DOP 47: Technology Isn't the Problem. You Are the Problem.

Posted on Wednesday, Mar 18, 2020

Show Notes

#47: You want to do the right thing for your clients, but you can’t because your manager won’t let you. What kind of excuse is that? Are you a 3 year old? In this episode, we go deep into why it’s up to you, not someone else, to make the right decision when your role starts getting hard.


Darin Pope

Darin Pope

Darin Pope is a developer advocate for CloudBees.

Viktor Farcic

Viktor Farcic

Viktor Farcic is a member of the Google Developer Experts and Docker Captains groups, and published author.

His big passions are DevOps, Containers, Kubernetes, Microservices, Continuous Integration, Delivery and Deployment (CI/CD) and Test-Driven Development (TDD).

He often speaks at community gatherings and conferences (latest can be found here).

He has published The DevOps Toolkit Series, DevOps Paradox and Test-Driven Java Development.

His random thoughts and tutorials can be found in his blog

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Darin Pope 0:00
This is episode number 47 of DevOps Paradox with Darin Pope and Viktor Farcic. I am Darin

Viktor Farcic 0:05
and I am Viktor.

Darin Pope 0:07
And today, we are going to stay on a theme that we've been discussing recently about how to make your should we say to simplify because this is a hard subject that nobody wants to do. Everybody wants Okay, so let's say what the the the easy thing is and what most people do. We're going to talk about making infrastructure provisioning, and management of that infrastructure easy for your clients. So that way, you're out in the middle of it, if you're an ops person. Said differently, no more JIRA tickets. No more, no more ServiceNow tickets or fill in the blank tickets.

Viktor Farcic 0:48
That's it. We said it all. What's the next subject?

Darin Pope 0:53
Okay. All right. Well, we touched on it, right. We've touched. We've talked about the Kube API. Right is a good idea.

Viktor Farcic 0:59
But you know, it's it's one of those things that to me, it's a ridiculous that in this day and age, we even have to talk about it. It's really ridiculous. Because we already have all the technology we need for a very long time, right? You have virtual machines, that's why you have them so that people can spin them up easy. We have OpenStack assuming that we're talking about on prem, right? We have OpenStack. It allows you to build AWS like experience. And now we have Kubernetes. So technology is here today, and it was here yesterday, and it was here 10 years ago. So the only thing that comes to my mind is that you are the problem. It's not technology. It's you, dear listener, in charge of infrastructure. Why don't you let people use your infrastructure as a service? You cannot hide behind technology because technology has already solved the problem.

Darin Pope 1:56
Okay. I'm going to push back a second. I don't think it's necessarily it may be, and probably a large percentage is, but it may not be the people listening right now. It may be management.

Viktor Farcic 2:11
Yes, it may be management. I agree. So when I said dear listener, it might not be you really, it's dear whomever makes silly decisions. Stop making silly decisions.

Darin Pope 2:24
Okay, let's talk about those different silly decision makers. Management is one that's probably not the big one. Security is probably we're gonna dump on security. But in reality. I don't think they care as long as it's auditable.

Viktor Farcic 2:41
Yes. Now, the problem is will that people who that person that cares that it's auditable, will that person do the work? Or will it make everybody's life miserable because it's very easy to make everything auditable. Say Okay, whenever you want to do something open, and I'm going back to the beginning of the discussion, open seven JIRA tickets provide give me logs, prove to me that this is safe. And that's laziness. So just if you want to make it auditable, then you do it. The person who needs to make it auditable do it. Don't expect others to do the work for you.

Darin Pope 3:25
Well, I don't know how to do it. So somebody else has to do it for me. I'm just sitting here in the top of my tower and saying what has to be done.

Viktor Farcic 3:33
Exactly. And that's easy. I mean, heck, if anybody has a job offer for me to do nothing I would and you're willing to pay me a lot of money, I will gladly accept it. Because I can do other stuff in during working hours, then, right?

