Monthly Archives: September 2011

Sep 302011
 
A Seven Year Retrospective

I felt like a psychiatrist in October 2004. An endless stream of strangers was coming to my office to complain about the software I was responsible for. I did not need to ask the classic question “How did you feel about the software bug?!” – I was proactively advised how the person calling upon me – every person! – felt about it… Some actually reverted to Hebrew (my native tongue) in order to make doubly certain I did not miss any nuance of their disappointment, dismay, despair, anger, anxiety and anguish. The only saving grace I had was that I have just been hired to turn the product around. It was a little difficult to implicate me …

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Sep 292011
 
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Innovation is part of the curriculum in just about any Agile engagement I carry out for Cutter. To my way of thinking, the linkage between Agile and innovation is straightforward. Agile enables affordable experimentation. Experimentation begets discovery. Discovery is the first step toward innovation. Just about everyone of my clients responds heartily to this simple-minded derivation, and for a very good reason. Clients crave innovation as it gives them competitive advantage through the life cycle of the product. Hence, enhancing innovation is a very appealing message. I still have to meet a client who would say “well, you know, our problem is too much innovation…” Short-term engagement do not usually give me the opportunity to …

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A New Arithmetic for the Backlog

The delineation ‘functional vis-a-vis non-functional’ requirements has been used by many/most of us for quite a few years. Useful that it is, I find various Cutter clients needing a more granular delineation. For example, in a recent engagement the client has actually identified the following kinds of requirements: Functional “Traditional” non-functional Devops Technical debt (TD) Striking the balance between the four is a tricky business. It is hard enough to generate some kind of (fast changing) equilibrium between the first two. Doing so across all four is a stretch for most teams. It requires good grasp on numerous subject matters. Even if the team includes a member versed in devops and another one who is …

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Sep 252011
 
Our Walls are Thicker

A couple of years ago I found myself immersed in a devops dialog with an executive of a fully integrated service provider. I forgot how many hundreds, if not thousands, of developers reported to her. While all might not have been well with the way software was produced in her organization, the bigger problem she was wrestling with was time-to-value. The software might be done, or even ‘done done’ as Agilists would often say, but its deployment unto the data centers owned and operated by the very same service provider was agonizingly slow. In particular, time to deployment of anything that touched legacy code was “infinite.” Figure 1: Wall of Confusion Slide By Patrick Debois …

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Sep 222011
 
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This month, Cutter unveiled its redefined BI practice, Data Integration, BI & Collaboration. I know it’s a mouthful, so let’s just call it “DBC” for short. As the new Practice Director, my aim is to shape this practice to best address your needs, but more importantly to continuously adapt as your needs change. I also suspect you are looking for Cutter to assist you in staying aware of emerging ideas and trends that might benefit your organization. Please consider this post an open invitation to join an ongoing dialogue that will help me shape this practice appropriately. I hope you’ll share your questions, ideas, and feedback to make this venture a success. The practice name …

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Sep 202011
 
From Here to Agile2021

  Agile 2011 has been something of an epiphany for me. The confluence of workshops, discussions and interactions with Cutter presenters in the conference led me to thinking of the shape of things to come in quite a different manner than I used to. In particular, I reached the conclusion the forthcoming 2011-2021 vintage will be quite different from the tried and true Agile 2001-2011 vintage. I have no doubt the nuts-and-bolts of Agile will continue to be a major component of the Agile “curriculum.” You simply must get the Agile practices working at the team level. Metaphorically speaking, you are building towers in the sand if your teams are not proficient in the Agile method. …

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Sep 202011
 
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One of the saddest patterns I’ve seen several times in my career is that of an agile island. The story usually goes along this route: a highly motivated middle manager finds herself in some difficult situation and decides that agile is the right way out of her turmoil. She starts to read books, she engages skilled consultants, she gets the team on board, introduces self-organization, finds skillful product owners, and, after one year or so, she has a highly successful agile team. Well, not everything is really perfect, but after all, the situation is way better than it was before the transition and the clients notice a significant difference — though there is still some …

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Sep 112011
 
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Last February I developed an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT)  problem that placed me squarely in the category of “interesting patient” (as one of the physician I saw told me with a wry grin). Just at the point the number of medical specialists I had to consult grew to the level that my medical insurance started suspecting a fraud, I reached the conclusion that while nothing is too wrong with any single organ, I am probably struggling with some from of a system problem. Since then I have been known to quip that henceforth Jerry Weinberg will be the only “physician” whose help I would seek.. Imagine my delight getting the thoughts captured below from Ernest …

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Honored to be a "must-read IT blog"!

We’re delighted to find The Cutter Blog on BizTech Magazine’s list of Must-Read IT Blogs. We’re in good, eclectic company on this list — you’ll find some sites you’d expect (large analyst firms, technology behemoths, famous smart people) — as well as some from smaller firms and up-and-coming voices. All are worth a visit, perhaps some will be must-reads for you, too. If you’re new to Cutter, here’s why The Cutter Blog is worth a look. It’s a group blog, comprising the voices of many of our 150+ business-technology experts — folks who have done, and are doing, groundbreaking work, solving problems in organizations around the globe. You’ll find posts on topics as diverse as …

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A value stream depicts how “a business delivers end-to-end stakeholder value.” Because a value stream envisions value delivery across business units, product lines, and even organizational boundaries, value streams provide a way for all stakeholders to perform situation analysis, craft a common strategy, and implement that strategy based on a consensus-based solution. This is an essential planning concept when multiple, fragmented processes slow or hinder the delivery of stakeholder value. Consider, for example, a customer of one set of products or services requesting information about, or help with, a different set of products or services. It is not uncommon to find no recognition that an individual or organization is already a valued customer. Parallel, fragmented …

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