Re: Operational Excellence - True or False? (Feel free to explain if so inclined)
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2011 13:23:48 +0200
I think most people on this list seem to have a somewhat exalted understanding of "excellence". "Excellence", like "outstanding", is a relative notion. And I don't believe that the bar is that high. Just go to any job site, and search for "Oracle expert", then count how many times it is followed by "2/3 years experience".
For most managers, "operational excellence" mostly means "I have nothing to show but green indicators to my boss". Worked some years ago on a replicated trading system that had a hub and spoke topology, with the ability to switch any spoke to the hub and the hub to a special spoke that was able to become the hub (all in house development). Everything had been carefully scripted and tested, we could switch in under 15 minutes. One day, a hardware problem occurred. It took more than half an hour to DECIDE to switch. You might have thought it was a merely technical problem but it implied some minor configuration changes on the side of the application support people, and you always have some more or less functional project manager who wants to be seen as a "decision taker" (looks fine in a CV). When you have someone whose main experience of computer failure is the Blue Screen of Death, it may takes some time convincing him that, no, rebooting should not fix the problem. Just like performance issues, really - whether the switch could have been performed in 30 seconds (which would have really been "excellent") or half an hour would not have much affected the whole "we have a problem with the database" (since it's always the database) episode. Absolute technical performance may be the wrong issue in the vast majority of cases. And sometimes you just discover that mysteriously end-users managed to survive a crash of the hyper-critical system.
"Operational excellence" basically means, at the middle-management level, OCP-grade knowledge, hardly more (upper the food chain it becomes a very abstract concept). If you have some decent knowledge of the basics, your being qualified as "excellent" is merely a matter of luck and not being drawn by circumstances and faulty hardware or vicious bugs out of your comfort zone.
Of course, this isn't the official discourse. Was browsing a corporate
website the other day and found a quote from the Global Head of Human
Resources that was stating "We believe that a company's most valuable
assets are its people", really an original and truly insightful thought
that I was happy to discover. I have no idea what, in my slightly
pervert mind, draw me to the site of the North Korean New Agency, but I
found there, in a rebuke of a South Korean report on human rights in the
> Man is regarded as the most valuable being in the DPRK under
> Korean-style socialist system centered on the popular masses.
Exactly. And I assume that the DPRK thrives for operational excellence.
-- Stephane Faroult RoughSea Ltd <http://www.roughsea.com> Konagora <http://www.konagora.com> RoughSea Channel on Youtube <http://www.youtube.com/user/roughsealtd> On 07/29/2011 12:26 PM, Uzzell, Stephan wrote:Received on Fri Jul 29 2011 - 06:23:48 CDT
> Norm, Norm,
> You can verb anything, dontcha know?
> To the question at hand - I think people have said it better than I could. But my feeling tends to be that while many people may be able to achieve some level of competence in both Oracle and SQL Server, true excellence in the both of them is out of the range of us mere mortals.
> Just my $.02
> Stephan Uzzell
> -----Original Message-----
> From: oracle-l-bounce_at_freelists.org [mailto:oracle-l-bounce_at_freelists.org] On Behalf Of Dunbar, Norman (Capgemini)
> Sent: Friday, 29 July, 2011 02:55
> To: ChrisDavid.Taylor_at_ingrambarge.com; oracle-l_at_freelists.org
> Subject: RE: Operational Excellence - True or False? (Feel free to explain if so inclined)
> Morning all,
>>> ... (That is, to achieve operational excellence in regard to
>>> enterprise data management of large data stores managed by
>>> both Oracle and SQL Server, you need individuals who
>>> specialize in each technology).
> I tend to disagree, but as ever, it depends. It depends on who the
> person in question actually is. If it was me, for example, then my brain
> is getting far too old to remember everything I already know about
> Oracle (and Firebird) to add even more to the pile with SQL Server.
> In fact, I recently turned down some free (And I'm a Jock living in
> Yorkshire!) SQL Server training for this very reason (plus the fact that
> I actually have an inbuilt hatred for SQL Server - don't ask me why, I
> just do!).
> If, on the other hand, the person was Jonathan Lewis, then I'd expect
> him to end up as a person of excellence in both disciplines. Simply
> because he can (or appears to) dedicate large periods of time in
> research mode testing things, investigating and learning what goes on
> under the covers.
> Tanel Poder, I think, would also be another guru if he decided he wanted
> to be. There are others, some on this list, who would also be able (in
> my opinion) to take on the roles of Oracle& SQL Server DBA to a high
> I often wonder, when I read Tanel or Jonathan's blogs, just *how* they
> find out information about the internal workings of Oracle.
> And I also have to add, I absolutely loathe and detest the use of
> certain words as verbs when they are simply not verbs, a thing much
> loved by "right on" management - "we are going to leverage ....", "we
> need to architect a new ...." and this morning's one from another post,
> luckily tongue in cheek, "I shall have to socialize (socialise) this in
> the office" - Aaargh!
> Maybe I'm just a grumpy old codger? ;-)
> Norman Dunbar
> Contract Senior Oracle DBA
> Capgemini Database Team (EA)
> Internal : 7 28 2051
> External : 0113 231 2051
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