Darin Pope 3:51
Point taken. But that's the point. Right? If people are unwilling to do the work Here's where I think part of the problem is. They're not willing to take it as an experimental mindset to see what they can do. They think, Oh, I have to come up with the final solution, day one. And there is no final solution.

Viktor Farcic 4:14
First, there is no final solution. Second, as I said, people not willing to do the work. Third, people might not know how to do the work. And now comes the fourth and the most important part, it's very convenient to dump responsibility and the risk to others. Because if I'm in charge of security, and then and then I say, you need to prove to me that you're secure through means that you will never understand and in a way that you will never be able to accomplish, then actually I'm passing the responsibility to you. The same thing like with infrastructure, right? If, if I'm hiding behind some JIRA tickets and some processes and stuff like that, basically I'm passing the responsibility to others to make things. So when things fail, I can say, Oh no, it was Darin who actually messed it up. He has no idea what he's doing because I never taught him security. But it's his fault. It's not mine. I'm just here auditing the stuff.

Darin Pope 5:14
The one word you said in your fourth point there was key. You said dump.

Viktor Farcic 5:21

Darin Pope 5:21
You did not say delegate. If you've never, if you're listening today, and you're thinking, well, what's the difference between dumping and delegating? Viktor, how would you define the difference?

Viktor Farcic 5:32
Delegating is great. I love when people delegate to me. That means that they give me the responsibility and the means to do things and I like doing stuff. Now, most of the people even when they say I'm delegating, they're not delegating, right? But in my head, delegating means I'm giving you everything you need to do this stuff, and it's your responsibility. I will not design it for you and then you suffer through my design. No no no, it's your stuff, go.

Darin Pope 6:05
or they've delegated and they've said, hey, I've given you everything you need, you get into it and realize I don't have everything I need. So you can go back to that person. In a dumping situation you couldn't go back.

Viktor Farcic 6:18
It's just kind of like, here's the box of the stuff with the stuff that I don't want. make sense of it.

Darin Pope 6:26
Well, it's like the Apollo mission. Yeah, go create a scrubber with what you have in the box, and nothing else. That's dumping. Now fortunately, those guys were really smart. Could you imagine making an air scrubber out of duct tape and some filters? It's amazing. That's a different conversation. So if you are still stuck today and I'm bashing on JIRA, not in a bad way, but that's what I see most people using. If you're stuck in JIRA land, and you're having to process JIRA tickets to spin up a new VM and you are willing, and you are capable of doing the work to make it self service. But management does not want you to do it.

Viktor Farcic 7:14
I don't buy that thing about management don't want you to do it. I really don't buy that thing. I think it's a very poor excuse for everybody else to jump onto the train. It's kind of like, it's an excuse, oh, I would really like to do it well, but management doesn't let me do it. I mean, heck, just kind of like say no to management, do it anyway. And if it goes somewhere else, we cannot continue using management as excuse. We know that management, average management not everywhere, doesn't know what they're doing right. And they would be happy if you would actually most of the managers would be happy if you would help them accomplish their objective which is save money and earn more and all those things that management has. So it's a management is a very poor excuse for us not to do the work. There we go. So it's not management.

Darin Pope 8:08
That's but that's who I report to. That's who makes signs off my time cards. I have to do what I'm told.

Viktor Farcic 8:16
You don't. You're a skilled worker. You're not a factory worker. You don't have to do what you're told. You have to do the best thing you can. And it's partly if you prove management wrong, I mean, if you if you help a manager accomplish his objectives, in ways that he didn't tell you how to do that, that manager will be happy always.

Darin Pope 8:43
But he always wants things done his way.

Viktor Farcic 8:46
Because he because you're playing that game because he wants you his way because you're telling him that you don't know what is your way. You're waiting for instructions. And then of course, he's going to give you the instructions He's like, it's like having a five year old kid, right? It's, it's waiting for instruction how to go across the street. So I need to accompany the kid. Now, if that kid grows up, then I will not do that anymore. I'm not saying that management is not to be blamed. There is a lot of blame to pass around management, generally speaking, but they cannot be excuse for the rest of us doing [expletive] work.

