Forward to next post: Phil Foglio, Girl Genius, and me
One of the skills they pay me the
big bucks medium-sized Euro for at work is assessing the risks of changes going into production. To do it, I’ve become pretty good at evaluating the system that is being changed.
I could snow you with talk of checklists, metrics, and charts, but really, my most valuable analytical tools are my pattern-matching wetware and my experience. With those two things, I can usually describe the current state of the system and estimate its chances of going horribly wrong in the near future, just based on gut feel.
Below are my private terms for the various states of computer system health. I use different ones in official reporting. Usually.
Entropy tells us that, barring intervention, systems tend to move down this sequence. But it’s not a linear progression. For instance, brittle and fragile, are parallel routes to fuckedness. They’re basically two different failure modes: the Big Bad Bang and Death by a Thousand Cuts.
The applicability of these categories to other matters is left as an exercise for the reader.