Why is IT changing? Why does it have to change?

One of the topics I repeatedly come back to on this site is that of change.

A Walk Aroud WrayPeople love it and hate it all at the same time, it all depends upon what the change is and where it’s come from. There are many people within the IT industry who regard it’s current construct – servers in data-centres – as being set in stone. But there are huge changes undergoing across the industry, changes that are so significant that it will radically change the way that we think about IT provision.

Some people predict change by applying well known trends and lifecycles to an existing situation. That’s exactly what Simon Wardley has done. If you really want to know what is driving change in the IT industry you should watch this video, but more than that, you should think about all of the other situations where these principles apply.

Having been in the position where people have wanted to drive an innovation process at me on more than one occasion I can definitely relate to the situations that Simon describes.

And, like Simon, I don’t see this change reducing the need for IT skills, or of making things cheaper. It’s just different – different skills, different cost profile. There is so much latent demand in every business that cost is still going to be a significant issue.

If that has got you thinking, perhaps you’d like to give some thought to the concept of Shadow ITthey already exist somewhere in your organisation. Are they a problem, or are they an opportunity?

Blessings #146 – New Era

This week a new era has started in the Chastney household – Jonathan has passed his driving test.

Levens SnowThings are never going to be the same again.

At the start of the week he couldn’t drive and that meant that his options for going places were restricted to places his parents would take him, or public transport.

At the end of the week he has a new freedom – he can drive himself places.

One era has ended and a new one has started. There is no going back to the old era it’s finished.

I know many people who look on change as a scary thing. Each new era brings a new set of concerns and worries. Sometimes those worries are just the fear of the unknown. We can look at situation and imagine the worst-case-scenario. Our brains go wild and conjure up all sorts of terrible outcomes.

A new era is really a sign that we are alive.

Only dead things never change – things that are alive are always changing.

Watching the children move through different era is a sign that they are growing and moving towards adulthood. That’s a wonderful thing. Without it they would remain children forever and that wouldn’t be normal or healthy.

Moving from one era to another era gives us the opportunity to reminisce about the journey that we’ve been on. Much like the experience you get when your mountain climbing, and you stop to look around you, reminiscing lets you realise how far you have come. We can spend so much of our life with our head down looking at the next step, making sure that we don’t trip and fall over. We need times when we stop, look up, and realise that things around us have changed.

We’ve built up experiences in one era and now it’s time to naturally move into the next. Rather than fighting it we should look forward to it and celebrate it.

“Hooray, I’m alive, I’ve moved into something new, something I haven’t experienced before”.

I’ve never had to hand over a set of car keys before and watch a car leave the drive with my son in it on his own. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take for me to get comfortable with that experience, but I know that I will.

I’m not sure how long it will take us to work out the practicality of having three drivers and two cars, but we will.

I’m not sure how long it will be before Jonathan realises how much a car costs to run, but he will.

It’s a new era and it doesn’t quite fit yet, but it will.

And no sooner will this one fit than we will be entering into a new one.

Blessings #145 – Tree Skeletons

I love this time of year when the trees have dropped their leaves and have exposed their skeletons.

Preston SunsetIf you look through my photostream on Flickr you’ll find a multitude of pictures  that either have them as the central feature or use them to frame the scene. I’ve created a set for them just to see how many there are.

I think it’s the intricacy that they expose from trunk to bow from bow to branch and from branch to stick and twig. Each one of them constructed in a unique and fascinating way. In the summer you can only really see the leaves on the outside, while these are also wonderful, there’s something fascinating about seeing the skeleton.

Sometimes I look at a particular tree and  ponder the reason that made a particular branch take the route that it’s taken. Whatever caused it to bend and climb in that particular way? Why did that bow shoot off in that direction?

Levens SnowAt other time I wonder about the people who’ve climbed a particular set of bows. I think about the history that this skeleton has seen. I image which route would be best to scale the heights. Every now and then I decide that it’s time to climb myself.