Darin Pope 9:27
Okay, so if you're listening along, and you're saying, What is wrong with Darin,? okay, there's many things strange with me, I'll leave it that way. But I'm pushing this point a lot, because I see this on a weekly basis wherever I go. I can't do it this way because this is how we do things here. If you don't like it, leave,

Viktor Farcic 9:51
Before you leave, try to change before you leave, try to change try to do it the right way. And then if you get burned, if you if somebody hits you in your head. If they make you unconscious, then you leave. It's like a bad marriage right? You to try to improve it first and then you divorce.

Darin Pope 10:09
Most people don't do that middle step. They don't try to improve at first. They just bail too quick. So that's that was that was me. I was saying bail quick. But you're saying which is actually the better solution, like, Okay, what can we do? How do we make it work? And then if we can't make it work? Sorry, we need to part ways.

Viktor Farcic 10:28
Exactly. It's your personal responsibility. Because if you want to improve your career, you want your skills to be valuable in the market, then do the right thing. You will learn something and in the worst case scenario, you will go somewhere else with that knowledge. That's a worst case scenario.

Darin Pope 10:46
That might actually be a very large leap there, Viktor. What if people don't want to improve? Then why are you listening to us? That's probably the question.

Viktor Farcic 10:58
Then those stop complaining. First of all why are you listening to us because this is obviously the podcast where we trash people like that. Second, yeah, if you don't want to improve, that's okay. But stop I was about to say bitching, but that could be explicit. Stop complaining.

Darin Pope 11:17
Stop complaining.

Viktor Farcic 11:18
Stop complaining exactly, just do just do the work. Do what you're told. That's fine and I have abs.. actually I respect that. I respect people capable of doing nine to five kind of, you know, get to the office do the work and then completely forget about it as if it never existed until the next day. I respect that that's that's actually probably more normal than than being freak like me and working 24/7. So I have no problem with that. Then when when we talk about those things, stop complaining, They're doing they're telling me to do this. They're telling me to do that. You accepted that you're going to do what you're told and do what you're told and stop complaining. That's That's it. Like The other day I was in a financial financial institution, which I'm not going to mention. And I talked to them and I tell them this and that and they can. Only if we could do this here. We're not allowed to install Docker. Again, what can I say? What can I say to make them feel better except go somewhere else or fix this thing? or do something? I don't know. But stop complaining.

Darin Pope 12:26
I would still say, even in that scenario, I'm gonna play yours out for a second. We cannot install Docker. But I bet they have some sort of VMs there. They probably got ESX running. So they could automate what they do have if they want it.

Viktor Farcic 12:47
Yeah, as I said, it's a poor excuse. Just it's convenient actually to blame others. I think that does the critic critical thing. It's very convenient to blame others professionally, in marriage, in political situation, and so on and so forth. So that's the easiest thing.

Darin Pope 13:09
It's a victim mentality.

Viktor Farcic 13:11
Exactly. You know, it's easy. That's why we blame immigrants for everything that happens in this world. That's why we blame Corona virus for for whatever financial repercussions we are having right now. That's why we blame stuff because it's so easy and so convenient. I mean, sorry, blame stuff, blame people blame things.

Darin Pope 13:31
You also said something that you have I don't remember the word you used, but for the nine to five workers, to where they can show up, do the job and leave?

Viktor Farcic 13:42

Darin Pope 13:43
Those are the factory workers.

Viktor Farcic 13:45

Darin Pope 13:46
Right? That's the factory workers and I think if you look at the standard Industrial Revolution factory, it initially started out high manual, and then some automation started getting into place but it's never fully automated. There are still factory workers in some way, shape or form?

Viktor Farcic 14:02

Darin Pope 14:03
So I think for an organization to be how can I say it? Potentially? I'm not going to say long term, but to where they're viable, having a mix of both is important.

