Feb 102016
 

In a recent blog post, Scott Ambler asked whether architects should write code. Actually, the way Scott poses the question, the issue is whether the architect should be a full-time member of the team. While I agree with a lot of what Scott says, there are also a couple of risks worth considering, too. When I started in the software biz, I worked in software companies, not IT departments. In the world I knew, architects were senior developers who played a special role on the team. Their job responsibilities ranged from making strategic technology decisions to mentoring some of the junior developers. There was never a question whether they wrote code: it was part of Read more

Feb 092016
 
Call for Papers: IoT Data Management and Analytics

The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly emerging as a transformational paradigm with a multitude of products and services now available and being adopted by corporations as well as individuals seeking to harness the vast opportunities it offers. But we do face a major obstacle in realizing the full potential of the IoT. The sheer variety, volume and velocity of data generated by the IoT presents unprecedented challenges in deriving meaningful and actionable insights and calls for a strategic approach to data management and usage. These approaches also need to address business strategies, business processes, enterprise architecture, systems and applications, and security and privacy considerations. It is also important to examine and decide what data Read more

Feb 092016
 
Three IT Trends that Are Hitting the Mainstream in 2016

I spend most of my time looking at how individuals access data, information, and knowledge in ways that allow them to make better decisions and to enjoy themselves. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts about some trends that I think will push demands on corporate IT departments and the IT industry broadly: wearables, machine intelligence, and data visualization. Wearables If you look at most phones, tablets, and laptops, you see a continuing clumsy interaction between human and device. A phone flipping through the air as the user loses her handle on it is not a surprising event. Laptops crash to the ground, and there is a thriving industry in screen replacement. While Read more

Feb 092016
 
Agile in 2016: Party out of Bounds

For Agilists, 2016 will be a celebratory year. Not only has Agile enjoyed mainstream status for several years now, its success has allowed Agile to become a laboratory for other innovations, from new techniques for ­customer insights to delivery of software as fast as you can produce it. When you join a party where everyone is having the best time imaginable, the last thing on your mind is how annoyed the people next door are, and how happy the people paying for it are. Those are two major considerations for Agile in 2016, which will appear as the not-too-subtle subtext for several ongoing developments. THE AGILE PARTY HAS A BIG PLAYLIST Soon after you walk Read more

Feb 042016
 

In many engagements, upper and middle management ask: “How do we fix our testing (QC) process? The team is just not catching the defects.” When managers ask this question I usually asked these managers a question in return: “Why focus on fixing your testing processes first; shouldn’t you first focus on fixing the development process, since they write the code?” This usually starts a vigorous discussion about where the problem really lies in the organization, which is exactly the kind of soul searching an organization needs to do when they ask to fix the testing. Fix the Root of the Problem and Not Just the Symptom The objective in asking the question is to get Read more

Jan 262016
 
Thank You, Ed, for All You Gave Us

As many of you will know by the time you read this, Ed Yourdon died last week. He was a pioneer in software engineering, author of 26 computer books and hundreds of computer articles, a prominent consultant and lecturer, and, here at Cutter, founder and longtime Editor of what is now known as Cutter IT Journal. Ed also cofounded the Consortium part of Cutter, authored many Cutter technology journals, and wrote thousands of Cutter email advisors. Most importantly, Ed was a great friend to all of us. His influence on Cutter’s mission and values endures. My first encounter with Ed was at a CASE conference. He had just delivered a brilliant keynote that, true to form, Read more

Jan 262016
 
Chasing Black Swans Through The Snow

We had a little snow here in Washington, DC on Friday, and we’re still digging out. The great snowstorm of 2016, a.k.a. Snowzilla, was the kind of outlier event that even the most dysfunctional of local governments must be ready to handle. Even if you think that 2-3 feet of snow in a single day is a “black swan” event, you had better have the snow plows and dump trucks ready for that unlikely scenario. Software innovators have a much different attitude about black swans. Rather than prepare their response for them, they usually act as though they will never occur. Sure, you might do everything you can to prevent, say, an unexpected architectural glitch Read more

Jan 262016
 
Grandiose Transformation

Digital transformation (DT) is aspirational. Everyone wants to transform their business, and every business person who’s alive knows that transformation now primarily depends upon leveraging the right digital technology at the right time on the right processes and business models at the right cost. Everywhere I go I hear about “amazing,” “fabulous,” “terrific,” and “incredible” transformation projects underway, projects that will “disrupt” and “revolutionize” companies. When I ask transformation teams about specific projects, though, I often get blank stares. Sometimes it feels as if transformation projects are ordered (like burgers) by outsiders (like financial analysts who cover public company stocks) and not insiders, who are often threatened by change, especially major change. In my experience, Read more

Jan 152016
 

Is QA (aka QC) seen as an impediment in your organization? If you answered yes to this question, then chances are your organization is in one of two camps: 1) QA is really an impediment, or 2) QA is actually ensuring that your organization is releasing quality software. QA is Really an Impediment Some organizations still have formal QA departments that execute testing as a separate phase than the development team. While this may be a necessity in some industries due to laws and regulations, for most other organizations where this is not required, it is usually a sign of a QA team that is not ready to change. It is a sign that this Read more

Jan 122016
 

As I read through Tom Grant’s article on Agile Frameworks, one word kept jumping out at me: structure! People like frameworks because they provide a structure that is repeatable. As I think back to all the Agile deployments I have dealt with, there were many misconceptions about Agile but the one that was consistent was that Agile did not have structure. Many managers who asked for Agile to be implemented had the idea that being Agile meant that you didn’t have to do many of the things that they were doing with the other software development process they were using. Managers focused on the literal meaning of the word Agile and had misconceptions that Agile Read more