Making the cloud a success
Disaster Recovery & Hybrid Cloud
Disaster Recovery & Hybrid Cloud 150 150 CloudGovCo

This week we start a series on using the cloud for disaster recovery. Please share this with your IT Director.

A good reason for adopting the cloud is that you can design cloud-based solutions that are resilient and highly available, including fail-over to other geographic regions. They are resilient because solutions are automatically distributed over several data-centre zones.

One of the use cases for hybrid cloud is disaster recovery. A hybrid cloud is a combination of a private cloud, such as your on-premises data centre, and the public cloud.

In this series we explore the feasibility of using the cloud for disaster recovery of your on-premises information technology (IT).

Disaster recovery assumes the need to restore IT systems after a major disruption. A disaster in this sense means you have lost access to or use of the systems in their current location. This could be for many reasons. The facility’s buildings could be inaccessible due to flooding, earthquake, explosion or something as simple as loss of water, electrical or HVAC services. Loss of cooling water in a data centre can scram mainframes in as little as 90 seconds. Loss of water is also a health risk under most workplace health & safety regulations.

An IT disaster such as this will usually be in a larger context of widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss in the community.

In the event of a disaster, your business-continuity plan will identify the mission-critical systems, their priority for restoration and the time window in which they must be restored to service. This could range from minutes to a few hours.

Operationally, you will have an off-line data-backup routine with off-site storage to safeguard against data loss. Restoring from backups can take days or weeks. Off line means the backup is air gapped to protect data from ongoing attacks.

We will be discussing these strategies for disaster recovery.

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Canada Releases Covid App
Canada Releases Covid App 150 150 CloudGovCo

July 31 the Government of Canada released “Covid Alert”, a smartphone app to trace Covid contacts. The app is available for Apple and Android. It uses the Apple-Google API and Bluetooth to anonymously track phones that have been near you. It stores the data on your phone for 14 days By design it does not track location data, so it doesn’t know where you’ve been.

Initially only Ontario has integrated the app into its health system. This is one of the barriers to success in a federal system, where the provinces have control over health. The extreme case has been shown in the USA.

The app works like this: If you test positive for Covid, the health department gives you a code. You enter the code in your app, and then the app looks up your Bluetooth contacts in the last 14 days and then sends them a request to go get tested.

Covid in Canada August 2020

Covid in Canada August 03 2020

Covid continues to trundle along in Canada. After some success by the end of June we failed to close the barn door. As restrictions were loosened the general level of community infection is worrisome, especially for those in high-risk categories.

Covid has roared back in many places around the world, showing the futility of whack-a-mole mitigation strategies. Waiting for a vaccine is futile. The best strategy is Zero Covid, seeking to eradicate the virus, as New Zealand is doing. The goal in Zero Covid is a seven day rolling average of one new case per million population per day.

Not only New Zealand, but also Australia (which recently fumbled the ball), China, Iceland, Lesotho, Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Faroe Islands, and countries in east Asia are pursuing an elimination approach. This requires control over travel, and testing and quarantine of visitors.

Let’s Have More Meetings
Let’s Have More Meetings 150 150 CloudGovCo

A Microsoft study of working at home has found a 10% increase in meetings. Yay! Just what we need. More time to socialize and catch up on the water-cooler, err, food-court gossip. I’m sure, like me, you’ve been to too many useless meetings with too many uninformed people sharing their opinion.

A Harvard Business Review study has found that the most productive meetings have fewer than eight people; although you can go as high as 18 if you’re brainstorming. Interestingly 3-8 coincides with the approximate number in an Agiile Minimum Viable Team (MVT).

Metcalfe’s Network Law shows why. There are 56 possible communication paths between individuals in an eight-person team:

paths = n(n-1)

If you’re a project manager you can also find this formula in the PMI PMBOK.

If you’re in a daily scrum of 17 people there are 272 possible communication paths. So, of course, everyone will simply report their status to the scrum leader. There will be no meaningful interaction. Even so, if everyone speaks for 5 minutes the daily scrum will take 1 hour and 25 minutes, hardly a productive usage of time. In contrast an MVT is self-organizing, so it doesn’t need a scrum leader. It just needs an objective.

For a meeting you should invite the right people,  and only the right people. And have an agenda, and publish minutes.


Three-Point Estimating
Three-Point Estimating 150 150 CloudGovCo

I am often surprised how many project managers don’t know how to estimate. There are many #estimating methods, such as analogous, top-down, bottom-up, parametric, PERT, relative and three-point, and it’s useful to know them all. Here we discuss simple three-point. This takes the best guess (BG). which is the average amount of work the task might take if it were performed 100 times, the pessimistic (P) estimate if negative risks go wrong; and the optimistic (O) estimate if positive opportunities materialize. These values are simply averaged to derive the estimate (E).