Viktor Farcic 14:19
Yeah, as long as you know that one of those two groups is going to slowly go away somewhere else. I mean, if you're using factory as analogy, then what is happening with factory workers last 15 years? How many of them percentage wise are still in US, just to pick a country. But so kind of like, if you're, if you accept that you want to be treated as a factory worker, then you need to understand all the benefits and all the problems that that brings. And one of the problems is that you're likely going to be kicked out. Because there is no space for factory workers in expensive countries. Let's put it that way. So there is a lot of jobs for factory workers. I'm just questioning whether whether you live in one of those countries where that is the desired profession.

Darin Pope 15:12
So that gets us to the point of either you need to shut up and be happy

Viktor Farcic 15:19
as long as that lasts

Darin Pope 15:20
as long as I shut up and stop complaining for as long as that lasts or you have to re-skill yourself or you have to retire.

Viktor Farcic 15:28

Darin Pope 15:29
because the existing business landscape over the next few years is not going to go back to fully manual processes ever. No matter where you're at.

Viktor Farcic 15:43
Every year the skill set required is getting bigger and bigger, more complicated, more complex. It's not getting easier, and it will not get easier.

Darin Pope 15:55
Which is fine. Right? As long as you don't have your head in the sand

Viktor Farcic 16:00
I mean, that's why we are paid better than than most others. Right? Because the skill set required is relatively high.

Darin Pope 16:08
And the Yeah, it is that. But I think it's even more than that. It's not so much the skill sets, even though that's the end thing. It's the ability to learn. I could take somebody and you know, let them go and learn something, and then it may or may not be a highly, highly skilled thing. In the US, the trades are a big deal.

Viktor Farcic 16:32
But you proved you, you proved that you have the ability to learn because you either finished university, or you're self taught software engineering, one of the two things. And in both cases, you proved that you're capable of learning. You just chose to stop doing that at one moment.

Darin Pope 16:51
You chose to stop reading. You still chose to stop learning.

Viktor Farcic 16:54

Darin Pope 16:55
You chose to work from nine to five

Viktor Farcic 16:58
Yes, and that's okay, but stop complaining. Otherwise, we know that you know how to learn because you got where you are. And you chose not to anymore. That's perfectly fine but stop complaining. Stop raising when when I come to speak to you and then I tell you that the world that you should be living in 2020 stop raising hands and saying yes, but I'm not allowed to install Docker.

Darin Pope 17:25
It's just a sad state, sometimes.

Viktor Farcic 17:29
It's evolution, it's Darwinism, kind of we're evolving. Then those who don't evolve are being left behind. And I'm choosing my words not to offend.

Darin Pope 17:40
What if I do not believe in evolution?

Viktor Farcic 17:44
Then there is nothing I can do to help you. So if you don't believe scientifically proven things, then maybe engineering is not your thing.

Darin Pope 17:56
We can get into debates over evolution and everything else. Like, but I think what everybody can agree on that things change. You may not agree on the origin story, but you can, you can see that things change. The Model T was created in the early 1900s. We have Tesla now.

Viktor Farcic 18:13
That's what I'm referring now to the evolution of evolution. I don't want to enter into this against that. But things change, things evolve one way or another, whatever the reasons for the evolution is, and whatever initiates that evolution, the point is that things evolve. And the systems we're building today are infinitely more complex than systems we were building 10 years ago, or 20 years ago, and it will get more complex in the future. So if you're incapable of installing Docker, then you don't live in this century.

Darin Pope 18:48
And if you're working for a company or the the, the services, the software you're supporting is 10 or 20 years old, and it gets an update once every two or three years. It's doesn't matter. It's mainframe or it's just a legacy app that's going to eventually be replaced or not, or just die. And there are those kinds of applications and that's okay. But if you're banking, you're unless you're two years from retirement, I would not be doing that. And even if you are two years from retirement, why would you want to be doing that? I'm not wired that way. I can't sit around.

Viktor Farcic 19:23
The thing that surprises me is that most of us, I believe, I might be wrong. But I believe that most of us choose chose software engineering, because we like tinkering with things playing around, right? It's not like kind of as if, you know, when you're choosing to be a dentist, nobody chooses to be a dentist because they like to watch other people's teeth because simply it's a profession. I need to do something so I'm going to be a dentist, right? But for most of us, there is a passion behind that choice. And what is very curious to me is when does that passion disappear and why?

