The Political Campaigns and IT

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    Profile photo of Henry Brown
    Henry Brown
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    One, at least I, have to wonder whether “we” can actually learn AND apply the lessons learned during the rather long campaign season…

    Commentary from Mike Loukides on O’Reilly Radar

    The Narwhal and the Orca
    The two campaign systems highlight the stark differences between DevOps and traditional models.

    Leaving politics aside, there’s a lot that can be learned from the technical efforts of the Obama and Romney campaigns. Just about everyone agrees that the Obama campaign’s Narwhal project was a great success, and that Romney’s Orca was a failure. But why?

    I have one very short answer. If you follow technology, you don’t have to read between the lines much to realize that Narwhal embodied the best of the DevOps movement: rapid iteration, minimal barriers between developers and operations staff, heavy use of “cloud” technology, and constant testing to prove that you can handle outages and heavy load. In contrast, Romney’s Orca was a traditional corporate IT project gone bad. The plans were developed by non-technical people (it’s not clear what technical expertise Romney had on his team), and implemented by consultants. There were token testing efforts, but as far as I could tell, no serious attempts to break or stress the system so the team understood how to keep it running when the going got tough.

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