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The Personal Side of Developing in the Cloud

· Cloud Zone

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As access to powerful cloud computing solutions increases,  you may find yourself asking if moving your project to a cloud-based development environment is a good idea.  In a recent article at CM Crossroads, Leslie Sachs offers a useful reflection on the relationship between personality type and managerial decisions.

Much of the article boils down to asking managers whether they can deal with putting a great deal of essential development-related resources in someone else's hands.  It's about more than being a control freak.  Having a reasonable amount of control over your own resources can provide you with a sense of security that may be obscured by becoming a customer and not knowing what's going on with your service provider behind the scenes.  When you're dealing with a large company rather than an administrator in the next office, you may also find yourself in a difficult spot if the support operators between you and your nameless, faceless partners are less than adequate.  

But using cloud services as a utility in the development process certainly has its advantages, such as the ease of scalability.  With that in mind, there are several things a manager can do to affect a positive experience in the cloud.  

First, an SLA (service-level agreement) with the service provider minimizes risk by clarifying the the terms that govern your cloud-based resources.  

Second, establishing an effect communications plan is absolutely necessary:

You should consider your service provider’s established communications practices within the context of your organization’s culture. Alignment of communication styles is essential here. Realize that you must not only plan to receive communications but also to process, filter, and then distribute essential information to all of your stakeholders. Remember, even weekend outages may impact the productivity of your developers.

Finally, don't fret too much about issues that may arise, and be ready to adapt if circumstances require it.  The Cloud is a tool and it may not be the right tool for every project.  Weigh your needs and the requirements of different projects before making a rash decision.  If you're using cloud-based services and it just isn't working, don't hesitate to find something that works better for you.

 If you'd like to read the entire article, you can find it at Personality Matters - Development in the Cloud.

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