Darin Pope 20:03
Okay, in classic form, we started somewhere. We had no map and we ended up somewhere where we didn't know where we're going.

Viktor Farcic 20:11
I have no idea. What was the subject? What's the subject?

Darin Pope 20:14
The subject was providing great infrastructure, writing a great infrastructure experience for your clients. Dear, I don't know how we ended up here. But anyway, it's, it all ties back into this though. It's like, I can't do it. We're not allowed to do it. We, it's all those things that really if you believe that, I would challenge you to think is that true or not? Because if you can come up with a way to solve those issues, maybe that gets you out of your three stories under the parking deck job. Do you want to know why I said it that way? Because that's what I had. That was a data center three stories underground of a parking deck. We did have a pink lemonade machine, though, and that was really good. So that's that. Happy Wednesday, everybody. This is about challenging you to think.

Viktor Farcic 21:09
Let's promise that we're gonna find a more more, more, less depressing subject, the next episode. Something about unicorns and rainbows.

Darin Pope 21:21
I was gonna say something, but that would probably get explicit too. So I'm not going to go there. And it would be bad if it's if it's me that turned us explicit. It just doesn't seem right, just end it there, but I think it's the right place. Because we'll stay on a tirade and then we'll become victims and we don't want to do that. If you're listening via Apple podcast, please subscribe and leave a rating and review. All of our contact information including Twitter and LinkedIn can be found at If you'd like to be notified by email when a new episode is released, you can sign up at The signup forms at the top of every page. There are links to the Slack workspace if you're not over in the Slack workspace go ahead and sign up. We both hang out over there, the Voxer account if you want to leave us a voice message. And also how to leave a review is all down in the description or in the description of this episode. Now, if you made it this far, hopefully you did. We're starting to play with video. We're not doing video right now, we're starting to play with video. And because of our crazy schedules, I don't know that we'll ever do a true live show at least a scheduled live show. But that doesn't mean we may not do a pop up. So if you ever want to see when a live thing happens, you need to join the Slack workspace. And once you're in the Slack workspace join the podcast channel because once we actually post something there, when we do it, that's where we'll post. We might post on Twitter as well but it'll definitely be in the Slack workspace when we're going to go live because normally we're at least six hours apart. So to come up with a normal schedule for us, is practically impossible. So, if you aren't interested in seeing the chaos, that is what happens in a show, you'll get to see it. We promise that we're gonna try to do something more happy, right? unicorns and rainbows.

Viktor Farcic 23:19

Darin Pope 23:19
Can we get some? Can we get some leprechaun leprechauns in there too?

Viktor Farcic 23:24
Yeah, we can do our best to have happy subject for at least first five minutes. After that, it's all bets are off, folks.

Darin Pope 23:33
That's true. So again, if you listened this far, and most of you do, go over to the Slack workspace, if you want us to talk about a happy subject, post over in the podcast channel, what that happy subject would be. Because we tend to not talk about very happy things. Unfortunately, that's where most companies are, is not happy places.

Viktor Farcic 23:55
It's not our fault that people situations in workplace are not happy.

Darin Pope 24:03
But you can choose to make it you can choose to make it happy for yourself. Maybe that's where we end up is like, stop complaining. If you're complaining all the time, there's nothing you feel like there's nothing you can do, just leave or try to fix it and if you can't then leave.

Viktor Farcic 24:18
The best way to make your situation happy is buy very good noise cancelling headphones. Then put them on when you get to the office and take them off when you when you're about to leave.

Darin Pope 24:29
My company doesn't allow us to wear headphones,

Viktor Farcic 24:31
then grow long hair and put put those small in ear headphones.

Darin Pope 24:37
If it wasn't true, I wouldn't be sighing so hard right now. I think that's it. I'm not gonna keep dragging this out. Thanks again for listening to episode number 47 of DevOps Paradox.