02/02/2022 Benjamin Van der Maas

Get technical, but also don’t.

The picture above shows what it can be like when you crowd your environment with tagging.

The other day, I was talking to a client. They are at about 75-85% allocation with their current tagging strategy. Any efforts to up that number are proving to be strenuous to say the least. They are trying to come up with new was to enforce it via tagging policies or… as they want to avoid public shaming or similar strategies.

To me it seemed they went full steam ahead on implementing as much technical aspects as possible to achieve cost savings, without tackling any of the necessary cultural changes that adopting FinOps includes.

Fostering a culture of ownership, helping people understand why tagging is so important, is what will help them get near the 100% (In my head that’s like the end of a bell curve really). I heard the voodoo they were trying to do to get proper tagging and just thought, maybe they should accept their current (very impressive) technical achievements and focus on the bigger picture.

The FinOps Framework has 6 core principles, one of which actually is ownership. If you look at the other 5 (Collaboration, Business Value, Transparency, Centralization and Flexibility), a lot of them are driven by conversation, soft skills and non-technical improvements. I understand that getting in the technical side of things can be exciting and very, very effective, but it always feels like a short-to-medium strategy.

Good resource-level tagging is important and saving plans and reserved instance are the bread and butter of saving your dollars (or any other currency). Constantly evaluating optimal usage of your cloud resources and automating as much as possible is crucial to your success. That being said, so is building the FinOps mentality, spreading ownership across the organization, making sure the ‘why’ is always clear to people driving your bill up. A lot of the people involved in the FinOps conversation are probably not even fully up to speed with the latest cloud technology.

I like to say, a FinOps Lead should be a linguist, making sure to speak to anyone in their own language. Balance out your technical efforts and engineering efforts with brainstorms, retrospectives, sparring sessions and solid conversations. In short, you have to get technical, but also: don’t.

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