What Breaking Bad Taught Me about Availability Planning

Two of the dilemmas for Walt in Breaking Bad are scale and availability planning.

Walt knows that with Jesse, his partner, they cannot reach their financial targets by selling locally (scale). Getting specific ingredients on a regular basis is also difficult, as they cannot deliver their product on schedule.

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Availability Planning in Breaking Bad

After a few false starts – Tuco, for example – they team up with Gustavo Fring, an experienced businessman who runs his illegal drug activities with the same planning and organization as his other businesses.

Gustavo offers Walt scale, distribution, and facilities.

But he also expects the product – meth in this case – to be developed and ready on time. In Breaking Bad, the availability plan is one component of a much larger project plan.

Gustavo, who seems to understands the principles of ITIL IT service management, probably prepared some of the following:

  1. Availability requirements
  2. Estimated future availability needs in the short to medium term.
  3. Steps to keep the service operating if technical failures occur.
  4. Disaster recovery planning.
  5. Performed periodic diagnostics on systems availability.
  6. Evaluated service capacity of suppliers.
  7. Monitored IT service availability.
  8. Prepared progress reports based on availability, reliability, maintainability and fulfilment.
  9. Evaluated the impact of security policies on availability.
  10. Advised Change Management about impacts of a change on availability.

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It’s interesting to watch well-researched shows like Breaking Bad as part of what makes them compelling is the attention to detail.

Gustavo is believable because he’s consistent.

His attention to detail is what sets him apart from rival producers. He also has a real business brain. You just know he’s well able to crunch numbers on a spreadsheet. And you can also see why Walt White wants to work with him. Good planning instils confidence.

Summary

Developing an availability plan isn’t complicated.

  • Outline the availability status of IT services.
  • Update the information periodically.
  • Identify tools for monitoring availability.
  • Apply analysis methods and techniques.
  • Setup metrics and benchmarks.
  • Establish expectations about future availability.

It’s like insurance when things to wrong. It some ways it’s the flip side of a business continuity plan.

PS – I’m only on Series 3 so it will be interesting to see what happens when the unexpected happens – and see who has the best contingency plan!