Sunday, November 30, 2008
A common mistake I frequently repeat...
* Wrong: "You are a big fat idiot!"
* Right: "I disagree with your opinion about foo-oriented programming."
* Wrong: "You don't seem to understand any of this."
* Right: "I suggest we review your responses to items F, C, and K. Your answers puzzle me."
* Wrong: "You are lying. Dr. Gartner never said that."
* Right: "Your quote appears to be incorrect. Here's the correct passage according to page 742 of ..."
If the person wants your opinion about their general understanding or general competence, let them ask first. Otherwise, don't volunteer it. If a person is frustrating you for whatever reason, leave the discussion before you are tempted to express wider opinions about given person. When in doubt, say nothing.
Our primal cave-men urges to lash out in frustration or chest thumping is harmful to civilized discussion. Yes, it's hard to resist the urge, but something we must do if harmony is a goal. Lashing out will likely not change the other party to fit your desires anyhow. Harsh or blunt criticism rarely solves anything. The other party probably has some harsh opinions of you also that they are holding back. Unleashing yours will either alienate the other party, or result in them releasing counter criticism...
Saturday, November 29, 2008
How bad does my blog suck?
Are there topics that you would like to see me post more on? Are there postings by other bloggers that I should respond to? If so, don't be afraid to call me out...
Friday, November 28, 2008
2,000 Blog Postings and Still Going Strong...
If I focused on technology, then the amount of things one can write about is constraining. However, I write about the human aspects of technology where the universe of coverage is order of magnitudes larger.
Whether I discuss, enterprise architecture, Smalltalk, Cardspace, Indian Outsourcing, why industry analysts continue to suck, XACML, whether Ruby is enterprise ready, why bloggers need to champion their favorite charities or any other topic that comes to mind, it is important that bloggers choose topics that are sustainable...
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Click here to view my Kiva lender page where the concept of microfinance can help end poverty on other parts of the planet. Will you consider reaching into your wallet and participate in this noble cause...
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Why Knowledge Management will never be successful...
The great but otherwise ignored truth is that communication is always between people. Creating intermediaries is inefficient and alienating. Speak to me as a person and I'll return the favor. Treat me as an object and I will ignore you...
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Should corporate America look at itself as corporate Americans?
I ran across a rules engine vendor who thinks that they are community-oriented simply because they setup a site where folks can talk to each other. Sadly, they have refused to consider the possibilities that their 1.0 approach to bulletin board brings. Do you think they considered actually encouraging their employees to participate? This reminds me of frequent posts by Laurence Hart where he is more useful than the vendor's own staff. Shouldn't the exact opposite be true?
Luckily, some companies are getting it right. Microsoft has always gotten it right. How refreshing and humbling are the new principles for self-reference, self-organization and self-governance. Maybe I should throw in the towel and go back to reading the plethora of suicidal mission statements I frequently run across...
Monday, November 24, 2008
Why many enterprises disrespect customers and their personally identifiable information...
Isn't the answer apparent that this cannot be solved by simply rolling out and measuring process? What if we had metrics to measure the humanity of a corporation, would things get better? Transparency is needed to gain control of lost data. Imagine if project managers who usually are at the root cause of bad software and their decisions to skip security and make it secondary in order to hit a date were now made publicly available...
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Enterprise Architecture and Big Brother?
It appears that corporate leaders, performance appraisals, mirrored-mission statements and policies for the pains-in-the-ass have created many disgruntled souls. In your daily life, it isn't the government reducing language to alienate thought but it might be your employer. How come we don't blame folks in public relations and human resources for creating so much clutter that any worthwhile thought and discovery is masked in the cynicism we've all developed from the quagmire known as brand.
There is hope that readers of my blog may take immediate, deliberate action to reemphasize the importance of 'people' over technology, share prices and animated graffiti...
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The image below contains an example of some XML she scribbled out as an example of what she desired. She asked for the folks on the other end to take the rough idea and to come up with a proper design. She also asked them to make sure that the XML is validatible via XML schema.
Anyway, now that failure is almost imminent, it means that I will have to surrender my remaining free time to jump in and help. I would be willing to pay for someone to help her out as I really have enough on my plate. If you are up to the challenge, let's see what you come up with?
Enterprise Architecture and Information Deficit Disorder...
The cancer within the financial system is here and is spreading and many companies still don't realize it. This is the time to fix the information deficit disorder that has plagued most markets so far - buyers cannot find the appropriate information about the companies they are buying products from, and companies clearly do not have a clue about what their buyers really want. Those that were purposely putting up this smokescreen will no longer be able to do so because the buyer is finally in charge!! Let's start that conversation...