E = (BG+P+O)/3

Sometimes this is weighted to the best guess in a PERT method:

E = (4BG+P+O)/3

A more sophisticated three-point estimate, such as this tool, would include an analysis of the standard deviation to give you a confidence level. At the end of the day, you have to use your experience, research and risk competence to select the best estimation.



Covid Update 2020-07-10
Covid Update 2020-07-10 150 150 CloudGovCo

There is promising progress about Covid in Canada. Deaths have declined from a peak of 222/day May 31 to 29-12/day July 8-9. This is less than 1 death per million nationally; although higher in Ontario and Quebec. Toronto, for example, is still in partial lockdown. Ontario had 130 new daily cases and Quebec 91, so we are still not out of the woods.

The threshold of 1/million puts us in the territory of eliminating the virus in Canada if we have effective travel and border controls, with strict quarantine protocols.

Keeping the US border closed is supremely critical, with that country in a frenzy of feeding of self destruction. Hopefully this does not turn into outward military action before November.

Covid Canada 2020-07-10

Covid Canada 2020-07-10

There are some counterfactuals. As shown in the graph the number of daily cases looks like it has plateaued, which means that new spikes are always possible. Also, Melbourne Australia is a recent cautionary tale as it has had to go back into an emergency lockdown. Ditto for Sydney.

Keeping the virus deaths below 1/million is critical to opening schools while following CDC guidelines. While there is evidence children are not badly affected by Covid, there is no medical explanation for this. Nobody seems to be asking the question of why children seem to be more or less immune. And, of course, if children are asymptomatic carriers they still have the potential of infecting teachers and parents.

Quick Wins Show Results
Quick Wins Show Results 150 150 CloudGovCo

When you establish the #Cloud Centre of Excellence for #AWS, #Azure, or #Google, it’s important to have quick wins that show results to management, instill confidence and motivate the team.

This also creates momentum – important in every project – and creates warm and fuzzy feelings in the organization when you advertise success.

Quick wins are not a one off – you should be continuously managing a list of prospects using a #Kanban board or similar.

A quick win is an improvement that is visible, has immediate benefit, and can be delivered quickly after the project begins.

The quick win does not have to be profound or have a long-term impact on your organization, but needs to be something that many stakeholders agree is a good thing.

Quick wins can be easily discovered during analysis of business processes or during requirements elicitation.

You can often identify quick wins by simply asking stakeholders if they have any quick win recommendations that could result in immediate benefits to the organization.

The best quick wins are easy to implement, inexpensive, and of course can be rapidly implemented.

Where is Your Cloud Centre of Excellence
Where is Your Cloud Centre of Excellence 150 150 CloudGovCo

#Azure #AWS #Google #Cloud #CIO

Covid has put immense pressure on CIOs to cut costs. Microsoft, AWS & Google all recommend a cloud centre of excellence for an effective cloud journey. Based on experience at an organization with 30,000 employees and 44 business divisions this series of videos shows how to create and scale a practical cloud centre of excellence. A cloud centre of excellence establishes a team that provides leadership, best practices, research, support and training for your successful cloud journey. 7 short videos

6 Signs That the Future of Work Is Here Today
6 Signs That the Future of Work Is Here Today 150 150 CloudGovCo

This article is originally posted on

“A great overview by Gigster CEO Chris Keene on how the gig economy is transforming work in the enterprise by making it more customer-centric and high performance. Don’t miss the stories of companies actually doing this.”  Dion Hintchcliffe, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

As software continues to eat the world, companies must find ways to build more innovative teams. For these companies, The Future of Work is here today. How companies reshape the way they engage digital talent will have a huge impact on their ability to innovate. Here are six ways digital leaders are creating The Future of Work now.

  1. Remote workers and work from home teams are the new normal

The best talent is not always located where you are. Even within a company, silos can prevent the right people from working on the most critical innovation projects. Making it possible for team members to work remotely is the only way to liberate talent across the company. This is also the only way to source critical skill gaps that are not available inside the company, like AI/ML engineers. Supporting distributed teams calls for adopting a common set of processes and collaboration tools, including Slack, Github and Jira.

  1. Hybrid teams beat monoculture teams

Innovation requires a diverse mix of talent. The most innovative teams blend in-house employees who have industry context with expert global talent who have advanced technical skills. This is the opposite of the traditional systems integration model that outsources innovation. Hybrid teams also have the value of helping companies build in-house skills by working side by side with expert freelance talent.

