Brownfield Me: Deep Work

Focus and distraction on your terms

Maybe you’ve noticed recently, or a long time ago, that getting stuff done just isn’t so easy anymore. Redoubling efforts doesn’t seem to make up the gap. Intentions and expectations are lowered and still quality or schedules are suffering. It’s not an easy cycle to break, but there are lots of approaches to try!

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me 

Suddenly Remote

Organizations with policies established during a time where colocation was the only way to work are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to suddenly remote productivity. The work from home lifestyle of taking a day to send a few emails but mostly be unproductive was begrudgingly accepted as an infrequent quality of life boost. Reversing that trend, during a pandemic, with kids home and elevated stress levels, it’s going to be tough.

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System Trap: Seeking the Wrong Goal

Organizations of all sizes fall victim to the wrong goal trap. Anywhere with more than 2 levels of management have intermediate layers with the goal of team growth or revenue increase at the expense of the larger system. Growing a DevOps team could lead to less efficient operations if they become an integral part to everyday operations. It would be better for them to be constrained and simply provide infrastructure and templates to the developers.

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traps 

System Trap: Rule Beating

My favorite example of “rule beating” is the secure network that reduces usability to the point that people use hot spots and other mechanisms to complete their work. If you want developers to work, they need stackoverflow.

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traps 

System Trap: Tragedy of the Commons

This is a pretty commonly used phrase so I won’t belabor the point, but it’s an important trap to be cognizant of when sharing resources. The most common solution to this problem appears to be “chargeback accounting” where ever mission and cost center has to justify their budget through revenue, even if it’s internal services.

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traps 

System Trap: Drift to Low Performance

The drift to low performance trap is incredibly pertinent to large enterprises and public sector organizations. In particular, system administrators and security practitioners appear to have many government programs held hostage by nightmarish controls and delays. “Everything takes a long time because [procurement, security, network, infrastructure, et cetera].”

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traps 

System Trap: Arms Race

Escalation or “Arms Race” is a feedback loop where increasing intensity is the only option for multiple participants in a system. The most obvious example of this is competitive exclusion, why just a few companies have the vast majority of government contracts. This anti-competitive behavior may be related to the drift to low performance.

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traps