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Release It! by Michael T. Nygard

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Documenting Availability Requirements

Want to guarantee nasty conflicts? Take a word with multiple, fuzzy definitions, force people to strike an agreement about it, attach large amounts of money to it, and then watch them fight about it a year or two later.

I’m describing, of course, the inevitable effect of poorly defined service-level agreements about availability. SLA definitions are like the details in your medical insurance plan. Nobody reads them too closely until something awful happens. If you’re having a conversation about SLA definitions a year after the system launched, odds are it’s a heated discussion following an incident. Once you’re in that situation, it’s too late.

You can prevent (or at least diminish) the blamestorming ...

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