Friday, June 18, 2010

Configuration Management 101

Sometimes I love my job here at Tin Can, String and Whistle Ltd. I'm pretty used to being the one they call the "word nerd". I know they love me because I run the beer club. Because I'm not an engineer I get the "touchy feelly" jobs like editing large, complex, pointless documents that nobody reads. I also get to do the in house training packages for our group.

This last one they've given me to do is a doozy.

Popeye: Your next task, if you choose to accept it....
Pandora: Yessssss

It's never good when Popeye starts his sentences like this.

Popeye: We need something on Configuration Management.
Pandora: Does it involve petrol, arsenic or hemlock?
Popeye: No. I want you to make Configuration Management look sexy.
Pandora: Right. So we're going to dope the audience up on LSD and play Pink Floyd at them for an hour.
Popeye: I know it sounds a bit hard.
Pandora: I think it would be easier to get John Howard to wax his eyebrows.
Popeye: I want you to present something snappy and sexy to the Config team next Thursday.

Anybody know where I can contract diptheria from?

Seriously. Configuration Management and sexy. In the same sentence. That's like juxtaposing Kim Jong Il and sanity.

Mention Configuration Managment to most people and they will run screaming loudly in the other direction. In a nutshell, it's the practice of monitoring your project, system, documentation etc so you know at what stage everything is at, at all times, across the whole of the project. Telecommunications companies are notoriously bad at doing config. It's not at all interesting. It really is a part of the project most people would prefer to actively not think about. Most people would rather watch a wall of paint dry than attend a course on Configuration Management.

We're having a bit of a Config crisis her at Tin Can, String and Whistle. The head of configuration is heading off to other pastures and the company is in a bit of a state. Morton, who currently runs the section is a lovely man. It's a pity he has the look and disposition of an undertaker on downers. I like him. We make each other laugh. it's just he's got the hardest job in the company and I have to train people up on it.

He's handed me all of his notes, telling me that there should be sufficient to leverage a decent course out of it.

I nodded off after page two.

In Morton's words, "If you're not hated as a Configuration Manager, you're not doing your job properly."

So here I am, wracking my brain, wondering how to present this. And keep my street cred. And my friends.

Other than using the lyrics to Talking Heads seminal classic , "Road to Nowhere", I had to turn to my old favorite nerd sites for help. and Dilbert.

I'm thinking of using some of this sort of stuff to demonstrate my points:

Life without Configuration Management:

And why you really need Configuration Management:

And of course, the final slide of the pack...

Wish me luck....

Or find me some LSD and a copy of the Dark Side of the Moon.

I think this is a job for a fool.



Kath Lockett said...

Oh. Bloody hell. It's the 'modern interpretative dance' equivalent in the corporate world, isn't it?

All I can suggest is..... funny pictures interspersed throughout!

tnbk00 said...

To quote an acomplished config manager "Config Management: Telling you exactly how broken it is"

Paula and Ben said...

Whack on some high heels, vibrant lipstick and a mini skirt. Won't matter if you talk to them about the financial statements. Don't forget to get great muffins and sensation coffee in for the tea break (fair trade of course) Love the blog. Pxx