Los Angeles – week 6

It’s been another busy week on the work front with not much happening on the leisure front other than the now customary round of golf, so this week I’ll give you more of a flavour about the work currently under way.

I’ve now been here six weeks and Andrew three, so work is now going full steam ahead on the six month project plan that’s been laid out. The first initial two weeks out here with Graham Hammonds was spent mapping the process flow for the organisation’s way of dealing with hot fixes in respect of Change& Release Management,  but after interviewing 15 people and getting 15 different views it became a very complicated Visio diagram.

Since Andrew arrived we have performed a number of workshops and interviews which led to another interesting diagram, but enabled us to produce Visio diagrams for how the organisation’s processes work for Major, Data Warehouse, Data Center, Network & Security releases. After we had achieved an accurate picture of their processes the work now underway is to mould and manipulate those processes so that they are following MOF (Microsoft Operations Framework). So Andrew has mapped their processes onto the MOF Change and Release models and the next step is to start changing the way the organisation works, although culturally and politically this may be easier said than done.

Meanwhile, I have stated work on identifying all of their Configuration Items that will be managed as we also attempt to get Configuration Management off the ground, which doesn’t exist at all at the moment. I have also spent time reviewing the Service Monitoring & Control processes and procedures and have made a number of recommendations for improvement.

So, we have a six-month project plan to introduce Change, Configuration & Release Management processes as defined by MOF which is still in its early stages, but there is a lot of work to do and no doubt a few barriers to cross as we progress.

The two one-day Service Management in Action courses which Andrew ran last week were very well received, and has got people thinking more along the right lines of Service Management, such as the need to perform an impact analysis when assessing a change, but a big blow this week was when the client decided to postpone the 3-day MOF Changing Quadrant course scheduled for next week, for which David Papworth was due to fly-out this weekend in order to deliver it. 

The course is critical in getting people to understand in more detail what is going to be expected of them as we develop new processes and procedures and build on the foundations of the SMIA courses. Not only that, but Dave “International Rescue”  Papworth was bringing over urgent medical supplies with him, such as Branston Pickle, Daddie’s Sauce and Rich Tea biscuits!

Although living in California has it’s benefits, not only do you miss family& friends, wives & girlfriends, the comforts of home, Sheffield United (obviously!), but you also begin to appreciate the finer things in life like Sky Sports and Branston Pickle. Oh for a proper cheese and pickle sandwich. The yanks version of pickle is the gherkin you get in a Big Mac!

Mid-week we had severe thunderstorms causing havoc in some places, where 5 inches of rain fell in just a few hours, leaving some areas under 3 feet of water. Even more bizarre was one suburb of LA which ended up with a foot deep of hail! Last week Southern California had over 30 earthquakes, the largest amount in over 6 months, although the largest was only 3.3 on the Richter scale, so we haven’t felt any yet. But after recent weeks of fire, flood, snow & hail, we can only wonder what’s around the corner – hopefully not the ‘big one’. Check out the front page of the LA Times.

Black Gold was the venue of this weeks golfing exploits. Set beneath the Chino Hills, it was another immaculately kept course, if a bit damp in places following the rain we’ve had this week. But that was more than made up for by the stunning views the course provided. Check out the photos here, together with the rest of this weeks pics including a stunning sunset and a chipmunk.

That’s all folks for the moment. Bye for now and speak to you next week.