Another New Leaf
from Dan’s New Role . . .
And note the date!
Another one of those Dan’s New Leaf Posts, meant to inspire thought about IT Governance . . . .
Once again, I am turning over a new leaf.
Those who have not been following this blog for its full fourteen-year history might not realize the reason we call it Dan’s New Leaf. Twice now, I publicly vowed to start writing a new article, meant to inspire thought about IT Governance, once a week.
Once a week.
That has never materialized.
But I’m declaring it, again, anyway.
Yes, this is a Dan’s New Leaf article about Dan’s new, new leaf!
Sounds like a song!
And, I admit, I purposely post this new leaf article about Dan’s New Leaf on April 1! That way, this time, if I fail to follow through on my new leaf again, I can jokingly claim it was an April fools day joke.
But way back in 2009, I started this blog series on the infotex website, naming it Dan’s New Leaf, because I decided I was going to start blogging once a week.
And I failed.
Since I was ten, I believed that had Thomas Edison been afraid to fail, we would all be living in darkness. But he tried thousands of times, and we now haver lightbulbs. I have only tried to write weekly about two times since founding infotex. But each time I failed, I learned something.
Now that my new role is “Speak, Write, and Coach,” I want to make this weekly goal a reality. Given that I’ve already failed at this twice, I’m not so arrogant to believe 100% in this next approach. But the reasons for my past failures – short range travel, children, auditing – has been replaced – by long range travel and a goal tracking system that allows me to work on articles when I would normally be writing reports or driving. (Not to mention we have doubled the size of our company the past eight years).
But the real reason for the failure had nothing to do with time management. It had more to do with the way we were thinking. Sometimes false evidence appears real. We tricked ourself into the belief that since I would never be able to write weekly, we should stop trying to write weekly. And the primary reason behind our delusion was fear – we were afraid of the risks that would arise if Dan wrote “on the fly,” which was the process we had to invoke back in 2009.
So when I changed my role, we asked, “why have I been failing to produce these articles?” If you know me, I immediately focused on the process . . . that’s what could change. The serenity prayer applied to business systems: accept the things you cannot change, and the responsibility to change the things you can!
Keep in mind that, due to my propensity to write quickly and sometimes potentially poorly, there are at least two people involved in producing these posts. An SSE, is what we call the first step. SSE stands for “second set of eyes.” It’s your standard “proof” process. But we then also invite a different team member to both oppugn and bowdlerize the post, as a “functional test,” for risk mitigation purposes.
I know, you’re wondering, “what?” I purposely chose two weird words to describe two steps in the process. (Naming things – I plan to write about this in a future post.).
Oppugn and Bowdlerize are two home-made “risk mitigation controls” (functional test controls) that will help us feel safer about Dan writing “on the fly.” Oppugn is an act of criticism meant to prove something incorrect. Bowdlerize is an act of modifying a work to remove offensive or inappropriate content.
But like all risk mitigators, functional testing takes time, even if it is fun to oppugn and bowdlerize Dan! And misspelled or offensive words are not the only risks. Take the risk that, when I do get involved in helping Clients, I could miss a week here or there. Not if I write a few articles in advance, to have handy when I come up short. Mitigating controls, right? It’s why I happen to know that a future article is going to be about naming things, like functional tests. And why using weird words, like oppugn and bowdlerize, helps.
We can’t be afraid to fail. Especially when it comes to testing our systems. Even seemingly minor systems, like a weekly blog post. And the black swan should be identified and visualized. The black swan to this new leaf is a missed week. But the Client must always stay top priority, even if it makes me look bad in public. And thanks to Michael Hartke and our team, a review of our process and time management tricks, and risk management, I am in a great place to turn over the new leaf one last time.
Risk mitigation will turn a fear into a false evidence appearing real.
So here we go – it’s Dan’s New Leaf – I have seven days to write another article!
“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” – Henry Ford
Original article by Dan Hadaway CRISC CISA CISM. Founder and Managing Partner, infotex
“Dans New Leaf” is a “fun blog to inspire thought in the area of IT Governance.”