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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Agility, Adaptability, and Alignment

It often starts as a seemingly plain training request. Having decided to go the agile route, a client would like Cutter to train a certain number of employees in one agile method or another. We collect data on the demographics of the target population: architects, UI designers, product managers, project managers, developers, testers, and so on. We then move on to discuss the way these folks are geographically dispersed and what the team structure for the launched agile teams will be. Once these parameters have been nailed down, it largely becomes a matter of figuring out the logistics for training and coaching. A fairly straightforward process for rolling out the agile process, one might say. …

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A financial services client last month asked me if I had read anything about management and the relationship to “commander’s intent.” While I had to confess that I had not, I did some quick searching to find out what the concept was about and how it might relate to effective management practice. What I found was a compelling object lesson on how we should be drawing on the lessons learned from other practices. The concept of “commander’s intent” has been around for almost 200 years. It’s a compelling military concept, originated by the Germans. The idea is that rather than apply tight command and control, leaders provide a clear sense of the outcomes they seek …

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Hardly a day goes by without some security issue, information or identity theft event making the news. In this age of increased threat and reduced budgets, devising an enterprise approach to security architecture and ensuring security in an Enterprise 3.0 world is imperative for organizations to protect their valuable information assets. The April 2012 Cutter IT Journal, with Guest Editor Mike Rosen, will address enterprise security architecture from a practice-based perspective. Please send us your ideas – proposals of interest are due 8 February 2012. To respond, please visit http://www.cutter.com/content-and-analysis/journals-and-reports/cutter-it-journal/callforpapers03.html