4 Types of Work in IT

The Phoenix Project by George Spafford, Kevin Behr, Gene Kim is a good read about IT management. The authors narrate the challenges an organization goes through as it transitions into an agile, streamlined machine through the eyes of Bill, an IT manager, at Parts Unlimited. Some of the topics covered included:

  • Challenges adopting project management, change management and streamlining processes through the use of Kanban Boards
  • Compliance requirements with SOX and adopting frameworks such as COBIT
  • Transitioning away from the traditional waterfall development SDLC processes to an organization whose mindset is aligned with Agile and DevOps approaches

However, none of these organization transitions are possible until IT leadership understands where their employees’ time is consumed with IT work and this is where the book shines the most.

Brenton Johnson summarizes the four types of IT work well, however, my synopsis on these four buckets of IT work is:

Business Projects. These include business initiatives that encompass most development projects e.g. In higher education, these can include a new building, launching the new university website with a different CMS. Typically these projects reside and are managed by the Project Management Office, which tracks official projects in the organization.

Internal Projects: These include projects to develop internal applications that help IT Teams deliver services faster. Unfortunately, though exciting for IT team members to work on, many Internal Projects do not get the attention of the Project Management Office and thus are managed internally and independently with little oversite on scope, cost, and feature overruns. Since internal projects consume untold amounts of IT staff time and resources, these projects will often adversely affect progress on Business Projects.

Operational Changes: These include daily work performed by IT teams to plan, assess, build, test and deploy routine changes to keep the infrastructure running e.g. patching application, application upgrades, vendor software updates. Typically, this work directly supports finished Internal or Business Projects and can be referred to as Keeping Lights On (KLO) work.

Unplanned Work: These include tasks and work that is a direct result of a Business or Internal Project deliverable going down or a system issue affecting business operations. This type of work trumps all other categories and This type of work has the ability to put everything else on the backburner and impacts the go-live date for other categories of work.

Related Links:

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

Camden-Glassboro Light Rail Line

The Glassboro-Camden Line (GCL) is a proposed 18 mile passenger rail line between Glassboro and Camden in southern New Jersey being studied by the DRPA and PATCO.

According to the GCL site, “As of October 2017, the GCL team is pleased to announce that we are working to complete the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Project. We anticipate a draft EIS to be available for public review in the spring of 2018, with final approvals expected in the fall of 2018. The EIS will analyze the potential effects of the Preferred Alternative selected during the Alternatives Analysis phase on the human and built environments. The main goals of the analysis are to identify potential positive and negative impacts to both the natural and built environments, to all potential users, impact of construction on the community, and any additional effects to the area over time that would be created by the construction and operation of the light rail system. Once the GCL team has had the chance to interpret the findings, we anticipate hosting public information sessions in the winter and summer of 2018 to solicit input from the public before the finalizing the EIS.”

FY 2018 TIP Project Details: DB# T302: Camden-Glassboro Light Rail Line

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission

Serving the Greater Philadelphia region for more than 50 years, DVRPC convenes the widest array of partners across a nine-county, two state region to increase mobility choices, protect and preserve natural resources, and create healthy communities that foster greater opportunities for all. City, county and state representatives work together to address key issues, including transportation, land use, environmental protection, economic development, and equity.

DVRPC was formed by an Interstate Compact through legislation passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1965, as reenacted and amended in 1967, and by the New Jersey Legislature in a series of conforming acts passed between 1966 and 1974.

A good link to understand current progress and funding for various construction projects supporting the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) in the Delaware Valley: DVRPC TIP Viewer

 

Users and Security

Research from Dartmouth College Computer Science regarding users and security:

In real world domains, from healthcare to power to finance, we deploy computer systems intended to streamline and improve the activities of human agents in the corresponding non-cyber worlds. However, talking to actual users (instead of just computer security experts) reveals endemic circumvention of the computer-embedded rules. Good-intentioned users, trying to get their jobs done, systematically work around security and other controls embedded in their IT systems.

Source: Mismorphism: a Semiotic Model of Computer Security Circumvention by Sean W. Smith, Ross Koppel, Jim Blythe, Vijay Kothari