  1. Elastic Staffing beats fixed staffing

Many companies adopt agile team processes but staff teams inefficiently — they follow a fixed staffing model that allocates each role as a full-time position for the duration of a project.  This is only half agile. Because it makes experimentation too expensive to try, and reduces employee mobility and satisfaction. Compare this to Elastic Staffing, which allocates resources based on the workload for each project phase. For example, developers can join a project after the detailed design is complete, and technical architects may only be needed part time. Elastic Staffing can reduce the total hours to deliver innovative products by over 50%.

  1. Employees want to be treated more like freelancers

Top employees want the freedom and flexibility to choose how they work and what they work on. This doesn’t have to require radical organizational changes. For example, applying the Google 20% rule, where workers can choose their own projects 20% of the time, can boost morale and build skills. This lets more senior employees peer review deliverables from other projects to reduce risk. It also helps more junior employees grow by being exposed to new business and technology challenges.

  1. Freelancers want to be treated more like employees

Top freelancers want stability and work benefits without sacrificing their flexibility. Companies that learn how to work effectively with freelancers will have their pick of the best global talent. This includes setting up projects for success with distributed teams, incorporating advanced technologies, and providing predictability for freelancers that helps them  plan effectively. In California, laws like AB5 are beginning to mandate providing more benefits for freelance workers, and putting them more on par with the benefits that full-time employees receive.

  1. Automated team and talent assessments are here

Technology will ultimately reshape jobs, but today, technology is reshaping talent ratings. Every collaborative tool – from Slack, to Jira, to Github – has open APIs that can automatically collect data about the productivity and quality of work being produced by people and teams. Tools like Pinpoint can collect this data. Applying analytics to this data enables the creation of “karma scores” by person and by team, to provide objective and trusted evaluation of skills.

Examples of The Future of Work today

A global telco created hybrid teams that mix in-house staff with top global experts to accelerate their machine learning and predictive analytics initiatives. They manage these distributed teams following Silicon Valley best practices and have been able to deliver new applications that leverage AI up to twice as fast as traditional in-house development teams.

One of the world’s largest digital agencies created an entirely new digital transformation business unit using hybrid teams that blend employees and global freelance talent. This approach enabled them to onboard over 100 engineers in less than six months, with minimal recruiting costs.


The Future of Work describes a cultural shift that companies must adopt to grow their innovation capacity. The pace of those changes is accelerating as more companies adopt new work from home rules that support remote workers. Companies that embrace a Silicon Valley-style culture of innovation can become more customer-centered, more able to tap new talent pools, and to dramatically reduce risk.

Author Bio:

Chris Keene

As CEO, Chris drives Gigster’s vision to de-risk digital innovation. Chris was previously VP Cloud for VMware, where he led the $400 million Pivotal spinout. Chris also founded and took public Persistence Software (NASDAQ:PRSW)

Adopt a Cloud Centre of Excellence
Adopt a Cloud Centre of Excellence 150 150 CloudGovCo

The #Cloud is more complex than IT on premises. Employees must be more knowledgeable and skilled.

Learn how to setup a cloud centre of excellence (CCoE) to manage a knowledge-base and assist your organization in maturing its cloud capabilities. A CCoE defines a common set of best practices and work standards. It assesses your organization’s maturity profile against these best practices and work standards. It provides guidance and support, tools and templates and training in implementing these best practices and work standards.

Without a CCoE cloud adoption will be haphazard, uncoordinated, slow, and will not deliver long-term benefits or digital transformation. Think of a CCoE as a type of portfolio management for assigning human and budget resources to cloud development.

Why the Cloud
Why the Cloud 150 150 CloudGovCo

I thought I would say a bit more about consulting in the context of cloud, since cloud is central to business transformation these days.

The reason cloud is so important is as follows.

* Usage-based cost. Originally cloud was sold as being cheaper. This may or may not be the case, primarily because people tend to load it up with new features. However, usage-based pricing exposes the true cost of IT and allows direct cost charge back to business units.

* Time to launch/market. You can launch a server or a solution in the cloud in less than 15 minutes. Doing this internally on premises could easily take 6 months due to procurement and other issues. This drives innovation, startups, etc., and is also less cost to implement.

* Durability. Data is guaranteed to be 99.9999999999% durable.

* Availability. Data is available 99.9999% uptime.

* Resilience. In basic SLA data is replicated across two availability zones. You can pay more and have it replicated across regions.

* Scaling. Cloud services can automatically scale up and down as your user load changes. On premises you would have to over provision for the highest anticipated workload — at higher cost.

* Content Delivery Networks. Clouds have CDN so data is cached close to the consumer. This is important if you have clusters of users around the world.

* Midlife renewal. There is no midlife cost on the cloud. Technology is constantly upgraded as part of the service. On premises you have to budget for midlife renewal of servers.

* Patching. Security patches are constantly and automatically applied to cloud services. Often, on premises, patching is poorly maintained.