Recently I inventoried the facets of NMS and hit a nerve. Part of this process involved using the deficient standards of FCAPS and ITIL and as I should have expected I got a lot of backlash from engineers.

So what is my response? In short it is the same message (albeit less “padded”) that I give to my teenager — grow the hell up.

Most folks when they are born screaming into this world they learn quickly that 1) They cannot control the world around them. 2) They cannot see the future and 3) They most certainly cannot always be “just” and “in the right.”  Unfortunately as engineers since we are given more control over our reality we tend to learn these lessons late.

Contrary to popular opinion (or at least the opinion of engineers) I have found that the sales folks tend to be more mature as their immaturity is more exposed and they quickly find their career’s in flames or they learn to swim. In particular, sales is more yin/feminine in nature in that it takes energy in and creates from that. In sales you cannot force a client to purchase a product when you want them to regardless of quarter quotas, etc. However, engineering is more yang/male in energy and can better control its destiny. Sure projects go arwy but at least you can choose the approaches and how much effort to put in which have a direct impact on outcome. In sales your entire quarter can be toasted by one blip in the economy.

So this gets us to FCAPS and ITIL and why engineers suck at accepting reality. Sure FCAPS is antiquated and outdated. But this doesn’t change the fact that things in motion stay in motion and the entire industry is fully delineated in the rut which is FCAPS. This will change over time but as any average sales person knows and only the most senior engineers can understand, there is very little you as an individual can do about that.  Further most of us know ITIL is inadequate as you get outside of IT Support and that even within that space there are huge gaps. But this doesn’t change the fact that this standard is both the jargon and workflows that most western businesses have adopted. Further, they do so with a religious rage and it is pointless to argue with someones religion unless you are talking decades or more. Everyone drinks their KoolAid – it is the karma they are working through – and it isn’t up to you to “fix” it even if you are able to do so. Heck like I said we all drink our own KoolAid and that is enough to keep us busy in this life.

In short my answer is — use FCAPS and ITIL because you don’t get to chose reality and you lost your powers of a God when you entered this reality. So learn who you are through your limitations and connect to others through your shared frailties and mature into being human, even if you are an engineer. And for God sake get off the couch and get a job… oops scratch that last bit.

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