Process and Information Integration – a Matter of Life and Death?

I don’t want to act as the proverbial ambulance-chasing lawyer, but certain accidents lead me to shake my head about the ways in which we prevent effective action in matters of safety. I am specifically referring to the lack of end-to-end information and process integration we see in certain industries and activities. The tragedy of the South Korean ferry, the Sewol, which capsized last week, killing many people, brings this point home again. But this is not the only situation that comes to mind. Sunday marked the fourth anniversary of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Macondo prospect in the Gulf of Mexico. While there were many reasons for that tragedy, in …

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Describing the end state of a successful Scrum rollout can be very exciting for beginning teams. It can also seem a little daunting, particularly after that first sprint, in which the team could feel some of its potential but wasn’t yet able to reach it. I find this can be especially true for teams adopting Scrum in a larger environment that’s not yet an ideal environment for Scrum. Perhaps the whole team cannot dedicate itself full time to the Scrum project yet, or the product owner is still transitioning out of previous product management responsibilities to other parts of the organization. As much as we would like our beginning Scrum teams to have every advantage, …

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Few would argue that social media is not important when it comes to engaging customers for advertising, PR, sales, service, and other CRM activities. Yet due to compliance considerations, many organizations have real concerns when it comes to using social media in such capacities. Consequently, it’s hardly surprising that they are looking for guidance when it comes to planning and executing their social media initiatives in a manner that meets their compliance needs. Social Media Meets Compliance An enterprise social media strategy requires defining practices and policies to ensure that employee social media activities comply with internal company and industry regulations (HIPPA, PCI, FINRA, etc.). Hand in hand with this effort are training programs to …

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For decades (generations?) methodologies for creating systems have commenced with some form of requirements gathering. These tactics tend to be a rather clinical and emotionless harvesting of stated needs and wants. These nuggets are typically bundled together into some collection of features and functions. Eventually this evolves into a “system.” In spite of our best intentions and process reinventions, this approach still seems to fall woefully short far too often. Why, and what can be done about it? For years we have built products and services that are “working as designed” and that “meet all the requirements.” Yet we’ve struggled to “crack the code” in delighting the recipients. In some cases we have sought refuge …

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I’m excited about the Internet of Things (IoT), and I expect it to create incredible opportunities for companies in almost every industry. But I’m also concerned that the issues of security, data privacy, and our expectations of a right to privacy, in general — unless suitably addressed — could hinder the adoption of the IoT by consumers and businesses and possibly slow innovation. So, with all the hype of the IoT, I’m going to play devil’s advocate, because these issues tend to receive limited coverage when considering the impact of new technology developments on society. First of all, I am amazed at all the connected products and services that are starting to appear. These include, …

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Social media is everywhere, all the time. It’s about participation — by everyone. There are a billion blog posts and tweets a month, and the volume is growing at well over 50% a year. Companies need to decide what they should do about — and with — social media and how they should routinely deliver social business intelligence (SBI) to multiple business functions. How should they acquire social media listening/analysis/engagement services? There is more to the process than meets the eye: all social media vendors are not created equal. Should companies develop their own social media listening/analysis/engagement capabilities, or should they buy them in the marketplace? The data clearly shows that the majority of companies …

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Two of Cutter’s Agile experts are teaching public workshops in the Denver area March 31 – April 3. Don’t miss your chance to work with Hubert Smits and Lynn Winterboer, both of whom are highly knowledgeable, engaging, and successful trainers. So successful, in fact, that 98% of Hubert’s courses enjoy a 98% pass rate on the CSM test! If you’re in the Denver area, this is the perfect time for you to earn the key certifications to qualify you to act as Scrum Master and/or Scrum Product Owner on Scrum teams. And if you’re not in the area, what better excuse to head to the beautiful state of Colorado? Get the details and register here. …

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Mar 142014
 
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If you wear the CIO hat of a very large retail company, what could be worse than to have your site broken into and tens of millions of customers’ information records stolen and … right at the peak of the holiday season? Well, I suppose it could be worse if your organization had recently spent millions to buy the latest in security equipment and software and set up a large, 24×7 monitoring center halfway around the world to monitor the critical alerts from security software … and then when someone 12 time zones away did notice that the organization’s networks had been breached and sent a notice to their overlords in the US, nothing much …

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Organizations tend to develop far-reaching plans to describe their strategic ambitions, tactics, goals, milestones, and budgets. However, these plans in and of themselves do not create value. Instead, they merely describe the path and the prize. Value can be realized only through the unremitting, collective actions of the hundreds or thousands of employees who are ultimately responsible for designing, executing, and living with the changed environment. Unless an organization successfully aligns its culture, values, people, and behaviors to encourage the desired results, failure is highly predictable. This challenge becomes even more acute when considering transformation efforts that are enabled through the introduction of enterprise resource planning (ERP) or other technology-enabled solutions. As is frequently the …

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While the problem of scaling Agile is getting the bulk of attention these days, I’ve been running into another problem quite frequently: the value dimension. There’s nothing in Scrum, XP, or other Agile approaches that mandates some calculation of value. From one perspective, I’m glad that they didn’t. Changing the principles and practices within teams didn’t require a gratuitous injection of value into the discussion, adding complexity and giving ammunition to naysayers. From another perspective, enough time has passed, and Agile has proved itself enough, to start thinking about value. For some people with whom I worked on a recent project, it was fundamental. They already had the odds stacked against them (lots of technical …

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