Friday, November 21, 2008
Enterprise Architecture: Thoughts on the debacle known as Indian Outsourcing
Isn't it long overdue for us to move towards relationships of reciprocity based on truth and knowledge rather than marketing and perception management? No wonder there is a knowledge crisis.
What if we were to allow folks in India to not only empower themselves, but to also empower us? Aren't we looking to do business with people who can anticipate our needs and problems, addressing them before we even notice? The best companies, organizations and partners already do this, but they're few and far between. We like the notion of maturity, but are we really measuring the wrong thing?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
American's need to show more respect toward India
A pirate ship, operating off the coast of Oman in the lawless waters of the Gulf of Aden, was crewed by heavily armed men, some carrying rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Behind it were a pair of speedboats — the sort pirates often use when they launch attacks on merchant ships in these violent seas.
A patrolling Indian navy frigate quickly identified the vessel as a "mother ship" — a mobile attack base used to take gangs of pirates and smaller speedboats into deep water — and ordered it to stop and be searched. "They responded on the offensive and said that they would blow up the Indian naval ship," Commander Nirad Sinha, a navy press officer, told reporters in New Delhi. Then the pirates opened fire.
The Indian's not being timid ass clowns like our American Navy fired back and sunk their ship. It is good to know that there are still real men on the planet who aren't afraid doing the right thing. In the past I would have joked about outsourcing the military to India but now actually would say that it is a good idea.
American's are too freakin paranoid about perception management and are allowing us to loose our security. Peace through superior firepower has always been the motto and sometimes you actually have to use force to maintain peace.
I guess though someone has figured out the best way to run a military is to ensure that every ship has a public relations officer who can instead present chock-a-block eye candy Powerpoint to maintain perception where India is still focused on reality.
Anyway, Nirad Sinha, this one American salutes your efforts to keep the planet safe...
Signed James McGovern
Former United States Coast Guard
Honorably Discharged 1985...
Enterprise Architecture and Rhetoric
Earth to business: enveloping yourself in yourself doesn't immortalize, it suffocates. If you don't understand how people fundamentally impact your business -- both inside and outside your building -- then go ahead and mummify yourself. You'll be a museum exhibit for Business Ignorance and Failures. Back behind the Egyptian treasures display.
Companies need to focus on people over process and recognize the human, coming to the realization that the Network is the People, not the hardware, stupid, a crystal-sharp prescient vision of what all this means that rises above the jargon, the cover stories, the glowing 'billionaire of the moment' interviews and the fawning rip-n-read 'reviews' that make up so much of the conversation these days. All the emphasis so far has been on the 'technology' on the 'information' without ever standing back and realizing that all these things would be pretty freakin' boring if it wasn't for the people creating and operating and transmitting and communicating over the tech.
Enterprise architecture needs to enable our business to take one giant mondo step closer to the point where the technology finally disappears into the background where it belongs and focus on the content of the conversations. We are having a knowledge crisis and the only thing that matters now is conversations. We need to wake up others to realize that knowledge doesn't exist within computer databases, sharepoint sites or the latest fad in a Gartner hype cycle.
This distorted view of knowledge and the savage but otherwise idiotic practice of perception management ignores the fact that the repeat after me sterile humorous monotone of executive rhetoric is being replaced by networked micro-cultures that exist outside the analog of time and space. In a hyperlinked world, everyone is your next door neighbor.
Wake up calls have a tendency to be ignored, except by those with some sort of urgent agenda. Some people get a wake up call they didn't put in for....they get awakened. The idea, then, should be to spread the word and see what reaction comes in. And, as that reaction is the initial step in a conversation (it isn't a conversation until it goes past a statement), the dance begins...
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Blame IT for failures on Wall Street
Did you know that a significant portion of all trades executed by Wall Street don't have human intervention and are submitted by computers? Did you know that you can write your own trading algorithms and put computers directly in the NYSE data center to avoid the latency of network hops to make your bad programs execute even faster?
Would we have had a subprime crisis if Wall Street banned algorithmic trading? The notion of Quants has the ability to take a bad situation and make it even worse. More importantly, many used quant strategies as a way to hedge their other bets but never considered that the logic behind the programs might be flawed...
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Enterprise Architecture and Underpants
Cardspace is busted when working with Instant Messenger Clients
Within many corporate environments, the popularity of instant messaging is on the rise. Have you ever noticed that many instant messaging clients have a feature that monitors the desktop so as to detect the status of the user? Did you happen to know that this functionality can trip up an identity selector?
Shouldn't these two things coexist? I know that Microsoft is aware of the challenges in using Cardspace when you also have some of the IM clients but if Cardspace is going to become popular then they need to address this asap. Hopefully, MS can provide guidance in a public manner as to whom is more at fault and what needs to change in terms of how applications are developed...
