Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Voodoo meetings

Technologists are typically far from superstitious, I am near the top of that list. But there is one thing I am superstitious about... systems failing over holidays or long weekend. Nothing like blissfully leaving the office for more than 2 days off and having it interrupted by an outage call.

One technique I use to ward off these holiday/long weekend outages is to hold a "readiness" meet just before the time off. My experience is that doing such a meeting usually meant nothing bad would happen, or at least if it did the team would be prepared for it.

My team recently did a readiness meeting before the US Thanksgiving holidays, and one of my team came to me early the Monday after and exclaimed "that Voodoo meeting worked, no issues/outages". Hence, the name, which has since stuck and people know what it means if they are invited to a Voodoo meeting. .

Seriously, there is nothing better to get ready than assembling your team together and asking them if the are ready. Are we doing any changes that we should review? Are there any projects launching? Who's going to where should something happen? You may find they go to the desks and double-check systems and changes.

And just as important as a readiness meeting is reaching out to the business to tell them you are "ready", and reiterating incident escalation process. Once we discovered a major issue on a Tuesday after a long weekend, and later determined some end-users had suspected something, but didn't want to bother the IT team on the long weekend.

My message back them:- "Please bother us", its our job.


Caryn said...

Great point -- I will keep it in mind -- both about the voodoo approach and to bother you as much as possible!

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