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Products and processes are two of the most vital components of a successful business. Useful, relevant, or innovative products are important for attracting and keeping customers. Efficient and effective processes are crucial to making the customer experience enjoyable and worthwhile. Product and process should therefore be included as key components in any business architecture. But, too often, product and process are not given the architectural priority they deserve. While physical products such as cars or planes are highly engineered, enterprise architects tend to overlook the architecture of information-based products and view them instead as the domain of business managers. (Note that physical products, such as the engineering of cars or computers, are more likely to …

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Big Agile is “agile as far as the eye can see.” It is not “one Big Agile organization.” The distinction becomes clear when you consider the context of size: team versus whole organization. While it is certainly possible, and desirable, for a company as a whole to be influenced by agile practices and principles, that doesn’t mean that agile alone can make a whole company move more quickly and easily. Agile, as both a theory of management and of software engineering, is tuned very well for one to several teams of individuals working closely together. Beyond that scale, agile alone won’t address all organizational challenges — no agile transformation initiative alone could do so. Solving …

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We believe leadership is just as much a definable science as management. What has made this notion difficult for most people to grasp is that leadership is seen as being something someone is born with (or not). In addition, management appears more “concrete” to people than leadership. Management is something that they can get their hands around because it is largely about following a set of defined processes. We would argue that most C-suite executives are selected on their management skills, not their leadership skills, which is why there is a dearth of leadership across both corporations and government. This has occurred in large part due to the fundamental reengineering of organizational structures, operations, and finance …

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Keeping the Innovation in Agile

Quite a few clients report that agile is anti-innovation. The developers have a vested interest in developing whatever they can produce within the allowable time. They are rewarded for maintaining the velocity of the project, not for their innovative solutions. Note that innovation, as we use the term here, means fresh thinking. We do not mean that innovation is the same as invention — it’s not. Innovation is thinking differently about the business problem with the intention of finding more beneficial things for the business to do. User stories that are not based on real business stories will struggle to be innovative. The user story describes what happens at the interface and is mostly what …

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Mar 272012
 
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A resilient organization aligns its strategy, operations, management systems, governance structure, and decision support capabilities so that it can adjust to continually changing risks, rebound from disruptions of any type including those that involve primary earnings drivers, and create advantages both through ability to respond and through beneficial changes brought about by absorbing new learning. It should be able to withstand the widest range of threats, including natural disaster, hazardous economic and market conditions, fraudulent employee behavior, IT infrastructure failure, disruptions of independent supply chains, disruption of customer channels, intellectual property theft, inability to respond to emerging conditions, and a host of other factors. Resilience should accomplish several objectives that are only achievable by combining …

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In IT circles, ITIL projects induce feelings of both love and hate. While the IT landscape has many successful ITIL implementations, that landscape is also littered with cost overruns, frustrated IT staff that couldn’t focus on immediate customer demands, and dissatisfied end users whose business “technology” needs were put on hold pending completion of the ITIL projects. The June 2012 Cutter IT Journal with Guest Editor Bill Keyworth, seeks to identify how ITIL can be used effectively to satisfy the customer goals of IT service management and how IT operations can balance the conflicting demands of IT process and business needs. Please send us your ideas – proposals of interest are due 6 April 2012. …

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Mar 202012
 
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It’s transition time for our journal Cutter Benchmark Review. We can’t overstate how much we’ll miss working on a regular basis with our friend and former Editor Gabe Piccoli. We all hope to continue to work with him in other ways, whenever his very busy schedule allows. But tempering our sadness is our excitement at welcoming Cutter Senior Consultant Joseph Feller to CBR‘s editorial helm. Like Gabe, Joe is a truly engaging person and a dynamic thinker. I encourage you to read the introduction to Joe’s inaugural issue, and meet him via video, as he talks about why benchmarking no longer needs to be an idle exercise. I know you’ll enjoy getting to know Joe. …

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Governance is a fundamental (perhaps the fundamental) process within EA to connect the business aspirations with the current and future enterprise reality. Governance is probably also the most contentious EA process: a necessary evil at best or a dysfunctional rubber stamp or change-prevention mechanism at worst. The current focus on enterprise agility provides a context for refining governance. The conclusion is not to throw out governance or to diminish EA to a laissez-faire view of awareness and simplistic control of the enterprise. Rather, the conclusion is that governance can be made effective, compelling, and a value-add to agility. Part of the complexity with governance is that it varies widely and is a tradeoff of constraints …

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It still amazes me how many enterprise data warehousing/business intelligence (DW/BI) projects struggle, often to the point of paralysis, with the “Inmon/Kimball” debate. This impasse revolves around whether a DW/BI program should insist upon routing all information through a complex, third normal form (3NF) data layer or take it straight to a user-intelligible star schema repository from where it can be reported more or less directly. It’s easy to fault the 3NF for more than doubling the complexity, expense, and data latency of a DW/BI project, but also for being of zero direct value to the project sponsors and their stakeholders. On the other hand, projects that deliver data immediately to star schemas can quickly …

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The “consumerization of IT” — in a big picture kind of way (not limited to “Bring Your Own Device”) — is having a huge effect on how IT is structured and delivered. It’s a “tipping point” with far reaching ramifications for companies, for employees and for the industry in general. The May 2012 Cutter IT Journal with Guest Editor Jim Love, explores what “consumerization” really means and invites submissions from those who are experiencing the changes first hand, from skeptics who see a different point of view and from those who have already started to plan for the changes that they envision. Please send us your ideas – proposals of interest are due 9 March …

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