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

Feb 282012

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 Read more

Feb 212012

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 Read more

Feb 142012
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. Read more

Jan 312012

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 Read more

Jan 302012

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

Jan 232012
Big, Lean and BSM: Late Night Thoughts on the January 30 "Big Agile" Webinar

Since we announced the forthcoming “Big Agile” webinar (click here for details), I have been exposed to numerous questions and comments about “Big” vis-a-vis “Lean” in the Agile context.  The intensity of some of these discourses was so high that I decided to comment on the subject in advance of the webinar. A lively debate during the webinar is, of course, goodness. In contrast, starting the webinar with a potentially gross misunderstanding as to where we are coming from and where we are heading is not too desirable. In general, “big”, to me, can be “lean”. As a matter of fact, big should be lean as otherwise scale will quite possibly pose a problem. Specifically, Read more

Jan 182012
Update on Leadership Exec Ed

Wow, I can’t believe that our Summit 2012: Executive Education+ is less than 3 months away! A while ago, I blogged a little about Prof. Amy Edmondson’s keynote on Teaming, which will be preceded by two teaming exercises run by Prof. Alan MacCormack. At the time, we hadn’t yet firmed up the case study portion of our program. But we have since then. We’ve chosen a case that bridges the topic of leadership (which is the focus of Prof. Richard Nolan’s keynote on Monday morning and the debate that follows it) and teaming. As with Alan’s exercises, we’re keeping the title of the case under wraps so there are no preconceived notions of the outcomes! Read more

Jan 172012

It would seem that the devops discussion is mostly driven by development’s incentives, and appropriately so, given developers’ focus on building functionality for the business user. So it’s no surprise that development is the originator of the whole devops lifecycle, but are there any dangers lurking in a one-sided focus on devops issues? A hefty majority of devops articles come from writers of the development persuasion who are motivated by the legitimate frustrations of the application deployment process. The movement to agile development has been a key contributor in the increase of handicaps encountered as a result of more frequent transitions from development to operations IT groups. Online and verbal discussions identify the primary challenge Read more