My column this month in The Register looks at “the skills gap” most hiring managers see when it comes to tech skill. The suggestions for fixing it are, of course, to fix the framing, expectations, and profile of people you’re looking for. As Andrew Clay Shafer put it: there is no talent shortage.
I have an extra piece in The Register this month. I was asked to frame the history of software product theory between the Cluetrain, Andrew Clay Shafer’s agile infrastructure talk, DevOps, and the “we’re a software company now” trope.
This month’s column is on finding and vetting consultants.
Check out the piece!
My The Register column this month is on scaling DevOps/cloud-native teams to the entire organization. It’s easy to build one team that does software in a new and exciting way, but how can you move to two teams, five teams, and then 100’s? It goes over the amalgamation of a few case studies and plenty of over-the-top gonzo analogies, per usual.
At the top of the year, companies are setting their IT agendas. Most high level executives seem to be lusting for “digital transformation,” but that phrase is super-squishy. In my Register column this month, I offered my advice on what it should be: simply “digitizing” existing, manual work-flows by perfecting how you do software.
This, of course, is the core of what I work on at Pivotal; see my wunderkammer of knowledge, the soon to be PDF’ed “Crafting your cloud native strategy,” for example.
What do these opportunities look like in businesses? Here’s a chunk that cut out of the piece that provides some examples:
A project to “digitize” the green card replacement program in the US provides a good example of the simple, pragmatic work IT departments should be curating for 2017. Before injecting software into process it’d “cost about $400 per application, it took end user fees, it took about six months, and by the end, your paper application had traveled the globe no less than six times. Literally traveled the globe as we mailed the physical papers from processing center to processing center.”
After discovering agile and cleaning up the absurd government contracting scoping (a seven year project costing $1.2bn, before accounting for the inevitable schedule and budget overruns), a team of five people successfully tackled this paper-driven, human process. It’s easy to poke fun at government institutions, but if you’ve applied for a mortgage, life insurance, or even tried to order take out food from the corner burger-hut, you’ll have encountered plenty of human-driven processes that could easily be automated with software.
After talking with numerous large organizations about their IT challenges, to me, this kind of example is what “digital transformation” should mostly about, not introducing brain-exploding, Minority Report style innovation. And why not? McKinsey recently estimated that, at best, only 29% of a worker’s day-to-day requires creativity. Much of that remaining 71% is likely just paid-for monotony that could be automated with some good software slotted into place.
That last figure is handy for thinking about the opportunity. You can call it “automation” and freak out about job stealing, but it looks like a huge percentage of work can be “digitized.”
Check out the full piece.
I started a new column at The Register, on the topic of DevOps. I used the first column to layout the case that DevOps is a thing, and baseline for how much adoption there currently is (enough, but not a lot – a “glass almost half full” type of situation). I was surprised by how many comments it kicked up!
Next up, I’ll try to pick key concepts and explain them, along with best and worst practices for adoption of those concepts. Or whatever else pops up to fill 800 words. Tell me if you have any ideas!
(You may recall had a brief column at The Register back when I was at 451 Research.)