Re: Operational Excellence - True or False? (Feel free to explain if so inclined)

From: Stephane Faroult <>
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2011 15:35:49 +0200
Message-ID: <>

Concerning 2) I loved the 2004 reference to Toyota.

My only problem with metrics is that the human tendency is to improve for metrics ... Buffer hit-ratio, anyone?

Stephane Faroult
RoughSea Ltd <>
Konagora <>
RoughSea Channel on Youtube <>

On 07/29/2011 02:19 PM, Taylor, Chris David wrote:

> 2 things:
> 1.)I think you are right it is relative, BUT how often do companies
> hire based on what they think they want and then realize that person
> is not meeting objectives? A company may "think" they only need 2/3
> years of experience only to realize that their database systems are
> down 10% of the time and that is unacceptable. So, yes, operational
> excellence is relative based on either the explicit or implicit
> objectives of the organization. Very few companies will allow their
> data management systems to just "get by" for very long as more and
> more companies live and die by their data.
> 2.)It seems I should have included a link to the philosophy of
> operational excellence in my original post so we might all have a
> common starting point. That is not to say we would all end at the
> same understanding of the idea since each individual/organization
> would likely define what operational excellence is for themselves.
> Here's a Wikipedia entry as a starting point:
> */Chris Taylor/*
> *Sr. Oracle DBA*
> Ingram Barge Company
> Nashville, TN 37205
> Office: 615-517-3355
> Cell: 615-663-1673
> Email: <>
> *CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail and any attachments are
> confidential and may also be privileged. If you are not the named
> recipient, please notify the sender immediately and delete the
> contents of this message without disclosing the contents to anyone,
> using them for any purpose, or storing or copying the information on
> any medium.*
> *From:*Stephane Faroult []
> *Sent:* Friday, July 29, 2011 6:24 AM
> *To:* SUzzell_at_MICROS.COM
> *Cc:* ''; Taylor,
> Chris David;
> *Subject:* Re: Operational Excellence - True or False? (Feel free to
> explain if so inclined)
> 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 North
> 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 <>
> Konagora <>
> RoughSea Channel on Youtube <>
> On 07/29/2011 12:26 PM, Uzzell, Stephan wrote:
> 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-----
> <> [] On Behalf Of Dunbar, Norman (Capgemini)
> Sent: Friday, 29 July, 2011 02:55
> <>; <>
> 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
> standard.
> 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? ;-)
> Cheers,
> Norm.
> Norman Dunbar
> Contract Senior Oracle DBA
> Capgemini Database Team (EA)
> Internal : 7 28 2051
> External : 0113 231 2051
> Information in this message may be confidential and may be legally privileged. If you have received this message by mistake, please notify the sender immediately, delete it and do not copy it to anyone else.
> We have checked this email and its attachments for viruses. But you should still check any attachment before opening it.
> We may have to make this message and any reply to it public if asked to under the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act or for litigation. Email messages and attachments sent to or from any Environment Agency address may also be accessed by someone other than the sender or recipient, for business purposes.
> If we have sent you information and you wish to use it please read our terms and conditions which you can get by calling us on 08708 506 506. Find out more about the Environment Agency <>
> --
> --
Received on Fri Jul 29 2011 - 08:35:49 CDT

Original text of this message