Tech thoughts for June 16th 2018 & TIM WOODS

Tech thoughts for June 16th 2018 & TIM WOODS

  1. Docker and Kubernetes: Major software vendors are now using Docker and .  Kubernetes is an open-source container-orchestration system for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerized applications. It was originally designed by Google and is now maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. This means that you don’t need VMWare and probably won’t need Linux or Windows licences. Vendors ship their software in Docker contains which are preloaded, preconfigured with Ubuntu and all the software stack. The host is controlled by Kubernetes.   This is a great way to roll out patches. One speaker from IBM claimed that they can now patch complex systems in minutes rather than hours. RedHat have OpenShift which is an alternative to Kubernetes.
  2. GDPR: 80% of companies don’t think they will be fully GDPR complaint before the end of 2018 – it’s a long journey and to a large extent it’s never complete and has to become Business As Usual.
  3. Compressing time to value“, this can be achieved through Self Service Applications and Automation.
  4. Continual Touch“, this is a business model objective where you try to be constantly working in partnership with your customer to provide a service. It’s an extension of cloud and SaaS (annuity model hosting).
  5. TIM WOODS“, I’ve read a lot on Lean-Agile over the years but somehow this brilliant acronym hadn’t come to my attention. It spells out the areas where waste happens in a business.T – Transport – Moving people, products & information
    I – Inventory – Storing parts, pieces, documentation ahead of requirements
    M – Motion – Bending, turning, reaching, lifting

    W – Waiting – For parts, information, instructions, equipment
    O – Over production – Making more than is IMMEDIATELY required
    O – Over processing – Tighter tolerances or higher grade materials than are necessary
    D – Defects – Rework, scrap, incorrect documentation
    S – Skills – Underutilizing capabilities, delegating tasks with inadequate training

  6. Security concepts – “Session Break” and “Secure Proxy”: These are useful concepts for keeping backend systems secure. Session Break means that a process can’t talk directly end to end to achieve a given outcome. For example, a customer might place an order via a website. Instead of having the website write the order directly to the fulfilment system it places an XML or JSON representation of the order on a file server. An entirely separate process then picks up any new order files.  This helps protect the backend fulfilment database as the web application doesn’t have any access to that database.  Secure Proxy is similar, it means that external users login to an application using a  set of user credentials that are only valid on the proxy itself. The proxy then forwards requests to the backend or maps the external user to an internal user. This again protects the backend application.

Cracking the Coding Interview, 6th Edition: 189 Programming Questions and Solutions

By Gayle Laakmann McDowell published by CareerCup

This looks like a really useful book for new developers attending job interviews. I think it’s also useful if you are responsible for recruiting and interviewing developers.  I wouldn’t suggest using any of the examples given in this book in an actual interview for obvious reasons but having seen the style you can create your own similar questions.  In my experience if you do this then it’s essential to test the questions on a few of your existing developers to benchmark the questions and see what good looks like.

Cracking the Coding Interview, 6th Edition: 189 Programming Questions and Solutions
At £25.36 it looks expensive but if it helps you get a top developer job or recruit a good developer instead of an average developer it will pay back within minutes.
My interview advice for those attending and running interviews is always to relax and try and enjoy the experience. It’s a chance to learn about other people and other companies and learn from their experience even if you are initially unsuccessful.
If you have any great example Developer Interview questions or you’ve been asked a tough question that you are not sure of the answer to leave it in a comment below and I’ll try and give you some feedback on it.

Click here to view this on
Price: £25.36

Minutes Template UK?

Integrated meeting minutes and agenda template.

Integrated meeting minutes and agenda template.

One of my most popular blogs last year was my UK Minutes Template.  At the time I just wrote about a Minutes Template that I’ve used a lot over the years but I’ve got lots more examples that may be more appropriate to different styles of meeting.  Over the coming weeks I plan to compile a few more example templates for meeting minutes and write a follow-up blog.  I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got a great meeting minutes template that you’d like to share.  I’m happy to edit any templates you send over to remove company details and make them generic.

I’d also love to know what formats best suit people, I’m assuming Microsoft Word but may be people are increasingly using Apple Pages or Google Docs.

Our blog now has a Twitter Account.

