What has worked?

The Japanese have a wonderful sense of design and a refinement in their art. They try to produce beautiful paintings with the minimum number of strokes.”
David Rockefeller
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Have you ever sat back and wondered what has worked on your OSS projects or operations? Have you been able to figure out why it has worked?

Evolution is the process of refining what has worked. In the natural world, the KPI of “what has worked” is the ability to pro-create and continue your genes into the next generation. The KPIs of “what has worked” in OSS isn’t quite so clear-cut or obvious in most cases.

I believe we need to take the Japanese artist perspective to our OSS processes, reducing to the minimum number of strokes. But more importantly, we need to benchmark and track whether variants from the standard approach (ie an operator takes an different path than specified in the standard process) actually produce faster or better results.

Do you measure how long it takes your operators to get through your most important end-to-end workflows? Do you see major variations from mean (in the statistical sense)? If so, do you understand why? Are you able to use that to provide feedback into your system as refined workflows and then re-measure to see whether your hunch has actually improved efficiency?

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