Last Friday, I made a pretty sarcastic joke about Friday deploys. Hopefully the image macro let you know it was a joke, though!
Do you even Friday deploy, bro? pic.twitter.com/weqjgsZxfx
— Rob Nelson (@rnelson0) March 18, 2016
You shouldn’t be deploying on Fridays. Let’s qualify that a bit. “Deploy” in this instance means a high-risk change – a new product or equipment, a change in some protocol (moving from EIGRP to OSPF), or even some simple change that you’ve not done before so you don’t really know how risky it is – and “Friday “is your last day of the week. Patches on Friday? Up to you, though I don’t suggest doing so at 4:59PM. Is your shift 4×10, Monday through Thursday? Thursday is your Friday, get your deploys done by Wednesday. Is it a short week because of vacation plans? Maybe don’t deploy this week at all. Whatever the particulars are for you, “No Deploy Friday” is just the phrase for not deploying something brand new before you’re off for a few days.
Having the “No Deploy Friday” rule is a sign of IT maturity, for you and your company, in so many ways:
- Realizing you cannot do everything. Sometimes you can’t do something when you want to. It’s better to accept that than try and force it.
- Realizing that things go wrong. When you’re young, it’s easy to believe so fiercely that you know what you’re doing that you cannot accept that you might be wrong. With maturity comes the knowledge that even if you know what you’re doing, it can still turn out poorly.
- Realizing that your decisions affect those around you. It’s important to recognize that when something does go wrong, you don’t exist in a vacuum. Other people are affected. Your boss and coworkers. Your customers. Your family. Your coworker’s family. You can make the decision that YOU do not mind staying late if something breaks, but you should not make the decision for your coworker’s spouse that they won’t be home for dinner.
- Realizing that you matter. Work has to happen. But you don’t have to subsume yourself for it to happen. Your time off is yours. Friday movie night should be for watching movies, not fixing bad deploys. And instead of pushing a big deploy before you head on vacation, which pretty much ensures through Murphy’s Law that you won’t actually get to enjoy your vacation (or worse, you will but your company and users will suffer until you’re back on the grid!), talk to management and push the deploy out or find another owner. There’s also the more serious struggle with burnout that we all have. Reminder: You matter! If you need help, reach out to someone! We’ll listen!
- Realizing that no matter what gets done today, there will always be more tomorrow! When I was younger, I sometimes thought I might “work myself out of a job”. What BS. If I ever actually did get everything done, it would have just given me time to find something else to do. For most of us, we’ll never actually empty out our task list. Since that’s the case, there’s no need to kill yourself trying to do so. This isn’t the same thing as saying, “feel free to slack.” It’s a fine line to know what NEEDS to be done today and what would really be nice to do today but would be more likely to be successful on another day. Knowing when you should postpone work until you have the time to do it right is another sign of maturity.
- Realizing that “hurry” is the antithesis of “fast”. This one is counter-intuitive. We’re often told to, “move fast and break things.” I hate that saying. It really should be, “move fast and break things in development so you don’t break production.” That’s the real intent behind it. But even that’s not right. “Hurry” indicates your speed; “fast” is describing your velocity. When you’re hurrying, it becomes easy to skip a step because someone hit you up on IM while you were working, or push through an error message because you want to leave to get to the movie on time. Those things end up costing you more time when you have to drop everything to troubleshoot or rollback. Now you’re hurrying at a high speed but have a negative velocity. You show maturity when you choose a velocity of zero over a negative velocity.
- Realizing that Friday is great for “non-work” work. We work in a fast paced industry. We spend a lot of time working, but we have a lot of other things we have to do that we don’t always consider “work”. No-one likes doing their expense reports, but they’re great Friday work. We also have to keep up with new technologies and processes, and if you have an 8+ hour day with no deploys, it’s a good candidate for some contiguous learning time. There’s lots of ways to be productive while avoiding deploys, and your manager and finances will also be happy that they don’t have to hound you for your expense reports anymore!
It’s often a difficult struggle for maturity in IT. Just knowing what maturity looks like, doesn’t mean you can just go ahead and do it. If you’re in a culture of Friday deploys, you may have to lead the charge on this. If you’re the rogue IT person breaking the “No Deploy Friday” rules, talk to your coworkers and see what wisdom you can glean. Let maturity be your badge of pride, not your scars and war stories!