The Star Wars movies aren’t the only media source from which IT management can glean key lessons regarding Windows 7 migration, adoption, management, and use. Here’s some other management lessons from authoritative science fiction books and movies, as well as comic books. You’ll find the sources and inspirations listed at the end.
1. It’s the Law(s)
Operating systems should embody and implement ethical behavior:
- An operating system will not mung its user’s activities, nor through inaction, allow its user’s e-mail, Tweets, Facebook page, or other activities to be munged.
- An operating system will obey any clicks and gestures given it by users – and maybe command-line/shell input, if there aren’t any syntax errors — except where such orders would conflict with the First Law, or cause a Blue Screen of Death.
- An operating system must protect itself, including its Registry. If this conflicts with the First or Second Law, tough.
2. Sufficiently-advanced operating systems…
Sufficiently advanced operating systems are indistinguishable from OS/2 or BeOS. No, that’s not right. Ummm, they do what we meant, not what we said or what they feel like doing. No, that’s not it, either. Maybe “sufficiently advanced operating systems don’t make us long for older operating systems.”
3. 90% of all operating systems…
“… are <not as good as we’d like>.” Don’t over-worry about complaints; no OS will please all the users all the time.
4. “With a great operating system comes…”
A. More power to for users to screw things up massively.
B. Fewer easy opportunities for users to screw things up massively.
C. New errors to decipher.
D. Wacky opponents.
E. All of the above.
5. Windows 7 is not a gom jabbar test.
Possibly because UAC has been throttled down. But be ready for some users to scream, yell, back away from the keyboard, etc.
6. Be smarter than Star Fleet.
The time to migrate your production systems to a new OS is not just before entering battle, a new planet or dimension, encountering a new alien race — or beginning your company’s busy season. Especially with a technology you haven’t tested thoroughly yet.
7. Don’t make a hobbit of it.
If you’re trying to keep trials of a new OS quiet, don’t use it in a crowded bar or other public venue — unless your buddies are ready to jump up on the tables and start singing and dancing as a distraction.
8. Watch out for the Mule, fool.
As the followers of psycho-historian Hari Seldon found out, long-term plans don’t always stay accurate, especially when unpredicted events happen.
9. “It’s important — but I can’t/won’t tell you yet…”
Learn this lesson from the Harry Potter books: If you do have a long-term strategy — like, say, migrating all Windows users to Windows 7 within the next year — or are otherwise working toward some long-term end, don’t keep key players in the dark. And certainly don’t keep telling your people, “There’s something important you need to know, but I’m not yet ready to tell you yet.” The odds are that you won’t be eaten by some Mystical Big Bad before you do clue your staff in… but why take that chance?
10. You’re no Tony Stark.
Are you ready to test Windows 7? We recommend that you be somewhere that won’t, if something goes wrong, ruin your fancy sports cars, your production servers and storage, or whatever. Not to mention: Have a parachute or the equivalent, in case your Windows 7 test system runs out of gas while you’re one mile up.
11. Caution: Merging multiverses ahead!
When DC Comics mixes and matches characters from Earth-1, Earth-2, and so on, e.g., having Jay Garrick quasi-contemporaneous with Barry Allen and Wally West, while Krypto is now from a fake Krypton (you can look it up)… you may want to be more structured in deploying a new OS. You probably don’t want a group where people have different, conflicting origins — I mean, versions.
12. Be sure you’re testing on a test system.
Learn a lesson from War Games: Be sure that the computer you’re playing with isn’t connected to live, operational stuff. Yeah, your company’s not too likely to be in control of nuclear missiles, but just the same, pay attention.
13. Resistance is not futile; it’s human.
Yesterday’s change is today’s comfort zone. Be ready for some users to try to stick with what they had — or try to do what they’d been doing even though it now doesn’t work. Be patient. Distribute comfort foods.
What else? Add your own suggestions in the comments.
1. Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics
2. Arthur C. Clarke, “Sufficiently-advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
3. (Theodore) Sturgeon’s Law: “90% of science fiction is crap. 90% of everything is crap.”
4. Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man, in his first appearance in the August 1962 issue of Amazing Fantasy #15 (the comic book, not the movie)
5. Dune, by Frank Herbert
6. As done in way too many episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, especially when Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) and Commander Data (Brent Spiner) weren’t watched closely enough
7. As Frodo did in The Prancing Pony, in The Fellowship of the Ring
8. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy
9. One or more Harry Potter books
10. IRON MAN (the movie)
11. DC Comics “Infinite Crisis” and other sagas. Ask a comic geek friend, but be prepared for serious eye-glazing over.
12. War Games, the 1983 movie starring a then-teenaged Matthew Broderick
13. The cry of the Borg, in Star Trek