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The trends are clear. There will be more and more outsourcing as we proceed through the 21st century. On-demand, “pay-by-the-drink,” and related models will dominate technology delivery for the foreseeable future — and very likely permanently. Lack of expertise in the US is accelerating this trend. So where does this leave us? With a new requirement: vendor management. Vendor management is a broad area. Let’s explore the strategic highlights. First, you need a comprehensive sourcing strategy and inevitably a strategy driven by the results of a core competency assessment. (Yes, you have to do this again.) The essential questions here revolve around the core/noncore relationship between technology and your business models and processes. Put another …

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In First, Break All the Rules,1 management consultants Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman report that an employee’s relationship with his or her manager is key to that employee’s success and long-term happiness in the organization. Moreover, if people have friends at work, they are more likely to be successful and happy at work. In an agile team, it’s easy to build camaraderie among team members. But if a technical person’s primary affiliation is with his or her colleagues on an agile team, how does a manager build the relationship key to retention? [...]

 
Semantic Challenges Through the Looking Glass and in the Real World

In workshops on semantics, I’ve used the example of the conversation between Lewis Carroll’s White Knight and Alice in Through the Looking Glass, of which the subject is a reference to “a song.” As an illustration of the upcoming challenges of information semantics, in that conversation, we find (1) the name of the song, (2) what the name is called, (3) what the song is called, and (4) what the song actually is, to be all quite naturally, but somewhat surprisingly, different: Alice was walking beside the White Knight in Looking-Glass Land. “You are sad,” the Knight said in an anxious tone: “let me sing you a song to comfort you.” “Is it very long?” …

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A few years ago, Cutter Fellow Bob Charette wrote about the travails of BP in this ERM&G E-Mail Advisor, and warned that, “if any more bad news erupts in the near future, BP’s current crisis of hubris will be perceived instead as being cynical, self-serving organizational hypocrisy. And once tarred with that brush, the time required for rehabilitation will be counted in decades, not months or years.” Bob may have been optimistic, given what has happened and what has come out in the way of BP’s abject risk mismanagement of the whole affair. “Tarred” indeed. We think Bob’s piece is remarkably prophetic, and worth republishing. Don’t Make Out Checks You Can’t Cash 31 August 2006 by …

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Upon reading the The Rugged Software Manifesto, I decided to summarize my thoughts on what good software should and should not do. In the spirit of “keep it simple, stupid,” I’ve somewhat condensed the 10-item manifesto to three: The software should do what it’s advertised to do. The software shouldn’t create a portal into my system via every Chinese and Russian malware package that hits the Internet virtually every minute of every day. The software should protect the users from themselves. Let’s dive right in with the first item: software should do what it’s advertised to do. Hey, antivirus vendors — BOO! Yes, that should scare the pants off the the antivirus world, since for …

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Change-Resistance versus Doubt

One thing has always concerned me about the tremendous volume of material about change—books, articles, presentations—and that is an underlying assumption that the change (or preferably the adaptation to the change) in question is a good one. With that as an assumption, then the “problem” is how to align everyone with the adaptation. One of the best models for managing change is the Satir curve (Figure 1.0). The model takes us from status quo, through a change initiation that is resisted, causes some chaos as people learn, and finally ends up being integrated into the new status quo, hopefully at a higher performance level. At any point in the process, the “anti-change” forces may prevail …

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While mobile apps continue to be developed every minute to satisfy any foreseeable need (do I really need an app for my coffee?), and growth trends skyrocket despite any recession data, the challenges resulting from the implementation and use of mobile technologies in the enterprise remain. Join the debate in the September 2010 Cutter IT Journal — with Guest Editor Katia Passerini — as we examine the opportunities and challenges presented by the use of mobile and wireless technologies in organizations worldwide. To share your perspective with us, send us a short article abstract by June 22. For the full Call for Papers, visit here.

 
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In a bit of technological determinism, Nicholas Carr suggests that the Internet is making us dumber. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, he writes that “a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the Net, with its constant distractions and interruptions, is also turning us into scattered and superficial thinkers.” Knowing what distraction does to expertise development, in 2007, here at Cutter Consortium in an executive report on Web 2.0, I had written: “Unfortunately, Web 2.0, with its high interrupt-driven, instant gratification, rich Internet application (RIA)-powered user interfaces, may be creating a context that destroys expertise before it can develop. Expertise development requires dedicated, uninterrupted time on a complex task so that a human …

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Well, it’s happened.  AT&T announced this week that it will abandon its wireless unlimited-data pricing plan in favor of usage-based model.  I have been opining about this particular issue for many years — any kind of “all you can eat” pricing model has always struck me as sub-optimal, and my reaction to the growing popularity of flat rate Internet connection pricing based on connection speed is the same as my reaction when Pets.com offered free shipping on 50-pound bags of dog food back in the day:  buy all you can, ’cause this deal can’t last. Internet customers (at least in the US) seem to have figured this out.  Their usage of bandwidth continues to grow …

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Is your organization going green, whatever that means? Well, that turns out to be a lot more than just server virtualization at the data center. Is the enterprise architecture (EA) team involved? Well, it should be. Let’s take a look. To start, you might ask whether your organization has defined what it means to be green and/or sustainable, and more important, whether it has articulated why it is doing it and how it fits with other enterprise strategies or initiatives. If your enterprise is anything like most, the answer to these questions is probably “No.” This is a perfect opportunity to apply some business architecture to the problem. How about formalizing the goals and strategies …

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