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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Volatility is relative. Some fields, like accounting, move slowly. Other fields, like technology and marketing, move much faster. Business models and business technology move as fast as any field on the planet. The challenge is both exciting and daunting. At Villanova University, I tell my business technology students that they have chosen a field that never ends, is always changing, and will bear no resemblance to itself in three years, every three years. Most of the students are excited about the prospects of never being bored, but others are apprehensive about graduating with an immediately obsolete degree, knowing that in order to succeed as business technology professionals, they must remain in at least “street college” (what …

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Process and Information Integration – a Matter of Life and Death?

I don’t want to act as the proverbial ambulance-chasing lawyer, but certain accidents lead me to shake my head about the ways in which we prevent effective action in matters of safety. I am specifically referring to the lack of end-to-end information and process integration we see in certain industries and activities. The tragedy of the South Korean ferry, the Sewol, which capsized last week, killing many people, brings this point home again. But this is not the only situation that comes to mind. Sunday marked the fourth anniversary of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Macondo prospect in the Gulf of Mexico. While there were many reasons for that tragedy, in …

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Describing the end state of a successful Scrum rollout can be very exciting for beginning teams. It can also seem a little daunting, particularly after that first sprint, in which the team could feel some of its potential but wasn’t yet able to reach it. I find this can be especially true for teams adopting Scrum in a larger environment that’s not yet an ideal environment for Scrum. Perhaps the whole team cannot dedicate itself full time to the Scrum project yet, or the product owner is still transitioning out of previous product management responsibilities to other parts of the organization. As much as we would like our beginning Scrum teams to have every advantage, …

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Few would argue that social media is not important when it comes to engaging customers for advertising, PR, sales, service, and other CRM activities. Yet due to compliance considerations, many organizations have real concerns when it comes to using social media in such capacities. Consequently, it’s hardly surprising that they are looking for guidance when it comes to planning and executing their social media initiatives in a manner that meets their compliance needs. Social Media Meets Compliance An enterprise social media strategy requires defining practices and policies to ensure that employee social media activities comply with internal company and industry regulations (HIPPA, PCI, FINRA, etc.). Hand in hand with this effort are training programs to …

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