These skeletons are also the promise of a season yet to come. They may be skeletons now, but soon a story of new life will start to unfold. These woody branches will soon be heavy laden with leaves and even fruit. The birds will become more active and build their nests. Eggs will be laid and chicks fledged. As time goes on, of course they will be returned to there skeletal state.

These trees go through a cycle and they know what to be doing in which season. You don’t see a tree full of leaves in the winter, and a skeletal tree in the summer is a dead tree. The trees seem quite comfortable with this, they aren’t constantly trying to fight the elements like we do. They know the rhythm of the seasons and how to live within it.

For everything there is a season,
     a time for every activity under heaven.

This little video does a wonderful job of showing the cycle of the seasons.

Count Your Blessings #141 – Regression

I have the body that is on the higher side of 40, but in my head I’m still the shorter side of 21, sometimes a lot shorter than 21.

I’m currently working away from home and writing sitting in a hotel room. In a little while I will be going for dinner with a colleague but I’ve just returned from a short walk around the local park. The View from the Pool at Sunset

The park is typical British town park with a wonderful mix of trees, garden, statues, playing fields and streams. I love exploring these town parks, there’s something about them that reverberates with history of the generations of families that have enjoyed them.

One of the first things I did as I entered was to pick up some conkers (Horse Chestnuts). I’ve written about them before (a long time ago now), they are great to hold in your hand. It’s something I did as a child on my way to school.

I decided to go and explore the woods near to a very large statue of the Duke of Wellington sat on his horse. It’s a mixed deciduous wood and the trees are starting to take on their wonderful autumnal colours. Just beyond the statue was a tree with a set of swing ropes hanging down out of it. What else was there to do other than to give them a go, well one of them anyway. It was great fun swinging away in a tree. Again, something I did as a child, although I don’t remember the seat being as painful.

For those of you who’ve just thought that I’m a grown man and shouldn’t be doing such things – I don’t care. Where is the rule book that says that adults need to loose their sense of adventure? Why should I adhere to societies “norms”?

Jesus had a special place for the children, and for those with childlike tendencies:

People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. "Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in."

Luke 18

Perhaps regressions is the title for this post – perhaps restoration is a better word.

Count Your Blessings #139 – Comfortable Routines

One of the privileges that comes with job that I do is that I am able to travel to work on some days in a small jet. It’s not as grand as it might sound, we’re not talking about a fancy private jet, we are talking about a small passenger plane carrying around a hundred people. Blackpool Prom Scuptures at Sunset

I’m actually writing these words from inside that jet on a glorious summer’s day. The "fasten seatbelt sign" is turned off so I’m cleared to type.

We’ve just left a small airport in the south of England, and I’m on my way home. The flight is quite quiet today so I’ve been able to secure my favourite seat – a window seat a little way behind the wings. I love looking out of the window as we travel up the country.

In the winter it’s all of the lights; today it’s a fabulous view of classical English fields in yellow, golden browns and a multitude of greens.

I’ve travelled this route so many times that I know roughly where we are; at the moment we are passing over Stoke noticeable by its football stadium.
In no time at all, if we follow the normal route, we’ll be turning left over the Lancashire moors making our way directly over our house; getting lower all the time until we land.

This evening there is barely a cloud in the sky, where they do linger the shadows beneath make patterns on the ground.

I’ve travelled this way many, many times before; it’s become a comfortable routine. I know roughly what is going to happen from the time I walk through the small door with “Departures” on a sign above through until I get into my car at the other end. The rhythm of it is the same every time. Actually I’ve heard the safety briefing so many times that I have to remind myself that it’s going on and not to talk.

I know other people for whom a flight is a scary prospect because they have never done it before, it fells strange and uncomfortable.

There are times in life when it’s good to dwell in the routines and others when the routine is that last place we should dwell. Today I’m enjoying the routine.

Both of these quotes are true:

The secret of love is seeking variety in your life together, and never letting routine chords dull the melody of your romance

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.

There is a sense in which we need a framework of routine without the bondage of it.

I’ve used this quote before, but I make no apologies for it:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

Matthew 11