Building mechanisms - Operational Readiness Reviews (ORR)

Building mechanisms

The introduction to the Well-Architected Framework introduces the concept of mechanisms.

“Good intentions never work, you need good mechanisms to make anything happen” — Jeff Bezos

What this means is that you have to replace human best efforts with repeatable, scalable processes and tools, which are often automated, to achieve the desired outcome. A mechanism is a complete process where you create a tool, drive adoption of the tool, and inspect the results in order to make course corrections. It is a “virtuous cycle” that reinforces and improves itself as it operates. It takes controllable inputs and transforms them into ongoing outputs to address a recurring business challenge.

Diagram showing the mechanism flywheel

Figure 1: The complete process of a mechanism

The cyclic nature of a mechanism makes it best suited for solving recurring problems or opportunities, as opposed to one-off challenges. The ORR is a mechanism with a tool, an adoption process, and an inspection process that operates in a complete cycle. In the next section we’ll discuss the ORR mechanism and how to build one.