Car is in shop for maintenance so lunch is a walk to the mall and a Subway sandwich. The sacrifices we make when technology access goes backwards. When one’s PC crashes or gets a virus attack it is certainly worse.
Previously I mentioned that this IT blog would occasionally include my literary reading. It turns out that it can go the other way. This month’s “The Atlantic” included an exciting yet scary article by Mark Bowden called “The Enemy Within“. He discusses the events regarding the Conficker worm, and in a way that general readers could easily understand.
Since November 2008, Conficker resides within millions of computers coordinating together as a botnet to do as its designer(s) wish. This includes scareware that “advises” you that you have spyware and should install and buy a fictitious cleaning application. One note on Wikipedia cites that Conficker grounded French Naval Air at several bases by preventing orders being downloaded to their aircraft. The chances of stopping Conficker & bringing the criminals to justice is slim. It’s likely all much worse as a hunt during a recession is difficult to finance, and that organizations won’t readily admit Conflicker struck as it lowers stock prices or attracts bad PR. When was the last time somebody told you about a spectacular project failure or a $5000 gambling loss?
It was refreshing to see how a different industry views IT. Compared to disruption to the global phone system or the destruction of the Internet, most daily problems are trivial.
Another type of technology access setback I meant to discuss relates to those of standards and best practices. Too often it seems I encounter improvements, only for the improvement to be lost because …
* a lost file
* the best practice didn’t become a habit or was never valued in the first place
* the standard is ignored (variety of reasons)
* constant interruptions resulting in the standard or practice being forgotten
* change of the guard … proponent left and nobody left behind that cares strongly about the standard
* mistrust of the new technology – it doesn’t work as “correctly” as the old method
I suspect that these changes are more likely to occur and stay permanent when approach as a cultural change, such as an organization seeking to rise above SEI-CMMI Level 1 and 2. Level 3 is where Training and Education become Key Process Areas. It wouldn’t be surprising if there was a correlation between the a company’s actual support of education and training and the degree to which best practices “stick.” Employee job satisfaction likely has a similar correlation with maintaining standards and best practices. In effect, there might be a more efficient way of accomplishing a workflow, but if those involved don’t see the value or are not satisfied with the process, then even the best process or standard won’t be supported.