Fear of the ripples

As long as you don’t make waves, ripples, life seems easy. But that’s condemning yourself to impotence and death before you are dead.
Jeanne Moreau

Have you ever noticed how the applications within some large OSS suites are so tightly bound that their operators are petrified of the ripple effect – where they’re not so worried about making a configuration change in one application but are fearful of what else might break once that change ripples out into other systems?

I refer to this as the chess board analogy.

When an OSS is in this state, projects tend to just dabble around the edges of the OSS, trying to minimise the waves they make. It’s often difficult to convince an organisation to make any changes at all, no matter how urgent. Afterall, the confused mind says no.

This is where subtraction projects come into play. Another mechanism to alleviate some of the fear of ripples is to build a comprehensive automated regression testing regime to see whether the ripples do actually break other tools, but in a testing rather than production environment.

How do you minimise the fear of ripples in your organisation?

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