Holding Still and The Illusion of IT Stability

Keeping your IT infrastructure stable while making necessary changes feels a bit like walking a tightrope without a net. A near-impossible feat requiring nimble balance

The art of Tightrope Walking

Nik Wallenda recently walked a tightrope over a quarter mile chasm near the Grand Canyon on live television  He did it with no safety harness; just himself, a balance pole, and a 2” cable across a gorge 1,500 feet above the river below.

The wind was blowing hard a times, and twice he crouched down and briefly paused.

Walking a tightrope is all about balance. The walker must keep his center of mass directly above the wire, or risk a fall. He uses his legs to absorb and adjust to vibration in the wire. A balance pole helps increase stability and is used to  maintain balance on the wire.

It’s a graceful, flowing motion, reflecting practiced precision.

The Illusion of Stability

Israel Lifshitz, Founder of SysAid and NuboSoftware, was recently quoted:

“We all love stability. But don’t sacrifice excellence by being fearful of change. Don’t avoid trying new things” – @IsraelLifshitz

— Sophie Danby (@SophieDanby) January 26, 2014

When things are working really well, it’s very tempting to stop making changes. To hold IT Stabilityeverything perfectly still out of fear of disturbing the delicate balance. But holding still only creates the illusion of stability.

A tightrope walker is in a constant state of graceful motion, expertly adjusting to the slightest motion of wind and vibration in the wire.

It’s not the absence of change, but the deliberate application of the right changes that restores balance and maintains stability.

Striking the Right Balance

An organization that’s focused on IT stability at the expense of needed changes, is in danger of a great fall. When business requirements change, these organizations tend to overcompensate with exaggerated motions. The result is unnecessary delays, mistakes, and service disruptions caused by lack of grace and precision in managing changes.

On the other extreme are organizations who invest too heavily in change responsiveness. While the business appreciates it, the danger is overspending on these changes. What other business value-generating things could IT be doing? Optimizing cost is part of IT’s fiscal responsibility.

It’s a tightrope IT must walk; part of the job. Focus too much on stability on one hand, or responsiveness on the other and and risk irrelevance and a great fall.

Fear of change can paralyze an organization. Excellence is found in the courage to strike the balance your business needs to keep moving forward.

That balance is unique to every situation, and changes rapidly at times. Every IT organization must find the right balance to best serve their customers in their constantly-changing circumstances.

  • Kenneth Gonzalez

    Staccato and relevant. Love this!

    • Thanks Ken!

      Definitely a a challenging balancing act!