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[For some related posts about application lifecycle management, click here and here. For my video series on ALM, click here.] Software teams are usually very responsive either to their own organization or the customer; it’s harder to find a team that is good at responding to cues from both. For example, I’ve known teams within corporate IT that are so enmeshed with their customer that the business, for all practical purposes, manages and runs them. I’ve also seen teams in software companies that are primed to respond every time an executive clears her throat, but far less responsive to customer issues. In part, these behaviors are the result of corporate culture: for example, in vertically-oriented …

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The Data Lake as an Exploration Platform

The data lake is an attractive use case for enterprises seeking to capitalize on Hadoop’s big data processing capabilities. This is because it offers a platform for solving a major problem affecting most organizations: how to collect, store, and assimilate a range of data that exists in multiple, varying, and often incompatible formats strung out across the organization in different sources and file systems. In the data lake scenario, Hadoop serves as a repository for managing multiple kinds of data: structured, unstructured, and semistructured. But what do you do with all this data once you get it into Hadoop? After all, unless it is used to gain some sort of business value, the data lake …

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Requirements Are An ALM Problem 100% Of The Time

Say that you had a recurring problem with your car. Every time you stalled, the radio was playing. While there might be other contributing factors, such as running the air conditioning, or recharging your phone through the car, you’d be inclined to think that the radio is a major contributing factor. The capacity of the car’s electrical system might be the ultimate culprit, but you’d also be suspicious that the radio is drawing far too much power, all by itself. In 100% of the application lifecycle management (ALM) assessments that I’ve done for clients, requirements are one of the major contributing factors to ALM problems. (If you want to know the assumptions that go into …

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Call for Papers: How Wearables Will Impact Corporate Technology, Business, Social, and Legal Landscapes

Wearable devices like smart watches (Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, etc.), activity/fitness trackers (FitBit, JawBone, etc.), smart badges for location tracking and security (Ekahaus), and smart glasses (Google Glass, Vuzix, etc.) are generating considerable interest in the consumer and business worlds. Recently, new types of wearables have also appeared, including “Smart fabrics/clothing” and virtual reality headsets. Wearables offer a host of opportunities, ranging from creating a new touchpoint for companies to engage directly with customers to changing the way healthcare is provided and medical research is conducted. Moreover, the use of wearable devices to assist employees with their jobs is now underway and is expected to advance in the near future. In short, wearables are making …

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Agile Development Requires Agile Staffing

The impacts of the growing agility requirements within staffing cross a broad territory, currently limited only by the relatively small number of individuals involved. However, these impacts will continue and likely grow in importance as Agile principles become prevalent. Some potential issues and needs to look out for include: Revising existing job descriptions and establishing new specialties. Businesses should create new Agile jobs, such as product owner and ScrumMaster. These are not management jobs in the traditional sense, but they do require resources and responsibilities. Older project management positions should be altered or eliminated. Similarly, Agile development team members should develop collaboration and communications skills and may need training in the use of collaborative technologies, particularly …

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Recently, I published a five-part series of videos about application lifecycle management (ALM), summarizing a lot of what I’ve learned about the subject. Probably the two most important points are the following: ALM is a strategy, not a framework, a methodology, or a bunch of tools. Software innovators, from IT departments to Silicon Valley start-ups, need to overcome their confusion over what a strategy really is. The videos already make the arguments behind these two points, so I won’t repeat them here. Instead, I’ll focus on a practical issue, knowing the difference between a real strategy and an imitation of one. Many software companies define their strategy as a series of initiatives. Some representative examples …

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Call for Papers: What's Over the Technology Horizon?

In the upcoming Cutter IT Journal issue on Avoiding Technology Backlash, Bob Charette suggests that cloud computing, data analytics, sensors and the Internet of Things, robotics, mobile and social computing, “super-intelligent” systems and advanced cognitive systems — once wild ideas — are all about to enter the mainstream. The future is here but with technology changing so fast we can’t help but ask, “what’s beyond all the stuff we can see?” What happens when we hit the physical limits of IC manufacturing? Or, how will we avoid hitting them? How will we get multiple order-of-magnitude improvements in data transmission, computing and memory performance, and what happens when we get them? Will quantum entanglement make instantaneous …

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Five Myths About the Commoditization of IT

“Commodity” is a bad word among technologists. It implies standardized, unchanging, noninnovative, boring, and cheap. Commodities are misunderstood. This post seeks to dispel some of the myths around the commoditization of IT services (i.e., the cloud). 1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Is Not a Commodity Like Oil Yes, according to the technical definition of “commodity,” IaaS is not one. But then nor is oil, or gas, or coal, or pork bellies. None of these so-called commodities is perfectly fungible (i.e., so close to identical that a buyer is indifferent as to what is delivered), and being fungible is a prerequisite for any true commodity. When we refer to oil as a commodity, for instance, …

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Obstacles to Social Media Analytics

I’ve been spending a lot of time with social media analytics and exploring how organizations are adopting and applying the technology. There are a number of obstacles confronting organizations seeking to implement social media analytics. These include technical and organizational considerations, as well as dealing with societal or consumer concerns when it comes to privacy. The latter appear to be particularly troublesome for end-user organizations. Technical/Organizational Considerations One of the biggest technical issues is a perceived lack of best practices for social media analysis. Social media analysis is still a fairly new application for end-user organizations, and many seek guidance and best practices when it comes to actually designing and implementing their social media analytics …

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Cloud computing, data analytics, sensors and the Internet of Things, robotics, mobile and social computing, “super-intelligent” systems and advanced cognitive systems are merely a few of the technologies that have moved from the realm of being an interesting idea into the main stream. Just over the horizon are not only improvements to each of these technologies but also virtual/augmented reality systems, autonomous vehicles, private drones, 3D printing, quantum computing, gesture control systems and wearable computing, among others that promise to change our daily routines in a myriad of ways. High tech companies like to tout the many benefits of these technologies — for example, it is believed that moving to autonomous vehicles will not only …

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