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Management-as-a-Service: The Mythical Man-Month
By Steven Brown

Management-as-a-Service must address one of the most important aspects of Information Technology Infrastructure Logistics which is managing the resources of a given workload, be it project management for business application development, business application enhancements and maintenance, and business services workload management and administration.

You may have heard of the 80/20 rule. It can be illustrated … as 80% of the workload takes 20% of the expended time while the other 20% requires 80% of the expended time. Or in Information Technology 80% of an application development project life-cycle requires 20% of the allocated resources while the other 20% requires 80% of the allocated resources. The 80/20 rule is even applied to computer processing workloads where 80% of the processing workload will take 20% of scheduled processing time while the other 20% will take 80% of the scheduled processing time. In the book “Mythical Man-Month” these cases are untrue of course because the 80/20 rule is only relatively accurate if your resources are used at 65% of total capacity. Once 65% of total capacity is exceeded then workloads begin to be impacted by pent-up latent demand for specific resources of the total given capacity, be it IT technologists, IT developers, IT integrators or computer processing capacity.

This pent-up latent demand cannot be measured because you are out of capacity for a specific resource of your total overall capacity be it technologist skills, developer skills, integrator skills or computer processor, memory, network (switches, routers, brouters, etc.), and/or external storage (i/o buses, i/o adapters, i/o switches, disk volumes or luns, tape storage devices and media, direct attached printers, network attached printers, or wireless printers, cloud active information technology services, etc.). Thus from an information technology viewpoint we can typically only hope to be able to accomplish 80% of the most important part of the entire workload with approximately 6% of the most skilled IT talent with access to 80% of the computer processing capacity at any given point-in-time. This leaves the rest of the workload to be performed by the other 94% of available IT talent for the outstanding workload which may be 80% of the workload or more using what is left of 20% of the computer processing capacity.

In this given case only two things can happen of which both endanger the successful completion of the workload or project. Either the 6% of the most skilled talent must work far beyond normal capacity and/or the time-line for the workload must be adjusted repetitively because of pent-up latent demand. The solution to the problem is to add additional capacity for the specific talent and skill sets, addition of time-line hours (finite at 24 hours per day), and/or computer processing configuration resources all of which will hopefully address the pent-up latent demand.

To provide additional resources the best talent of the lower 94% of the IT talent pool resources may be elevated by mentoring and training them to the level of the elite 6% of IT talent. Or additional highly talented IT skilled resources may be added to the existing pool of resources. Upgrading existing computer processing configurations will usually also be required to support the additional overhead of this new IT talent and skilled resources. When new resources and skill sets are added to existing resources you will recognize the need for lead time to adjust to the new dynamics of the environment. Either way this will cause an additional outlay of capital and time for the period of adjustment before the additional capacity can be realized.

Managing the computer processing resource capacity becomes critical when prioritizing projected resource requirements for computer processing capacity. Offerings such as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) must provide for this workload management and administration. Integration of these services are critical to the successful allocation of all resources at the desired time for the desired effect.

Finally, you have to begin, again, the entire process of determining if or when you may exceed 65% of your total overall capacity and re-evaluate it for reconfiguring your talent pool and/or computer processing configuration resources.

Steven Brown has thirty-five years of experience in Information Technology Delivery Services. He has worked for several Fortune 500 companies, including IBM, HP, and Oracle. You can read more from Steven on his blog.

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