Mar 072014

While the problem of scaling Agile is getting the bulk of attention these days, I’ve been running into another problem quite frequently: the value dimension. There’s nothing in Scrum, XP, or other Agile approaches that mandates some calculation of value. From one perspective, I’m glad that they didn’t. Changing the principles and practices within teams didn’t require a gratuitous injection of value into the discussion, adding complexity and giving ammunition to naysayers. From another perspective, enough time has passed, and Agile has proved itself enough, to start thinking about value. For some people with whom I worked on a recent project, it was fundamental. They already had the odds stacked against them (lots of technical Read more

Feb 252014

Current changes in the workplace are creating innumerable challenges for management, and these challenges are poorly addressed by the command-and-control techniques of a previous generation. Today’s employees are increasingly knowledge workers, occupied in workgroups in which they are expected to have considerable autonomy. This is vital in the ability to respond to rapidly changing situations and to create innovations. The clearest indication of the new requirements is seen today in Agile software development, which has developed a body of practices to handle the requirements of constant change and reduced ability to predict final requirements. But all knowledge workers face similar issues, and these are exacerbated by increasing virtuality, weakening boundaries between personal and work lives, Read more

Feb 112014

  The architecture of many enterprises is designed to perpetuate existing capabilities by maintaining the status quo. In effect, the role of the architecture team is to systematically hone and improve capabilities by exploiting and making the best use of current skills, resources, and assets or developing new capabilities by adding to those skills, resources, and assets. Typically, changes are made through carefully planned incremental steps. Such architectures may serve the current business model well, but they risk the possibility that the business model becomes obsolete or that it is supplanted by the innovative business model of a competitor that has greater contemporary relevance. The distinction is very clear if we compare traditional high-street bookshops Read more

Jan 302014

Agile practitioners talk a great deal about the importance of breaking bad old habits and replacing them with muscle memory. Since you’re breaking down programmed, reflexive responses, you need more than words. You don’t reason with a habit. That’s why I often inject serious games as training exercises when I’m working with someone in the midst of an Agile transformation project. For one client, specialization within teams was a serious stumbling block to Agility. As long as Bob (not his real name) was the only person who could build a particular kind of critical component, Bob would be a choke point in every sprint. Other team members had similar specializations in platform issues, data formats, Read more

Jan 302014

Transforming healthcare is a key priority for public and private healthcare providers and governments. But the healthcare industry is facing major challenges in delivering quality healthcare services at affordable costs. How can IT transform healthcare? There has been progress in applying IT in healthcare in areas such as telemedicine, mobile health, electronic medical records (EMR) and healthcare portals. There is greater potential, however, particularly considering ongoing advances in RFID, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile devices and wireless communications, social media, nanotechnology, robotics, data analytics, context-aware systems and smart applications. Healthcare IT is both promising and challenging to IT professionals, managers and executives. Only through the prudent design, development and implementation of healthcare IT initiatives that Read more

Jan 282014

Many organizations start their Agile journey by adopting Scrum because it describes a good strategy for leading Agile software teams. Scrum, however, is only part of what is required to deliver sophisticated solutions to your stakeholders. Invariably, teams need to look to other methods to fill in the process gaps that Scrum purposely ignores. When looking at other methods, there is considerable overlap and conflicting terminology that can be confusing to practitioners as well as outside stakeholders. Worse yet, people don’t always know where to look for advice or even what issues they need to consider. To address these challenges, the DAD process decision framework provides a more cohesive approach to Agile solution delivery (see Read more

Big, Bad Data?

 Posted by on Jan 14, 2014  4 Responses »
Jan 142014

The Middle Ages used a phrase to describe a term that was not meaningful as “a distinction without a difference.” Oftentimes, in the desire to catch a technological/marketing wave, salespeople and consultants overuse terms coined to describe one thing to mean something entirely different. Not long ago, I was reading an article in the New York Times about department stores tracking their customers by using their wireless devices, using their movement through their stores to predict what they were interested in and what they bought. The article described this as yet another instance of the importance of Big Data. The more I read, the more I found this reference both comical and disturbing. Clearly, there was nothing necessarily Read more