved throwing various disagreeable types out of relatively high windows back in the 15th and 17th centuries. For further details check here.

While window-breaking violence is hardly a policy to be advocated under all circumstances, there are sometimes situations where calm, rational and steady behaviour just isn't going to cut it. Making a dramatic shift is sometimes unavoidable, a point underlined by BMC CEO Bob Beauchamp in his opening remarks at the conference.

Perhaps inspired by the cobblestones that remain prominent in the city, Beauchamp used the analogy of the cobbler's children -- invariably, the only ones not to have their own shoes -- to argue that IT types need to apply the same management systems they've already supplied to other departments (ERP, HR self-service and the like). Everyone else can track and automate their own processes, so why can't the tech team?

"Within our own departments today we still use manual processes day in and day out," he noted. "This is not scalable."

One common reason for this is that people are reluctant to give up the power that comes from being the only person who understands how a critical piece of technology works. "Within our organisations we have tribal knowledge," Beauchamp said. "This model over time will collapse. I believe that time is happening right now."

In other words, the experts are about to get thrown out of the window, in favour of actually documenting what's going on.

Territorial behaviour isn't hard to find in the storage world (unfeasibly low network mail storage limits, anybody?) While there's no harm in developing policy and enforcing it, clinging to procedures for their own sake is a pretty certain recipe for disaster.

Not only might it make your organisation less flexible and responsive, it could send your own career out the window, metaphorically speaking.

Disclosure: Angus Kidman travelled to Prague as a guest of BMC.