9. Have several sandboxes (essentially, one per sub-team) which are frequently synchronized / refreshed. The sync/refresh cycle should be an explicitly scheduled item that becomes part of the scrum-team's agenda.
10. Have system administration configuration control practices that prevent experimental changes from persisting beyond the experiment.
11. Have controls that prevent undocumented changes to either sandbox or production systems.
12. Have controls that prevent changes from being applied directly to production systems.
What to Do in the Real World
Science fiction is fine, but cloud vendors are innovating like mad and it's early days for deployment infrastructure and discipline. The best cloud vendors do a good job for their direct customers, but there's not much they can do for other vendors' technology, let alone open source services.
All too many teams simply haven't put in place the deployment infrastructure and disciplines listed above. If you're in that situation, you need to assess the risk of where you are and prioritize corrections accordingly.
If your team is in immediate trouble (e.g., you can't get a bug-fix deployed), the first priority is to get out of your skid. As with a spin, the rule is to focus on getting control of the situation, not actually getting where you want to go. Then, figure out how to simplify the problem by turning things off, reducing the number of variables. Once you have the fire put out, make sure that deployment infrastructure and practices get prioritized ahead of any new feature development. Why? You've built up a technical debt that has to be paid. Make sure that every new project pays a "deployment tax," so that the deployment infrastructure and discipline are not starved for resources and can step up to the challenge as the number of moving parts increases. Otherwise, you'll never get out of your gridlock situation.
David Taber is the author of the new Prentice Hall book, "Salesforce.com Secrets of Success" and is the CEO of SalesLogistix, a certified Salesforce.com consultancy focused on business process improvement through use of CRM systems. SalesLogistix clients are in North America, Europe, Israel, and India, and David has over 25 years experience in high tech, including 10 years at the VP level or above.
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