Production Support is Expensive

We’ll keep this short. I spent a year of my life building and leading production support teams in a Fortune 125 company. Trust me. Software production support is expensive. I’ll prove it in a future series, but I’m learning that an extremely small number of people understand this. That includes clients, management, vendors, even developers. For all that is good and holy, PLEASE use sound development practices, test your software and by all means, educate your business partners on why time and budget should be spent up front before having to triple your development costs post-deployment. When busted software costs your company money and in some worst cases lives, my point will be quite evident.

Music Monday – Switchfoot

So tonight I’m going out with some swell dudes to see Switchfoot play at The Pageant here in St. Louis. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Switchfoot, much less taken a good listen to their music. So, in trying to catch myself up and find something to share today, I ran across their Switchfoot TV series on YouTube. Having been there & done that, it’s always fun to see what bands do behind the scenes before, after, during shows and on the road. Enjoy.

Thunk Thursday – Power to the People

We have little power over people’s desire to succeed.

The above quote is from an article I read recently on the topic of usability/interaction design. It rebuked us as designers for “dumbing down” interfaces to the lowest common denominator. And I think there are so many areas of life that need this same rebuke.

Recently, President Obama referred to the struggles over the Healthcare Reform Bill as a failure on his part and that he “didn’t explain it well enough.” Without taking sides, that’s a pretty condescending thing to say. Early in his campaign, he suggested we should “spread the wealth around a little” with the intent to provide more opportunities. We’ll come back to this statement in a moment.

Churches are guilty, too. We encourage surface-level programs and events to appeal to people hoping to draw them to Christ or to serve the Church. We wonder why our giving isn’t up to expand our facilities, when we don’t have the growth to warrant it. We schedule prayer time. We script our worship services. We just do things that way because that’s the way we’ve always done it.

In the business world, we implement process upon process to prevent failure. We trust no one. Management belittles the staff while the staff, well, we’ll just not talk about what the staff thinks of management.

We have dumbed everything down so much that personal responsibility just doesn’t exist. This is exactly from where entitlement comes. You need to explain it better, it’s not my problem that I don’t understand. You could single handedly wipe out my debt, or even the debt of a small country, so you should give. You need to help me understand Jesus. You need to train my children. If we just did things my way, this company would be thriving.

Every bit of this is done with success in mind. Is it working? Quite obviously, it is not.

Mr. Obama, I agree that healthcare needs to be reformed. I agree that the poor need assistance (it’s Biblical). Church, I agree that prayer and spiritual growth are key. Business owner, I agree that predictable results are extremely important. What I don’t agree with is controlling the paths via which these things are achieved. That’s whether it’s via taxing the rich, scheduling prayer time or firing people that don’t turn in their TPS reports on time.

In the book of Acts, no one had need because the people voluntarily sold their possessions and gave. They had a passion and heart (led by the Holy Spirit) to give. Prayer was a way of life, not a scheduled event (not counting Old Testament Jewish custom). Today, the most successful businesses are a result of a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Teach them, train them, and let them succeed. And in the process, if you let them, they’ll teach you a thing or two as well.

The answer is not to obligate people to give, pray or work. That’s only a little arrogant and condescending. As quoted above from the same article, the answer is to teach and train others. Empower them to take responsibility for their own actions. Lead by example. You can’t change the heart via brute force. That can only come from within.

Wisdom Wednesday – Mark 12:28-31

This year, one of my resolutions was to try, once again, to read through the Bible in a year. I’ve chosen the M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan and am tracking progress using‘s awesome (albeit buggy) tools. I chose this plan for several reasons including the fact that it does include every word (some plans skip over genealogy texts, etc) and was developed by Good News Publishers and Crossway, who publish my new favorite Bible translation, the English Standard Version. This portion of my attempt at daily posts will likely spawn from this reading plan and, unless otherwise noted, all texts will be from the ESV translation. Let’s begin.

28And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, Which commandment is the most important of all? 29Jesus answered, The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.

A week or so ago, I posted the video below to Twitter and Facebook. DC Curry, from Granger Community Church, brings the heat with a goosebump-inducing analysis of the most well-known verse in the Bible, John 3:16. As he so eloquently states, it ALL boils down to love. For God LOVED!

And so, in the same way, the single greatest commandments also boil down to love. Love God. Love others. It’s as simple as that. Nothing else pleases God more, or is more important than, love. Of course, we all have different definitions of love (as does the Bible), but we’ll review those some other time.

For now, simply ask yourself. Are you putting anything else in front of loving God? After Him, loving others? I am. I love myself. I love money. I love gadgets and toys. It is my prayer that together, we can learn to love in the order we’ve been commanded.

Music Monday – The Model Congress

Continuing the theme of ridiculously talented musicians, my good friend Thomas Mueller and his wife Sarah front The Model Congress, a newish band from Kansas City getting ready to take over the world. Listen for yourself and see what you think.

You can find The Model Congress on Facebook, Myspace, Youtube, and Twitter. Their EP is available via Amazon or iTunes.

Want something even better? They even have their own iPhone app!