Almost Implementing a Standard

Several of our suppliers claim to implement standards, but in reality they implement a subset of those standards, and only under certain circumstances.

To make matters worse, they don’t actually document the places where their implementation diverges from the standard. You get what you expect most of the time, but not quite always. And when you don’t, it can be a problem… a big problem.

What would if other businesses worked that way? Imagine you regularly ordered a taxi to take you to the airport. Imagine that, most time, a taxi turns up, where you want it, when you want it. But just occasionally, instead of a taxi, they send a small, golden-feathered chicken. But they insist you pay for it, even if you miss your flight.

The point of a standard is that it is… standard. So, almost implementing a standard is another way of saying that you don’t implement it. Except that your marketing people won’t be able to sell your product unless you claim to implement it.


When Disaster Recovery is a Disaster Waiting to Happen

We were ready for our Disaster Recovery exercise. The plan was simple: to fail-over to our DR site, and then to fail-back again.

But, during our last-minute safety checks, my colleague and I spotted a problem. We realised that, if we proceeded with the planned fail-over, there was a significant risk of data-loss.

Some of the team wanted to continue anyway. We were, after all, trying to simulate a real disaster situation. If a real disaster were to occur, they argued, we would have to deal with similar consequences.

Debating the merits of this position, I suggested that:

There is a difference between falling off a bridge and throwing yourself off. The first is an unfortunate accident, the second is downright recklessness.

In agreement, my colleague replied that:

Continuing with the exercise would be like throwing yourself off a bridge now just in case you fall off one later!

A deeper analysis of the risk suggested that, if we were careful, we could throw ourselves off this particular bridge safely. Although there was likely to be data loss, there was a manual process available that would recover the missing records.

So, off we jumped…