Read Only Friday

It was about 2 years ago I first heard the concept of Read Only Friday. I thought it was great then, but having worked in a customer-facing role for the last year, especially in an organization that doesn’t practice ROF (and part of my customer-service role includes weekend support), the more I see the shining benefits of having a Read Only Friday Policy.

For those of you who don’t know, Read Only Friday is a simple concept. It states that if your regular staff are not going to be on duty the following day (e.g. because it’s Friday and tomorrow is Saturday, or today is December 23rd and the next two days are company holidays for Christmas), you do not perform any planned changes to your production environment.

That is to say you shouldn’t be planning network maintenance or application roll-outs for a Friday simply because if something goes wrong then, at best, someone is staying late to fix it (and that’s never fun, less so on a Friday) or at worst, someone is going to get a call and potentially spend a significant part of  their weekend resolving whatever happened.

I see the logic behind it – especially for organizations where staff availability for upgrades is low but the requirement has been specified that it won’t occur within generally accepted business hours. Personally, I still (naively) think that Sunday night or any other weeknight would work better while achieving the same goal. If anything, it may improve the quality of work being done because the one performing the maintenance is more likely to be the one getting the call the next day. Of course, you could also institute a rule that if anything breaks that could be related to any work done on Friday, the individual who did it gets the call.

Now, it doesn’t restrict you from changing production at all, because sometimes things break on a Friday that necessitate work, but these are generally unplanned and the change is in order to provide a return to operation.

I am all in for making life easier, not just on the plebs who have to talk to angry customers, but on the higher level people who inadvertently get the call to fix something that’s broken. Moreso on Christmas day, when they should be at home with their families and/or friends, celebrating the fact that they can be at home with their families and friends.

The development environment, on the other hand, is fair game.

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