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Cutter IT Journal Call for Papers — with Guest Editor: Stijn Viaene — Abstract Deadline: September 9, 2015 — The combination of new digital technologies such as Social, Mobile, Analytics (Big Data), Cloud and Internet of Things gave rise to digital disrupters such as Uber, Airbnb and PayPal. However, from an incumbent perspective, an unrealized potential to transform existing businesses and industries remains. Many observers have identified a significant gap between incumbents’ recognition of the importance of new digital technologies currently at their disposal and their understanding of how to optimally exploit them. This signals that many questions surrounding digital transformation are left unanswered and even unidentified. Some organizations are experimenting with digital innovation labs, …

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DevOps Needs an Architectural Foundation for QA

I have spent most of my professional time in telecommunications company projects. Although both telecommunications and IT are technology-intensive industries, they differ in a fundamental way. Telecommunications services are end products and customers pay for them. IT services represent a means for supporting the products delivered to customers, and customers pay for the product, not for the IT component included in the product. This is the reason why a service assurance practice is much better developed and established in the telecommunications business. But the world is changing, and IT-based services are increasingly becoming end products themselves. Practices for IT-based service assurance can gain a lot if we pattern them on telecommunications practices. The latest developments …

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Aug 102015
 
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Every year, serious games have made a larger appearance at the Agile Alliance’s yearly conference. For instance, a few years ago, one session featured a game that simulated the collaboration between UX professionals and an Agile team. Other sessions demonstrated how to use serious games to improve the dialogue between Agile teams and their customers. If you know me, you’re already aware that I have a special interest in this topic, in part because, as it says in my LinkedIn profile, one of my professional missions is to make serious games wildly successful, not just in software development, but in lots of settings that desperately need the typical rules of conduct disrupted. This year was …

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One of the best presentations I heard this week at Agile 2015 was Declan Whelan and Jason Little’s pithy summation of the necessity of structural change in organizations embracing Agile. Their argument was as pithy and forceful as the phrase, No justice, no peace: No structural change, no Agile. If you want to judge whether any organization, including the big and complex ones most notoriously prone to inertia and rigidity, has embraced Agile, look no further than the presence or absence of significant structural change. Agile should remold the organization, starting with the team, not just turn into another set of governance rules (“Thou shalt do a daily stand-up”) imposed on teams. We’ve been over …

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Software innovation has reached a level of necessary sophistication where purely technical skills are necessary, but not sufficient. “Computer science” now significantly overlaps social science, incorporating the insights and methods of psychology, sociology, economics, and anthropology. This evolution of the profession has profound implications for skills, roles, organizational structures, product and project decisions, innovation timelines, and a whole host of other considerations that go to the heart of how software professionals work. This topic is far too large to encompass in a single blog post, so I will address it across several. Eventually, we will identify the reasons behind the merging of computer and social science, and look ahead at the implications for organizations who …

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Brain Design-Inspired Computing Is Here

Computing inspired by the design of brains is rapidly progressing. Very rapidly. Companies like IBM and Qualcomm are financing neurochip projects, and in the case of IBM’s Cognitive Computing push, it may be betting its own future on neuromorphic technology. Europe is investing US $1.3 billion in the Human Brain Project, which sets out to simulate the human brain. Not to be left behind, the US announced in 2013 it is investing $300 million in its own Brain Initiative with similar objectives. Researchers in the UK, Canada, at Stanford University, and at DARPA are all working on various aspects of the neuromorphic computing puzzle, and are now publishing their results. Deep thinkers like Stephen Hawking and tech billionaires like Bill Gates and Elon Musk ominously warn about the …

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Call for Papers: Infrastructure as a Service -- Ready for Liftoff?

The uncertain future of cloud computing seems to have stabilized among IT leaders with the acceptance of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). IaaS is here to stay in many organizations, especially smaller firms and startups, and will be the dominant form of corporate IT infrastructure in the coming years. With the breaking of Moore’s Law (at least for the foreseeable future and with regard to silicon-based computing), IaaS may provide everyday computing cost benefits thanks to the efficiencies large scale dedicated vendors can provide. But many organizations, most notably the larger and more conservative companies, are still on the fence about moving their infrastructure to an IaaS model. IaaS can be deployed in different models …

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Welcome to Nine (!) New Cutter Experts

The old adage “When it rains, it pours” certainly applies to the past couple of months at Cutter Consortium. We’ve added a cadre of really impressive experts to our roster. Cutter clients will have the opportunity to work with these folks, access their research, bring them in house for consulting/training, and interact with them live through Cutter events. And readers of this blog will see their latest thinking right here. (First among them is James Mitchell, with his post on some myths of IT commoditization.) Join us in welcoming: Edgar Barroso Gerhard Friedrich Kent Graziano Doug McDavid Paul Miller James Mitchell Vinay Venkatraman Stijn Viaene Phil Wisoff Watch this space over the next weeks for …

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If you’ve been following my series of posts about ALM, you know that the Lean concept of flow is one of ALM’s two central pillars. (The other is alignment, an indicator of the likelihood that the software organization is delivering value.) Whenever I talk about anything related to Lean, I’m always a little nervous. People misinterpret Lean frequently, with highly destructive consequences, so putting a Lean frame around ALM is almost asking for trouble. The most frequent distortion of Lean that I’ve seen in software development is the following syllogism: Lean tells us that we should reduce waste. Unused capacity is a form of waste. Therefore, we should maximize the utilization of our capacity. To …

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The New Needs of Digital Business

Digital business requires change across a very wide range of areas. There is an increasing use of storage, vastly expanded networking requirements, and a rise in the virtualization of all equipment. Digital systems deployed on the network can be replicated, modeled, and situated anywhere, so we have seen virtual networks, virtual servers, virtual mobile solutions, and virtual workstations of all types. Virtualization creates a need for new management techniques that control, replicate, and abandon virtual components on an automatic basis and manage their various interactions. Information technology is moving outside the firm to the public cloud, either directly or connected through a hybrid cloud mechanism. All aspects of IT are becoming increasingly connected to all …

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