How to sideline the 3 types of cloud naysayers

Don't let these people block your cloud efforts through toxic, slowdown, or diminuation tactics

How to sideline the 3 types of cloud naysayers
Credit: Thinkstock

I deal with them every day: People in IT who get in the way of cloud migration projects. Despite clear evidence that many applications can run better in the cloud and for much less money, there remain people in IT who don't think that's true. And they'll do everything in their power to derail your migration project.

Here's how to deal with three types of such difficult people -- and keep your cloud migration project on track.

1. The passive-aggressive "I hate cloud" person

This is the person who attends all the meetings with his or her arms folded and a sour face. This person doesn't communicate directly but makes lot of toxic comments behind the scenes to chop away at any progress. This person is the worst of the three.

2. The "I need to have every cloud concept explained to me" person

This person is not ignorant, but he or she plays dumb to slow down the process and suck the wind out of the project. If you let this person succeed, you'll spend half of each meeting defining IaaS, hybrid cloud, block vs. object storage, and so on. You'll end up wanting to write a glossary of terms to shut this person up.

3. The "Tell us how cloud computing is not new" person

This person is usually about my age (I'm old) and somehow thinks that the best technology was built in the 1980s. He or she stops the meetings all the time to tell us how cloud, as a concept (including virtualization), existed when Cabbage Patch dolls were popular. It's almost as if the goal is to diminish the cloud notion and deflate interest in it.

This person is not exactly wrong, but he or she is not exactly right, either. Some of the principles behind the cloud are indeed old, but not their instantiations or supporting technologies. And who cares if the ideas are old? The cloud technology IT can rely on didn't exist then, but now it does.

How to sideline these naysayers

How do you win battles with these three types of cloud naysayers? Through involvement.

You convince such people's managers that they should work on the project and give them a task to perform. The trick is to make sure that task is meaningful but not too damaging if screwed up or not delivered. Maybe they'll change their views once they have something specific to work on and learn from.

If they resist the assignment, that's telling. You can now recommend to their managers that these blockers should find another company where they can hinder progress. Perhaps you can help get them a job at a competitor! At the very least, they should be taken fully off the cloud project and watched for any behavior that undermines it from outside.

From CIO: 8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills