Question Everything

Have you ever heard of a runbook? I haven't. Wikipedia says:

Typically, a runbook contains procedures to begin, stop, supervise, and debug the system. It may also describe procedures for handling special requests and contingencies. An effective runbook allows other operators, with prerequisite expertise, to effectively manage and troubleshoot a system. Runbooks are typically created by technical writers working for top tier managed service providers. They include procedures for every anticipated scenario, and generally use step-by-step decision trees to determine the effective response to a particular scenario.

Sounds intense to write properly.

My company has a fairly strict policy indicating that teams need to write these for their own use. I understand this if you're on a support team taking calls from a customer, but not if you're a developer building internal tools for that support team.

However, my team, the latter mentioned above (developers), have had Jira tasks popping up lately to write these damn things for each section of our large application and no one wants to do it.

During our last sprint retrospective I asked, what is a runbook and why do we need it? The first guess was: we're writing it for users of our software. But our dev lead replied "Nope, it's for us".

After that, the team consensus was basically: we're being told to write runbooks, we don't know what they are, we don't know how to write them, and we don't think we'll ever use them, but we'll do it anyway.

I interpret that as: we're just doing it to appease management and check a checkbox somewhere on someone's list.

Where am I going with this? I don't know anymore. But I have a strong dislike of doing anything that doesn't make sense and isn't value adding. Writing runbooks for developers by developers doesn't make sense and doesn't seem useful and I think every member of the team agrees with that.

So let's not do it. Or at least that's what my brain says. But my team seemed content to just throw some junk on a wiki page and call it a day so we can check that checkbox.

Stop that. Question everything.

I don't know what my point was here. So here's a Salman Rushdie quote:

At Cambridge University I was taught a laudable method of argument: you never personalise, but you have absolutely no respect for people’s opinions. You are never rude to the person, but you can be savagely rude about what the person thinks. That seems to me a crucial distinction: people must be protected from discrimination by virtue of their race, but you cannot ring-fence their ideas. The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible. -Salman Rushdie

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