Monthly Archives: November 2011

 
A Whole Lot of Heart: Properly Aligned Employees and Teams

For several years now, so many pundits, experts, and concerned citizens of the IT world have prattled on about IT alignment with the business. So much so that whenever you hear any phrase that starts with “IT must be aligned with the business,” you already know what’s coming next. Yawn. What we often don’t talk about — and really should — is how each employee has (or has not) aligned him or herself with their own skills and interests and their current role. I contend it is here that most organizations struggle at every level, from the top executives on down. Which is worse: misaligned people or misaligned IT organizations? Is there a difference? When …

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Nov 252011
 
Code Does Not Hype

It is the story of my adult life. A VC dispatches me to some city to perform due diligence on a company he/she contemplates investing in. Upon arrival I meet the “reception committee.” It usually includes the CEO, the CTO and the CMO. Nine times out of ten the folks on the committee are intelligent, knowledgeable and accomplished. Moreover, they do their very best to charm me. I still remember the reception committee from the due diligence on Tideway I did for Apax Partners some seven years ago. The folks were awesome. I am fairly certain they could convince birds to fly off the tree if they chose to apply their very many talents toward …

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Nov 152011
 
Big Data Analytics Solutions

Today’s discussions of Big Data analytics almost invariably center on Hadoop, which includes a set of complementary solutions that aid in the development, management, and deployment of very large data sets. The projects include Pig, Hive, Cassandra, HBase, Avro, Chukwa, Mahout, and Zookeeper. Hadoop projects frequently use Hive and Pig, while the NoSQL databases HBase and Cassandra provide database platforms for many Hadoop projects. While Hadoop has gained recent attention, it’s neither the only solution nor the first. Problems involving Big Data have been around for a long time, particularly in scientific computing, and many solutions have been found for specific problem types within areas such as high-performance computing (HPC) and grid computing. As the …

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Over the past twelve months, many diverse organizations worldwide have benefited from Cutter Consortium’s considerable expertise in conducting technical debt assessments. According to our experts Israel Gat and Chris Sterling, many of the findings and recommendations made during these engagements are broadly applicable in concept. The new Executive Update “Delving into Technical Debt” explores the considerations that most organizations go through while devising a technical debt reduction strategy. (You can register and download a complimentary copy of this 11-page report using promotion code DELVING.) From typical opportunities that arise during a technical debt assessment to common areas that need improvement, and from creating a technical debt mitigation strategy to leveraging the open source software quality …

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Nov 012011
 
Half-Life Metrics

“Gaming the system” is the kind of phenomenon that makes pedantic software development managers end their careers in mental asylums. A metric is introduced in order to achieve a certain outcome. To enhance the prospects of achieving the desired outcome, individuals and/or teams are compensated on the measured value of the metric. Over time they learn how to “game it”; that is, skillfully improving the measured value irrespective of whether or not such improvements still are in good accord with the desired outcome. The means (i.e., the measured value of the metric) becomes the end. “Gaming it” manifests itself as failure over time of the measured performance to fully represent actual performance. For example, a …

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