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As mobile computing has made sophisticated, digitally-mediated interactions possible in both personal/consumer and business-like capacities (BYOD) – the market and the challenges associated with it have exploded. Taking a step back to when the technologies that underpin mobile computing and networking were developed, it was assumed that each user had some level of expertise, that the use cases were quite limited in scope, and that the overall numbers of users were constrained. Fast-forward to present day, the massive scale of mobile computing adoption, the broad scope of supported use cases, and the “naive” user base has created a number of serious issues that the IT industry must grapple with now. Chief among these problems is …

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Dedicated Teams And The Agile Portfolio Management Game

Dedicated teams are critical to the success of Agile projects, both in the short-term (this particular project) and the long term (the queue of future projects. A serious game on which I’ve been working shows this principle in action better than any words I’ve used to communicate this point. I started working on the game because a lot of people struggle with the notion of dedicated teams. Even in cases when Agile has achieved a foothold in the organization, and everyone’s happy with the results, many people outside these teams may not understand or appreciate how big a difference team cohesion makes. There’s a difficult cultural shift from seeing teams as collections of individual “resources” …

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In the Kansas City Star recently, an educator posted an editorial that suggested all students graduating from college these should days should be “job ready.” The educator argued that the current college curriculum was defined for the “gentlemen” of the 19th and 20th centuries, but this is the 21st century, and the cost of higher education has skyrocketed and what with the pace of technological change, the shrinking of our job markets, and the new educational options (online courses, etc.), our colleges, universities, and institutes have to radically reduce their costs and produce “job-ready” graduates. Now, I have to admit that institutions of higher education in the US have many problems. They are beset with much more competition for …

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Data Hacking: No Day at the Breach

This week's top news stories include stolen credit card data at Home Depot, hacking of Apple’s iCloud that revealed, well, revealing photos of the account holders. And it’s only Wednesday. The latest issue of Cutter IT Journal, “Data Hacking: No Day at the Breach” addresses data security, which, according to Guest Editor Ken Orr, is a problem "No matter how large or small our organizations are, we cannot just wash our hands of [it] — there is too much at stake.” Orr continues, “There are very few more pressing issues in management today than cyber security. Notice that I didn't say IT management; I said management. When the hacking of a major US retailer (Target) …

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Call for Papers: The IoT -- Technologies, Opportunities and Solutions

The Internet of Things in its basic form is the interconnected network of uniquely identifiable sensors, devices, and computers. The ability to connect all these “things” together creates the opportunity to develop a limitless set of solutions applicable to every domain. Manufacturing plants can track the status of products being created as they cross the manufacturing floor. Building management companies can track the health of lighting or heating/cooling systems remotely. Governments can track water flow through water systems, crossers of their borders, traffic in their cities, and medicines to address pandemics. Consumers can manage their homes or vehicles from a distance. All these possible solutions are not technologically alike. Some require real-time capabilities, others require …

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Leadership for Successful Agile Transitions

If you only adopt one practice of Agile, adopt retrospectives. The rest will emerge from that. This is old wisdom among Agilists, and back in the early 2000s, Cutter Senior Consultant Alistair Cockburn boiled down his Crystal Clear method to “Iterate and Reflect.” I thought everything of interest had already been written on this topic — until I was involved recently in a mostly failed transition during which this was a major topic. Looking at leadership models, you find the concept of post-heroic leadership where the heroic leader solves problems by either being the expert him or herself, or an “achiever” who pushes others to solve the problem. The post-heroic leader works by providing the …

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Back in 2004, when he was a vice presidential candidate, then-Senator John Edwards hit a nerve with his “Two Americas” speech at the Democratic National Convention. Here is the core sentence in that speech: And we have much work to do, because the truth is, we still live in a country where there are two different Americas, one for all of those people who have lived the American dream and don’t have to worry, and another for most Americans, everybody else who struggle to make ends meet every single day. It doesn’t have to be that way. The Agile movement faces its own version of the Two Americas problem. It’s appropriate and necessary to celebrate …

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From Guest Editor Dave Rooney: As a consultant and Agile coach, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different clients and speak to many people about Agile methods. From my earliest Agile experiences in 2000 to the present day, I’ve encountered a common statement made by those who haven’t been part of teams working in an agile manner, and even from some who have. The phrasing always contains the words, “in the real world.” For example, “Agile is great in theory, but I can’t see it working in the real world.” Or how about, “Test-driven development sounds great, but in the real world it’s impractical.” Then there’s, “Having each team member dedicated 100% to …

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Complementing Agile SDLC with Agile Architecture

The reality of today’s highly competitive and customer demand-centric market conditions have pushed software (solution) delivery organizations beyond the traditionally accepted limits of software development and delivery capabilities. There is no argument that Lean methodologies such as Lean Six Sigma and DevOps can help improve operational solution delivery capacities through: Streamlining of solution delivery process Improved software quality Automation of system operations Self-administration of system operations by development teams Agile methodologies, however, help augment such operational improvements with their own enablement of faster time to market (TTM) through transforming the Lean concept of “value-added activities” into “value-added product features.”  Agile software architecture must augment solution delivery organizations’ Agile software development lifecycle (SDLC) capability by creating …

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Several of today’s technology developments affect the market for mobile technology and the ways end-user organizations implement collaboration solutions. These include the rise of cloud-based platforms, the mobile collaboration mechanisms increasingly built into enterprise applications, and the integration of mobile capabilities with enterprise social networks. On-Premise vs. Cloud Solutions Enterprise mobile collaboration solutions are available as software for deployment on premise as well as in the form of cloud-based platforms from a number of providers, including Cisco, IBM, Microsoft (Yammer), SAP, Avaya, Box, Aastra, NEC, ShoreTel, Alcatel-Lucent, and AT&T. Like every other category of enterprise solutions, the cloud is having a profound effect on how organizations implement mobile technology in general. Over the next 12-18 …

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