The pool of talent in ambitious tech firms always seems too thinly spread.
We used to think it was like a small duvet: you can have your shoulders warm or your feet, but not both. Almost all ambitious tech businesses have too few tech specialists that have the depth of skills and a real understanding of what the business is aiming for. Good people are hard to find. It’s a constant challenge and seemingly a fact of life.
There’s just too much to do.
What’s worse is that the few really good people are the most stretched, and burn-out is just around the corner. This creates a concentration of risk for everyone. It’s not good for the team, the individuals, the business or customers.
Stretched teams have inevitable tensions between their priorities.
Limited resources mean that choices have to be made. External factors change the game. Urgencies and emergencies crowd out all those good plans. As John Lennon said: “Life is what happens while you’re planning to do things differently”.
The challenge is how best to cover all that needs to be done.
Constraints and pressures force choices between planned intentions and urgent interventions – short term expediences and plate spinning, over long term value and direction. Business imperatives and real value must rule the day. Priority choices should be decided through policy, not made up on the fly.
Mission critical expertise is like gold dust.
People with the expertise and understanding that are specific to the business are the most valuable, and are central to the ambitions of the firm. These are people that must be deployed carefully and wisely on the things that only they can do. These knowledgeable experts are just too valuable.
Don’t just fight today’s fires like yesterday – change to be able to move forward.
Who was it that said “madness is doing the same things and expecting a different outcome”? Hot issues will have a priority, but when they stall the business and consume everyone’s time and attention, something must be done. This is when change is needed to break the log-jam and move forward at speed.
|Get the internal team focused on adding higher value, by shifting the routine lower level workload out to Cloud solutions specialists.|
If other people can do stuff then they should.
Businesses add most value when they concentrate on the things they do better than others. Shift the focus onto value driven priorities. Look for things that can only be done by your internal team, and figure out how to get the rest done by others. Look for workload that is actually generic and not special to your mission; don’t do things that just replicate what others are doing, but focus on what is especially your domain.
Running Cloud operations involves lots of routine that’s actually rather generic.
Good Cloud operations is about quality, resilience, responsiveness and solid routine processes. Managing infrastructure for quality of service relies on good and timely routine to ensure that basic patches and updates are deployed carefully and on time. It involves constant monitoring and fast responses to bring back service.
These actions and workloads need everyday attention to generic detail, and rarely require specialist knowledge of the precise software and applications deployed on the infrastructure. This stable routine needs a different mind-set from development, which is all about change. Fighting fires so often causes routine to be abandoned and quality suffers.
Cloud solutions specialists focus on operational delivery
This new breed of specialists concentrate on delivering routine management and everyday support that unloads internal tech teams and enables them to focus on higher value objectives that only they can get to grips with. Round-the-clock technical cover is a routine workload that’s disruptive to a dev team. Cloud Solutions firms can run the necessary shifts and 24×7 Network Operations Centre more efficiently than any one tech team that’s already stretched with the day job.
Growth, scale, customers and customer service need teams to be focused on what they do best and where they can add most value. As tech firms build and build out, change is needed to stay efficient and effective, competitive and productive. Flexiion is one of the new independent Cloud Solutions specialists that concentrate on delivering effective cloud operations for tech enabled firms eager to achieve their ambitions, whatever the kind of cloud that requires.
Peter is chairman of Flexiion and has a number of other business interests. (c) 2021, Peter Osborn