Our blog now has a Twitter Account.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 21.34.19I’ve been using Twitter client sites for years now but never got around to setting it up for my own IT blog.  This evening I have finally created a Twitter Account to go with this blog. If you follow ITMAN101 on Twitter I’ll let you know whenever we post a new blog or have any news to share.

Here’s our very first tweet…



ITIL Foundation Primer Part 2: Service Composition

ITIL Service Composition Diagram


Definitions: Service Assets: Resources & Capabilities
Resource: IT equipment / infrastructure, people, money or anything else that helps to deliver the service. Resources are assets of the organisation.
Capability: The ability of a service organisation, person, process, application or IT service to carry out an activity. Capabilities are intangible assets such as management, organisation, process, knowledge and peoples skills.

The diagram above shows all the elements that come together to create an IT Service.  These are detailed below.

  1. Business Processes: Examples include Order Entry and Credit Checking
  2. Service: The service being delivered to customers for example Billing
  3. Service Design Package (SDP): A package of documents defining all aspects of a service and its requirements through each stage of its lifecycle.
  4. Business Case: The justification for the service investments and expenditure
  5. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Service Level Requirements (SLRs): Set out the level, scope and quality of the service that is to be provided.
  6. Infrastructure: All the IT equipment required to deliver the service.
  7. Environment: When the IT equipment is securely implemented, typically data centres, machine rooms, power, cooling etc.
  8. Data: The data required to provide the service. For example customer records, product records, supplier details etc
  9. Applications:  All the software required to process the data to provide the information required by the business process for example ERP packages, CRM packages etc.
  10. Integration: Solutions to integrate/combine data from different sources.
  11. Operational Level Agreements (OLAs) and Contracts: Any underpinning agreements required to deliver the service within the SLA.
  12. Supporting Services: Any services required to deliver this service – e.g. Networking.
  13. IT Processes: The processes needed by the service provider to ensure the successful delivery of the service for example Service Desk Management, Change Management, Availability Management, Monitoring etc.
  14. Functions: Any internal teams providing support for any of the components required to provide the service, for example Service Desk.
  15. Roles: Responsibilities, activities, authorities granted to a person or team that control and deploy the resources engaged in the service. For example Problem Managers, Release Managers, Capacity Managers and Service Owners.
  16. Suppliers: Any external third parties necessary to provide the service. For example the Internet Service Provider would be a key supplier for a Web Service.

ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) Service Management Notes – Part 1

ITIL Service Management defines a number of terms, this primer is a quick reference guide.  You should find this useful when revising for your ITIL Foundation Exam.

Outcome: The output from executing a process that delivers a SERVICE

Service: A way of delivering value to a customer by enabling an Outcome the customer wants to achieve without incurring the overhead of owning the whole process or risks of delivering it.

IT Service: Delivered by an IT Service Provider. It is a combination of technology, people and processes.

There are 3 types of Service:

  1. An internal customer facing service: IT Service provided to another part of the same company.
  2. An external customer facing service: IT Service provided directly to an external customer, for example a music download service.
  3. A supporting service: A service which is not directly used by the business or an external customer but which is required by the IT Service provider to deliver other services, for example backup and recovery.

These service types can be further sub-defined as:

  1. Core Services: These are the (top level) services that would be recognised by the customer as the service they are paying for.
  2. Enabling Services: These are services needed to deliver Core Services. They may be visible to customers but are not sold to them in their own right.
  3. Enhancing Services: Think of these as “Core Services Plus”. They are not essential to delivering the Core Service but are extras used to differentiate the service from its competitors

Service Package: A bundle of two or more services (could be core, enabling or enhancing) designed to meet a specific type of customer requirement or to underpin a specific business outcome.

Service Value: Customers cannot benefit from something that is fit for purpose but not fit for use and vice versa. What’s the point of having a fantastic helpline if its always engaged when you phone it. Service Value therefore breaks down into Utility and Warrenty.

  1. Utility – What the service gives the customer – it’s fitness for purpose. Think of this as the functionality provided by a product or service to meet a particular need. In my example a helpline that will be able to answer any technical question.
  2. Warranty – How it is delivered – it’s fitness for use, eg sufficient capacity, availability, security etc. This is the assurance that the product or service will meet its agreed requirements. This may be expressed formally in an SLA. In my example the helpline will be open 24 hours a day and the call will be answered within 30 seconds.