Thursday, March 12, 2009

Repeatable Process Worth the Effort

So, I might be stating the obivous here, but taking the time to create, develop and review a process to get a task done is always going to provide benefits, make things more efficient and produce better results. Take for instance, upgrading databases or applying patches that is something that will consistentantly be part of the life of a DBA. What if the deadline to get the upgrade done very quickly and there was a need to show results as soon as possible. So, is it showing results by developing a process, and putting together a test plan?
Isn't that some of the problems we have when faced with deadlines? We might have to upgrade a database much quicker then planned so the steps or a test plan may not be documented as needed. Then if wanting to handover the upgrade to another team member or team for patching in production, there is time wasted "guessing" what was done in the test environment because there wasn't time to at least document the steps or create the process.
Even if there are only a couple of databases this time around, there will be future upgrades and patches to be applied. A repeatable process, a plan that is documented can go a long way for current and future tasks.
With the IOUG Security Patching survey results, I have been ask recently about what it takes to get the patches out there, what are some best practices. My thought is a repeatable process. We can collect best practices on upgrades, adapt them for our environments, create test plans around the applications and other pieces of our environment, throw in a little bit of documentation and then before we know it, a repeatable process. The trick here is to setup this process the first time around while not putting the deadlines at jeopardy. Honestly it might take working more hours in a day, but not having to go through the whole effort each time will be well worth it.

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