A “Quick and Dirty” Request
If you work in IT, at some point you have probably been asked by your boss to build a “quick and dirty” proof of concept (POC) for them. You think to yourself, this will be done in a day or so. You build it as quickly and simply as you can. You run virtualization, so the server build is quick and easy. (It's a lot harder if your infrastructure is not virtualized - then you have to scrounge up whatever hardware you can find.) You tell your boss you can have it ready by the end of the day.
You probably can’t get licenses in that time, but no big deal – you can just use evals for now. Sure, Adobe asks you to update Flash every three minutes, Windows isn’t activated yet, and you have 150 Windows Updates ready to apply at the next reboot. But you can finish the POC way before these issues become a problem.
The Cost of Victory
So what happens now? First, let’s assume your POC worked (it probably will if you have survived in IT this long). Your boss is thrilled, you get kudos, and you think life is beautiful. BE WARNED!!! You may be about to enter “The Night of the Living Proof of Concept!”
Your boss liked it SO much that he has to show it to the CIO. Suddenly it has to be perfect! It has to boot in seconds, and run faster than you can click your mouse. You can’t have any more annoying software update or activation messages displaying. By the way, that key meeting is tomorrow morning. Your boss says, spruce it up this afternoon and everything will be fine.
So you work all night, clean up the interface, and speed things up by throwing all your remaining virtual hardware at the solution. Your virtual infrastructure is on the brink of collapse, but the POC is running like a top.
You wait with bated breath for the CIO demo to finish so you can turn off the POC and get your environment back. But your boss has GREAT news! The CEO and CFO were at the CIO demo, and they LOVED it! In fact, they plan to use it every day – and some nights and weekends too!
THE NIGHTMARE HAS BEGUN!!!
An Ounce of Prevention
Not every POC will blossom into a core business critical application overnight. But you should tell your boss the limitations of your POC environment at the beginning, to cut down on the “surprise” factor. Most bosses don’t like surprises. And, if/when the CIO meeting comes up, tell your boss the limitations again – in an email! That way, your boss can decide whether to postpone the meeting to give you time to prepare the POC appropriately.
Finally, at your next budgeting cycle ask for excess capacity in your virtualization environment. Show your boss the email you sent about the CIO meeting. It may be one of the easiest budgeting cycles you will ever have!