The Winchester Mystery House – Don’t Let It Happen To You!

The Winchester Mystery House - Don't let it happen to you
Recently Stephen Speirs from Cisco wrote a blog post about The Winchester House, as an analogy to explain how IT often evolves in unplanned ways.

I’d like to extend Stephen’s analogy a little further by using the Winchester House as an example of what can happen when organizations over time continually enhance and upgrade their infrastructure without proper planning and foresight.

But first, what is the Winchester House? The Winchester Mystery House, located in San Jose, California, was the residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun maker William Winchester. Sarah was obsessed with building out the house and so arranged for construction around the clock, from 1884 until her death in 1922.  Construction costs were estimated at about US $5.5 million in 1922; equivalent to over $75 million today.

The house’s real claim to fame however, isn’t the construction; it’s the complete lack of any master building plan. The house has 160 rooms, 24,000 square feet, 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 6 kitchens, 40 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, and 47 fireplaces. Sixty-five of the house’s doors lead to blank walls, 13 staircases lead nowhere, 24 skylights are covered by floors.

So how does this relate to IT?

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