Using the Laws in Other IT Contexts
Quite apart from daily use for determining task priorities, the laws are extremely useful in other situations.
Hiring: Your team can use the laws as a starting point for developing or updating DBA job descriptions, team task profiles, and interview questions. Hiring a DBA? Consider questions such as: What are the most important tasks a DBA must perform? Discuss the relative importance of data recovery vs. application performance. When starting a new job as a DBA, what are the first things you’ll need to learn?
Employee training: With a clear sense of what things are most important, the DBA team can more easily determine where they should spend their education and employee development resources. Are all the DBAs fully trained in data recovery (including disaster recovery)? If not, perhaps some training is needed. If there are two offsite classes available on data recovery and SQL tuning, you can use the laws to guide you in making your decision.
Performance appraisal: If you agree with the laws and their hierarchy as stated, they become a foundation for performance standards. The higher the importance of the law, the more weight it can be given when developing appraisal guidelines. One can then extend this to post-appraisal employee development by indicating what further education or experience would be most effective.
Mergers and acquisitions: Centralizing your IT infrastructure? Acquiring (or being acquired by) another company? If so, this will involve merging IT functions from two or more organizations. As you begin planning, the laws can be used as an agenda for discussion. For example, the most important task should be IT-wide consolidation and coordination of data recoverability (i.e., backup and recovery procedures, standardization of backup media and frequency, multi-site disaster recovery planning, and the like).
DB2 version upgrades: As shops have migrated to V8, they’ve experienced various issues. If your shop is contemplating or planning an upgrade, then the laws may give you a beginning point for creating an installation verification test suite. For example, you should consider including before and after tests of backup and recovery utilities, including timings and resource usage.
Of course, the laws can’t apply to every possible IT enterprise. It’s possible that environments exist where the specification or order of the laws differ from that presented in this article.
Still, the point of importance vs. urgency remains. We can’t allow urgent, reactive behaviors to rule our lives at the expense of those tasks that are truly important. This is most obvious in the realm of best practices, where the process of continuous improvement forces IT professionals to concentrate on solving problems rather than reacting to symptoms. Z