Sacred cows

I’ve always challenged myself and the people who work with me to take new approaches to traditional business challenges, to push the envelope and constantly ask whether our sacred cows are still producing great milk.”
Irene Rosenfeld.

In an earlier blog, entitled Ruthless Simplification, the topic of being ruthless in your simplification was discussed.

Further to that discussion, ruthlessness often has to extend to sacred cows.

How often have you seen large CSPs with core B/OSS tools that were spawned around the same time as OctopOSS boarded Noah’s Ark? Some even run on hardware/software platforms that have otherwise become extinct.

They’ve become so entrenched in the organisation that they have become almost irreplaceable, the sacred cows that nobody is allowed to touch for fear of upsetting the OSS gods. That’s fine if the sacred cow is still performing adequately to support the business’s needs.

Unfortunately, these sacred cows are often holding the business back, becoming a major bottleneck in the present-day end-to-end processes.

The problem with removing these sacred cows comes in disentangling the spaghetti maze of connections (data, people, etc) that have developed around them over the years. The other challenge is finding the solution that fills any voids left behind because the sacred cows were often custom-developed for the CSP and the knowledge established during creation is no longer available.

In a nutshell, disentangling means doing an audit of functionality / interfaces and looking to turn as much off as possible (or replace it) before tackling the removal of the sacred cow itself.

Consider the analogy of removing clutter before selling your house. It makes your move easier (you don’t have so much stuff to drag across to your new house) and produces better financial outcomes (in the case of the house you get a higher sale price because it presents better, whereas with the OSS it comes from having fewer features/interfaces to drag across to the new solution).

Rather than de-cluttering their OSS, many architects will jump straight to commissioning the new rather than first dismantling the old,

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