Nov 28, 2009

ExplodingPCIt’s been several years since most businesses took on a big project like moving to Windows 7. It may be helpful to compare the adoption process to other huge endeavors. Such as, say, the Death Star Project. Or if not helpful, it’s at least fun.

IT Expert Voice can give you plenty of pragmatic advice about how to run a Windows 7 pilot and tools to help you change OSs, but hey, who wants to be practical? Instead, see what you can learn from the effort to build the Star Wars death star, a test-and-deploy project that took even longer than your most frightening worst-case scenario for rolling out Windows 7 in your large enterprise.

Here’s a few lessons to learn:

  1. The project always takes longer to get started than you expect. The Emperor started the Death Star project at the end of Episode 3 (Revenge of the Sith), and he probably had more political clout than you do.
  2. The longer the project, the more endless meetings you must endure. You may have to get buy-in from other departments. Its leadership may have differing priorities from those that the IT department sets.Be patient, or you may find that someone else wants to cut off your air supply. Does this sound suspiciously like your last staff meeting?

    VADER: I find your lack of faith disturbing.

    TARKIN: Enough of this! Vader, release him!

    VADER: As you wish.

    TARKIN: This bickering is pointless.

  3. Always test the project before deployment. Choose a department that doesn’t cause trouble, that has few troublemakers, which is out of the way. Like, say, Alderaan.

    TARKIN: Princess Leia, before your execution I would like you to be my guest at a ceremony that will make this battle station operational. No star system will dare oppose the Emperor now.

    LEIA: The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

    TARKIN: Not after we demonstrate the power of this station. In a way, you have determined the choice of the planet that’ll be destroyed
    first. Since you are reluctant to provide us with the location of the Rebel base, I have chosen to test this station’s destructive power…
    on your home planet of Alderaan.

    LEIA: No! Alderaan is peaceful. We have no weapons. You can’t possibly…

    TARKIN: You would prefer another target? A military target? Then name the system!

  4. Proceed at a reasonable pace. Don’t try to do too much at once. Otherwise, senior management may decide that the way to get the project back on track is to bring in an outside consultant. Yours may make Darth Vader seem like a pussycat.

    VADER: You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I’m here to put you back on schedule.

    The commander turns ashen and begins to shake.

    JERJERROD: I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can.

    VADER: Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.

  5. death star explosion

  6. Do not discount the user community. If you don’t get all your people to buy into management’s vision for the new technology, and to understand how their lives will be improved, they may become destructive to the project goals. (Need we explain?)

Surely there are other lessons to be learned here? Please suggest some that I missed!

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