Adapt or die: 3 imperatives for cloud projects

Migrating to the cloud is still new territory, so you have to adapt as you blaze the trail

Adapt or die: 3 imperatives for cloud projects
Credit: Peter Rivera, Flickr

In the migration to the cloud, enterprises quickly learn that adaptability -- the willingness to change -- has to happen. Failure to adapt can turn minor problems into massive damage.

For example, a large enterprise that migrates 100 applications to an IaaS cloud might discover during testing that the latency is too high for 25 of the applications. The board of directors and leadership were given a plan showing 100 applications migrating to the cloud, and no one wants communicate a change, so they power through. The result is that those 25 applications don't function well enough to support the business, and that adds up to a big, costly failure.

A better approach, of course, is to not move the 25 applications that show latency issues to the cloud.

It's simply a matter of adapting as you execute, but enterprises seem to be bad at that practice. Budgets, politics, and self-interest seem to cloud everyone's thinking, leading to dumb mistakes that quickly become huge costly mistakes.

Rise above that. Here's how:

First, empower the people charged with building applications on the cloud, moving applications to the cloud, or other cloud activities to make changes if needed. Don't require them to run every decision up the chain of command. Otherwise, there are too many barriers to necessary change.

Second, evaluate and test as you go. Fail as fast as you can so that you can work around any pitfalls as they occur -- before you dig yourself into a hole you can't get out of.

Third, promulgate a culture of acceptance, where the ability to adapt is a desired trait. People should be rewarded when they uncover issues and figure out how to work around them. Never dress down staff when plans go awry. Instead, encourage them to find solutions.

This advice applies to any project, not only those related to the cloud. But it's especially important to cloud projects because we're all still learning. No one is on their 10th cloud project. Like the pioneers in any endeavor, you have to be adaptable in blazing your trail to make it to that promised land.

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