Apr 052011

If you’re new to technology management, then much of what appears in this Advisor may strike you as opinionated, cynical, and arrogant. But if you’ve been at IT for a while now, you’ll see the contents as accumulated wisdom. This Advisor is for those who have been in the trenches for a long time as well as for those who want to jump right into the advanced course in gonzo technology management, skipping the pleasantries of undergraduate interning at your average consulting firm or within the discontented ranks of your typical struggling company. The assumption here is that the business technology relationship can be widened and deepened to yield significant business value. But there are land mines Read more

Mar 242011

Agile software development and agile project management have shown considerable success in helping organizations develop better software and better manage development projects in the face of changing requirements and evolving technologies. In one sense, agile is about managing rapidly changing project factors and requirements. But enterprises face many other factors that must also be accounted for in project management and development. For example, enterprises need to manage quality, reduce technical debt, and control the total cost of ownership for each individual project. In addition, they need to manage overall IT costs, complexity, and consistency across all projects. These are factors that architecture is in place to address but, unfortunately, these aspects of software engineering and Read more

Mar 222011

In Cutter’s latest survey, we asked respondents to tell us what they are doing with cloud computing. The vast majority (87%) are looking into cloud computing or already doing something with the cloud. Only 13% are doing nothing at all. To dig deeper in the realm of the cloud, we also asked respondents to describe the extent their organizations are pursuing software as a service (SaaS), process as a service (PRaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). As you might expect, most of the focus is on SaaS, with 58% already doing something (i.e., early experimentation, implementation planning, and already launched) and another 30% gathering information. Only 11% are doing Read more

Mar 122011

I just watched the live keynote by Seth Priebatsch, from SCVNGR (say “Scavenger”) at South-by-Southwest Interactive (SXSWI) in Austin, which was streamed on the Web. Seth made several interesting points about the way “game mechanisms” can help improve how we interact in different situations. Here are some points I retained, which I think are relevant to the current discourse on the importance of social networking and social media in business. In schools, the current grading mechanism is “broken” because you can slip from a B to a C just because you had a bad day. By contrast, multiplayer games have created a successful mechanism to make people want to succeed: you start with zero points, Read more

Mar 082011

“You did not finish the stories you committed to!” a product owner at a client of mine recently raged against the team. “What the hell are you doing all day long? This commitment was pointless!” And he was right. The team commitment Scrum includes as part of the planning ritual is a dangerous practice that needs care — and committing on a certain number of stories or story points really is pointless. “Commitment” is one of these management buzzwords you have to use carefully. You should be very clear about what you commit on, what the appropriate tools to keep that commitment are, which tools are illegal, and what happens if you don’t keep the Read more

Mar 032011

Crowdsourcing has emerged as a compelling alternative to the traditional processes that firms rely on to innovate and to create and capture value. The June 2011 Cutter IT Journal will examine both the opportunities and challenges created by the crowdsourcing phenomenon, particularly in the context of IT and IT-intensive businesses. Proposals of interest are due 18 March 2011. To respond, please visit http://www.cutter.com/content-and-analysis/journals-and-reports/cutter-it-journal/callforpapers01.html

Mar 012011

I was just asked to comment problem at Google that caused an estimated 35,000 people to lose (for a few days at least) the entire contents of their Gmail accounts. Here are my thoughts on this.

Feb 282011

Kanban has become the hot topic of discussion amongst the IT community since 2010, due to its accelerated rate of adoption and remarkable impact on organizations — from the few-employee company to the tens-of-thousands-employee company — where it has been adopted despite its young age. This fast pace is both good and bad, Kanban is benefiting organizations when adopted properly, but there is a risk of doing it wrong by rushing an adoption without fully understanding it. For example, people frequently ask if Kanban is a methodology for software development, or for software maintenance, or for project management, or a systematic approach to cultural change in the organization, or something else. Another frequent question is Read more

Feb 222011

Architects face many challenges in their jobs. Among them are creating architecture and applying architecture. I’ve said many times that creating architecture alone does not create value. Rather, the value from architecture comes when it is applied. In other words, value is delivered when architecture is used to influence the outcome of decision making, analysis, design, or implementation. Yet another challenge is that architects are often not the people who are responsible for doing the applying. So we face a conundrum: we don’t create value until someone else uses the architecture. That begs the obvious question of how to get other people to use the architecture. The equation itself is really quite simple: if you Read more

It’s Afternoon in America

 Posted by on Feb 21, 2011  1 Response »
Feb 212011

A few months ago, Tom Friedman published a great article entitled It’s Morning in India. This is an insightful article which I can’t recommend too highly. Tom’s bottom line is as follows: Yes, when America lapses into a bad mood, everyone notices. After asking for an explanation of the Tea Party’s politics, Gupta remarked: “We have moved away from a politics of grievance to a politics of aspiration. Where is the American dream? Where is the optimism?” Having just come back from a two-week Cutter gig in India, Tom’s wisdom resonates with me big time. I was impressed no end with the economical virtuous cycle I witnessed in India. Lower income tiers are being brought Read more