Talking About Value Instead Of Requirements

Words shape thoughts. The word “requirements” has limited software professionals to a very narrow set of information about the value they produce. In the end, we’re supposed to be delivering software value, which is a much broader, more ongoing conversation than the content you create just before working on the code. While a switch to user stories helps start this transition away from traditional requirements, that’s only a step. How do we understand what capabilities will help the customer? Do we understand the customer at all? What hypotheses are we posing about the value of adopted software? How do we test these hypotheses, so we can make adjustments, if the software isn’t providing perceived value, …

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2015: Align Organizational Structures with Agile Practices

The appetite for risk is all but gone. Enterprises aren’t allowing the luxury of “seeing where the chips fall”. The need for predictability will dominate over some of the agile idealism of allowing things to emerge. Balancing this insatiable need for predictability with the agile culture will require enterprises to become much more self-critical about how they operate.  2015 will be about alignment. Users of agile practices are maturing. Enterprises are learning more and more that agile practices aren’t just for development teams alone. In 2014 we saw a broader shift among large enterprises’ thinking about how they’re going about taking advantage of agile. Many more of these companies realized that agile practices at the …

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The Apprentice:  An American Reality Game Show Or The Ultimate Job Interview For Entry-Level Software Professionals?

I predict that more software companies will adapt and adopt the vocational training model that’s used successfully in Germany. The idea is to directly connect software education to a job. German companies hire students right out of high school for work-study programs. Those apprenticeships often lead to full-time positions with the company once the student graduates. In the U.S., carpenters and a number of other important craftsman trades have used an apprenticeship system to teach and build expertise for hundreds of years. So far, few U.S. companies are even familiar with such a system for software professionals. With more press attention, we’ll see a tailored German model gain momentum in the U.S.  Once employers gain …

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IoT, the Reckless Adolescent

The Internet of Things was much in the news in 2014, and will continue to develop. In the last months of 2014, the emphasis seems to have shifted toward wearable devices for health and fitness improvement. These devices are particularly intrusive into our personal lives, yet the sensing and communication capabilities, as well as the analytics provided in the cloud for the data being gathered, are not being matched by an equal emphasis on information security and privacy. Will we see leaks and a backlash? Will the security part of the IoT architecture catch up, or will it just muddle along? Makers of devices and apps: take care of this before it hurts you. Buyers: …

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2015: The Year of Agile Data Warehousing

2015 will be the year that agile data warehouse (DW)/business intelligence (BI) takes off.  Traditional strategies for DW/BI have been challenged at best, with the running joke being that a DW/BI team will build the first release and nobody will come. On average, Agile strategies provide better time to market, improved stakeholder satisfaction, greater levels of quality, and better return on investment (ROI) than do traditional strategies. The DW/BI community has finally started to accept this reality, and it is now starting to shift gears and adopt agile ways of working. My expectation is that 2015 will see a plethora of books, case studies, and blog postings describing people’s experiences in this area. There are …

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Ensuring Data is Protected will be Demanded in 2015

In 2015, almost every CIO will be tasked with assessing their organizations and technology to ensure data and confidential information is protected. Current Situation Target, Home Depot, Staples, who’s next? These are just the most recent retail outlets that made the news. What is not making the headlines are the multitude of private- and public-sector organizations that have been hacked and lost data and information — many times totally unaware until after the fact. Pain Why is security so important for IT leaders in 2015? Because it cost a LOT of money once you have your network and systems breached! South Carolina recently lost large and significant quantities of data from its Department of Revenue …

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Use Agile To Steer The Post-Sony Security Stampede

The embarrassing hack of Sony’s corporate information, followed by the company’s decision not to release The Interview because of vague online threats, has already resulted in a lot of hand-wringing about how secure corporate information is, and whether companies have done all they can to secure it to the utmost. Owners, shareholders, customers, and partners will want to relieve that anxiety, so 2015 may be the year of a lot of impromptu security projects. Given the scale of the urgency and unknowns, coupled with the potential for a lot of unintended business consequences, 2015 may be the year that many IT departments consider a more Agile approach to security. The worst response to the Sony …

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Figuring Out What A Scaled Agile Framework Really Means

The only thing that seems larger than the recent enthusiasm over scaled Agile frameworks is the vitriolic arguments over what they really do. The confusion lies in the word “framework,” which is a much looser concept than “methodology.” While there are significant differences among teams (for example, in how co-located all the members are), it’s easy to imagine them cleaving to roughly the same set of principles and practices. The differences among organizations — their size, culture, history, types of projects or products, governance rules, relations with the business, etc. — are too great to impose anything nearly as formulaic as the disciplines adopted at a team level. (And, of course, the variances among teams …

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It’s 2015 – Do You Know Where Your Data Is?

The “Internet of Things” will take further hold and become more fully embedded as a reality in our society. However, a tipping point is likely to be reached in 2015 as public awareness of the potential for these technologies to violate personal privacy increases. This will lead to an associated public outcry for stricter controls and government legislation regarding how people, organizations and government collect and use this information. The public will no longer be satisfied to leave technology companies and users to self-police their uses of their personal data. Surveillance and other technologies that permit the collection of data about people will continue to proliferate. Analytical tools are emerging to interpret this information, and …

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Secure Collaboration in the Cloud: the End of the Oxymoron

The adoption of cloud-based solutions for document sharing and collaboration has been increasing. The myth that there is absolute security inside the firewall and absolute chaos outside is crumbling. And in an age of mobile workforces and fuzzy enterprise boundaries, it makes little sense to continue to believe in the “walled fortress” model of security. This means that the market for content management systems is going to change dramatically. Many organizations will have a harder time justifying the license and support cost of a solution like SharePoint. Google, Dropbox and others are becoming more credible as enterprise solutions in the cloud. The established vendors need to offer cloud solutions, while their sales of on-premise suites …

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