Jun 052012

Prior to the advent of agile methods, planned methods had characterized software development. An important focus of these planned methods was to get all of the requirements up front. Furthermore, there was a fervid attempt to get the requirements correct and complete before proceeding to the next stage of development. The unreal assumption that correct and complete requirements would remain so while the solution was developed turned out to be the bane of planned software development methods. It was impossible to get the requirements completed up front, as the business reality kept changing and users could not have known them earlier in the lifecycle. As it turns out, it was not even necessary to capture Read more

May 212012

What does the future of cloud computing look like? Would the industry benefit from standards to level the playing field between consumers and providers? Should government get involved or should it be left to consumer and industry groups? Join the debate in the August 2012 Cutter IT Journal with Guest Editor Mitchell Ummel. Please send us your ideas – proposals of interest are due 1 June 2012. To respond, please visit http://www.cutter.com/content-and-analysis/journals-and-reports/cutter-it-journal/callforpapers01.html

May 212012

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 Read more

May 082012

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 Read more

Apr 242012

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 Read more

Apr 102012
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 Read more

Understanding Resilience

 Posted by on Mar 27, 2012  4 Responses »
Mar 272012

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 Read more

Mar 212012

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. Read more

Mar 202012

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. Read more

Mar 132012

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 Read more