Jul 152014

In research and in economic innovation, great insight and great value are frequently created by individuals with stocks of knowledge in two or more domains and by teams of people where the individuals might be experts in one domain but have the facility to grasp enough of another domain to connect the dots. In universities across the globe, more and more research is being done by multidisciplinary teams. While deep expertise in one domain is needed to perform well on these teams, facility with — if not some significant expertise in — another domain is also needed. Tomorrow’s problems and the innovation needed to solve them are likely to require multiple disciplines. One person with Read more

Jul 012014
Who Is the Product Owner?

For a rapidly evolving role, the basic requirements of product ownership are somewhat ill-defined. The role was developed initially in Scrum, which has become the most widely used and recognized component of Agile development. But the concept is close to the chief engineer in Lean engineering as well as similar roles in other Agile philosophies. Product owner is a critical role, but one that has sprung from software development rather than the business side. We must bring today’s product owner into the organizational structure. The product owner role is crucial because it represents the actual interface between stakeholders — users, managers, marketers, and the business community — and the development team. Without the product owner, Read more

Jun 192014
What's happening with IT budgets?

IT budgeting is the topic of Cutter’s longest-running research — we’ve just opened our ninth annual survey on the topic, and we hope you’ll participate. Not so surprisingly, last year’s survey found that security drove the largest increase in IT budgets, led by increases from large companies. According to author Dennis Adams, “This may be a response to the idea that large companies are bigger ‘targets’ to hackers.” On the other end of the spectrum, Adams pointed out that “Although some consultants have predicted that energy costs would increase the costs of computing, our surveys have not borne this out. This year, as in the past, energy costs have not factored into the costs of Read more

Jun 172014

There are times when major trends intersect. Sometimes they reinforce each other; other times they cancel each other out. In the case of Target’s security problems, there seems to have been a fair amount of interference (to read my earlier Advisor on the Target security breach, see “Cyber Security: Inside and Out“). The FireEye software that was supposed to warn of the kind of exposure that did Target in reacted as it was supposed to: the basic problem was flagged and diagnosed immediately, and a warning message was included in one of the security logs and highlighted by analysts at Target’s Bangalore security center. Unfortunately, the critical message was not deemed worthy of immediate action by the Read more

Jun 112014

It should come as no surprise that decision making in some flavor or another is at the heart of nearly every business book, method, conference, and article. After all, especially in business, what are we trying to learn from the past if not the answer to “why” or “how did they do that?” Looking at any project or process technique, any analysis, any case study in nearly any topic, ultimately what we’re after is making sense of the means and the ends. Any metric, measure, and indicator is — when used properly — merely a trigger, tripwire, forecast or estimate of something on which to guide the path forward. All of project management can be Read more

Jun 092014

If one listed the top technology concerns for CIOs and CEOs around the world, cybersecurity has to be right at the top. Over the last year, serious data breaches have been increasingly common. Perhaps the most publicized was the one that occurred at Target during the Christmas season last winter. Millions of customers’ credit information was disclosed and Target did not discover/acknowledge the breach for nearly three weeks. The ensuing scandal cost the CSO, CIO and eventually the CEO their jobs and the company hundreds of millions of dollars in lost sales and in falling stock prices. Recently, EBay’s PayPal subsidiary disclosed that it had been broken into in February 2014 and the breach was Read more

Jun 032014

Most of the news regarding privacy and wearable computers and camera-equipped devices like Google Glass has focused on the rights of individuals when it comes to being recorded in public places or commercial establishments like bars and restaurants. But if it hasn’t occurred already, likely sooner than later, customers or employees are going to show up at your business or agency wearing such devices. Therefore, it is not too early for organizations to start developing policies defining how they are going to deal with wearable devices in order to prevent possible theft of intellectual property or the leaking of proprietary and sensitive (or embarrassing) information. ==== Not as Easy as It Sounds ==== The gut Read more

Welcome aboard, Diana!

 Posted by on May 24, 2014  1 Response »
May 242014
Welcome aboard, Diana!

One of the great pleasures of being practice director is welcoming aboard new consultants. With each consultant we add to the Agile Practice I feel both the practice and I are enriched. The practice gains new expertise as well as another perspective on various methodical issues we wrestle with. Likewise, I gain access to a set of experiences, insights and values that I might not have been privy to before. Adding a consultant to the practice is actually a most gratifying form of network effect. I feel particularly delighted to welcome Diana Larsen to Cutter through this post. Diana, of course, needs no introduction. So, instead of an introduction I will share an episode and Read more

Read it Twice!

 Posted by on May 24, 2014  No Responses »
May 242014
Read it Twice!

We were not literally poor when I was a kid, but my parents had precious little disposable income. The free public library in which they registered me had a strict two-day book exchange policy. If I borrowed a book on Monday, I could not get a new one till Wednesday. It was cruel torture for a book worm like me: I would typically finish the book I borrowed the very same day and would impatiently count the nanoseconds remaining till I was eligible to borrow another book. Fast forward to 2014 and I am feeling like a stranger in paradise, spoiled rotten by any number of great books, articles, presentations and blog posts on any Read more

May 202014
Politics, Profiling, and Big Data

The ongoing IRS scandal, in which various groups were targeted according to keywords such as “tea party” in the search for infractions, has important lessons for emerging big data techniques. Because analytics based on huge amounts of streaming social data linked with demographics provide the possibility of creating social profiles, a door has been opened for new types of abuse that may create invisible legal issues. Profiling has always been problematic, but it has generally been overt, and the result of a conscious decision. Invisible social profiles, on the other hand, might not even be fully understood by the analyst. The IRS example is fairly primitive, and is actually at least partly a response to Read more