Big Data and the Mirror of Erised

“This mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth.” So says Dumbledore in J.K. Rowling’s book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, commenting on a mirror that shows us what our most desperate desires want us to see. This is an apt analogy when describing the analytics available in big data solutions. When you suddenly have all the data you could want and can quickly analyze it anyway you like, unencumbered by extraneous effort that we have historically had to endure, what happens? Being human beings with a tendency to confirm what we so want to have happen or to relive what felt so good in the past, managers often drift into self-sealing and circular analysis …

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ALM 3.0 Starts With The Reports

[Editor’s note: On May 5, Tom Grant will lead what’s sure to be a lively a roundtable discussion on ALM at the Cutter Summit in Cambridge, MA.] Application lifecycle management (ALM) has had a troubled history. Here’s the story so far: Under the banner of ALM, software professionals have often focused too much on the “M” part of that term, emphasizing centralized management, a means to an end, over the actual end goal, greater capability to deliver software value. ALM has tilted far too much in the direction of tools strategy, as if the only ALM strategy worth talking about is solely focused on tools. (The ALM tools vendors have some culpability for that outcome, but …

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Abandon Distribution in Pursuit of Collaborative Invention

Imagine you are responsible for a production plant. Let’s assume it’s a plant that produces a few hundred cars per day. Now you hire a new consultant who promises to reduce your cost by a factor of four. He issues some policies and makes some changes to your production process and, alas, after five months your cost really drops down to half. This was not really what he had promised, but it’s still quite impressive, isn’t it? However, you also observe some other changes. The staff becomes quite upset, and you sense a steep increase in people quitting due to burnout. The customer complaints rise steeply for a significant lack of quality. And the plant’s …

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Cutter IT Journal Call for Papers: Next Generation Production Management

The production and ramp-up of complex and highly customized products are planning and control challenges, especially in small lot sizes. Daily challenges like late change requests, and immature high technology products and processes introduce significant risks in the production process. Using ICT-based approaches can help one develop mitigation strategies to respond quicker to unexpected events, implement and support early warning systems and introduce real-time decision support mechanisms that feature accelerated learning. Using state-of-the-art technologies and tools such as service-based architectures and knowledge-based Multi Agent Systems (MAS) can help improve performance and scalability beyond state-of-the-art. Furthermore, innovative solutions including the IoT and cloud-based architectures can offer the basis for efficient management of the whole production ecosystem …

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Jan 132015
 
Where Are Wearable Devices?

The Internet of Things (IoT) has generated considerable hype over the past few years. Probably nowhere has this hype been greater than when it comes to wearable devices like smart watches (Apple Watch), smart glasses (Google Glass), activity/fitness trackers (Misfit), and smart badges (for location tracking, security, etc.). This includes the use of wearables as general consumer electronic devices, as well as for their possible application in business scenarios designed to help workers perform their jobs. Of course, all this focus on wearables raises the key question: what role do such devices play in organizations’ mobile strategies? A Cutter Consortium survey (conducted July–October 2014) that asked 49 organizations about their mobile technology practices and adoption …

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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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