Curb Your Expenses, Not Your Project

The bills for the hosting and monitoring just came in, and the CFO is breathing down your neck.  Why are you spending so much?  Don’t you know there is a budget?

But you need all of this for your team to get the project done!  Or do you?  Are the servers sized appropriately for what they are being used for?  Are they brought down when they are no longer needed?  Are the best cost decisions being made?  Is the team collaborating on where and when to add more servers?  If the answer to these questions is “no”, it’s time to make changes to save your project some money and help keep your team accountable.  Here’s how.

1. Give ownership of the server and monitoring environment to a single individual.
This doesn’t have to create gridlock.  If developers need to be able to spin up machines on the fly, let them, but charge them with communicating all changes to the Environment Owner.  To get the best results, give the EO the ability to take advantage of better pricing on your hosting and monitoring accounts.  The EO should be looking at monitoring to ensure that under utilized servers are downsized when appropriate, checking with team mates to see if the servers they stood up are still needed, and and keeping an eye on what other options are available.  This is a good role for your System Administrator.

2. Automate reports that show the resources that are being used, and send them to the entire team.
This will save the EO some time too.  If a team member stands up a temporary test server and then forgets to take it down, seeing on the report provides a reminder.

3. Document the efforts that happening to keep costs in check, and share them.
Your CFO is going to sleep better at night knowing that you are using financial resources in the most effective way possible and still getting the job done.  It also places you in a better position for the next time that you need to ask for additional funds, since you’ve got a track record of being careful with the money that you’ve been given.