Look After Your Systems

I once did an NLP course – I highly recommend NLP if you want to know what truly makes you tick. One of the exercises was to list out everything that I felt was important about work, then rate each attribute against the other to discover my top 4 motivators. Thus I found out that my main motivators are 1) Reputation, 2) Perks, 3) Co-workers, 4) Money. Astounding, and useful. I am a lot happier now; I can concentrate on tasks and issues that could affect my reputation (and therefore stress me).

Caring about my reputation means that I have a habit of “over-owning” systems and projects I’ve worked on. One such system is a mobile management solution – remotely controlling PDAs over-the-air, sending out apps and so on. Putting my modesty aside, I built this system and most of the processes from scratch; deploying the client, app packages, making an image for each model of PDA, even making a small website accessible from the PDAs so that the client itself can be deployed remotely. Thanks to the Service Delivery Manager (in all but name), these processes are now official and the administration of these PDAs has been handed to the Service Desk, so I don’t see many issues anymore. Today, one of my team-members mentioned that the Service Desk were complaining amongst themselves that this system no longer works. Intrigued (or nosey, whatever you would like to call it), I RDP’d the server and had a look. The system itself was fine – the clients were visible and could be remotely controlled. There WAS an issue though; someone had decided to make their own client for this system, and had started to install it on all new/reimaged PDAs. Two problems with this; one, it was a very old version, and two, they had completely messed-up the naming convention. On my clients, the installer looks at the phone number programmmed in the SIM and automatically names the client accordingly – this makes it easy to find the relevant device when a user calls in. Instead, there are now a number of similarly-named PDAs, and a larger number of old clients that cannot contact our server reliably.

Treat your systems like a child; have a care about who adopts it after your work has been done, else it will fall to pieces.

Another picture to end with – one afternoon in Newquay, I spent a lazy hour on the beach idly digging a hole as I wrote.

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