• Krzysztof 'Chris' Daniel

A new contestant for the worst strategic move of 2021

Some time ago, I wrote about a strong candidate for the strategic antipattern of the 2021. Today, I have a new contestant for you. But before I proceed with the description, please look at the map below and try to identify what is wrong with it (dark circles indicate outsourcing agreements, light circles - components build or owned in-house). It isn't an easy task :).

Everything seems to be rigth.


Perhaps, except for custom private network infrastructure operated by an external provider. According to the mapping guidelines, it should be developed internally, but my understanding is that since it is no longer a competitive advantage, it can be outsourced. Nothing dramatically wrong here.


Virtual compute and Virtual network also look a little bit off. Those components must be surely visible in the cost structure, and this is a step towards a better diagnosis. When you see a situation like this, it is worth to ask a question: "How is it that virtual aggregation components are more cost-effective than migrating legacy?".


Answers can be surprising.


In this case, that question triggered a decision process review which revealed a lack of competency around key components. The company put so much trust in its ability to craft perfect contracts at the first time that it fired people who understood how the entire structure really worked.


What happened, was a complete collapse of the incident management process, as vendors did the easiest thing to keep SLAs high and avoid too much work - they blamed somebody else.


Look at the map, and imagine a situation where an application does something surprising:


maintenance: it's by design.

dev: it's not, it works for us. It must be your fault.

maintenance: Right! It's because the container behaves weirdly.

virtual compute: The containers work as expected, it's a connectivity issue.

.... (show continues)


Those problems can be partially mitigated by reducing the number of custom components, but this systemic approach does not change the fact that even systems built of simple & predictable components may exhibit quite complex behaviours.


You must keep the responsibility in your organisation. In order to do that, you need to keep people who understand how the organisation works. Legal contracts will not help you.


Outsourcing understanding is my candidate for anti pattern of 2021.



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