Monday, November 17, 2008
Are you enterprisey?
Do you have a Chief Security Architect who has to amplify security policy even though he knows that the requirement to change your password every few weeks has been proven to decrease security? Your company is now pursuing CMMi to make things more efficient yet everything becomes more difficult? Every time you have a meeting with someone from another "organization", your boss feels the need to attend?
Does it take two weeks to plan for a one-hour task? How many people are involved in this planning? Can you count them on one hand or do you run out of fingers? It would be sad if you also ran out of toes as well. I bet you feel like you work in the Whitehouse with George Bush in that there is at least one very senior manager that is universally acknowledge to be completely incapable of doing his job, but purely political considerations keep him there. Another four year term...
Interesting Metrics on Blog Traffic
I am curious if there is something about the style of my blog and whether I am doing something that prevents conversations or has the blogosphere as a whole moved away from shared dialog to more article format. I am curious to know what others are seeing in terms of their own blog traffic...
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Enterprise Architecture: Increasing profits by focusing on the human aspects of technology
Activism has been replaced by political correctness and some enterprising soul may realize that as brand loyalty disappears that the ultimate strategy isn't about marketing but is all about the human aspects of technology. The issue isn't about better prices or selection. The deciding factor is where you have made a commitment to the discourse.
Consider why sites such as Amazon and eBay are successful. Is it because they provide a mechanism to allow for reviews where customers can interact with each other? The smart companies turn themselves inside out, revealing their insides to the public, and bringing their customers into the fold, making them an integral part of the company's sales, marketing and support organizations. Brand loyalty is replaced with a commitment to success. If they fail, then my contributions are gone forever, so would I ever let that happen...
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Enterprise Architecture: Are the creation of roadmaps an antipattern?
Haven't we learned that multiple year projects tend to flame out? Why do we believe that success is solely based on financial decomposition where one big project now becomes a handful of smaller ones? Shouldn't we acknowledge that failure has more to do with our ability to see the future and that none of us has a crystal ball?
Have we also noticed that many large enterprise software vendors no longer do roadmaps for their products? Ever seen one for say salesforce.com? If large vendors that run our IT ecosystem are moving away from roadmaps, why aren't we? Are we hooked like crack on them?
Don't hold your breadth waiting for insight from Gartner on this emerging trend as the likes of Brenda Michelson of Elemental Links or James Governor will likely uncover the revolution first...
Friday, November 14, 2008
Enterprise Architecture: So, what are you really worth?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Becoming a Book Author
Way too frequently, I run across authors whom after the fact solicit my opinions regarding working with Manning Publications. At some level, they are a successful publisher in which there are many authors I know that have had great experiences while I run across an equal amount who have gotten burnt by them.
The common pattern seems to be one individual named Marjan Bace who has figured out how to exploit the naivety of IT folks who simply want to contribute back to their craft. On the Computer Book Authors Yahoo Group, you will find many well meaning authors who have spent nights and weekends writing their manuscripts, spending time working on their passion only to watch Marjan at the absolute last minute pull the rug out from under them.
Writing a book is a sign of character that unless you have done it before, you won't understand. Do you know what it is like to spend hundreds if not thousands of hours away from your friends and family only to know that some IT cheese whiz head is going to complain that a book is too expensive or to post negative reviews on Amazon?
Not that I am against feedback, but it is rare to receive constructive feedback. For example, if you look at many of the reviews on Amazon they all fall into a pattern. For any single author book, the usual complaint tends to gravitate towards the amount of depth covered. Of course this can be solved by purchasing multiple author books, but then another pattern emerges where folks complain that the book feels like it was written in different voices.
For the record, I think that consumers of IT books need to understand that books will not be written that can benefit you if you don't do a better job of supporting authors that spend their time writing. More importantly, I think that consumers should also avoid book publishers such as Manning that don't treat the authors with the respect they truly deserve...
Enterprise Architecture and the failure of Smalltalk
Even though the news is filled with stories of investors losing their shirts, there are still others that thing they are smarter than others and are still buying properties. This reminds me of the fact that there are a handful of sales people still pitching Smalltalk as a language for development even though the rest of the marketplace knows better...
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Enterprise Architecture and Organization Driven Dehumanization
When was the last time you had a genuine conversation with one of your coworkers? Do you know how the person that sits next to you is truly doing? Barack Obama said that if we are to sustain ourselves as a people, then we must each do our duty to help those in need. With so many people being at risk of losing their homes, I wonder if we should simply smile and repeat the indoctrinated message as given to us by human resources when they lose their jobs as well.
the current manifestation of the corporation is, in part, our progeny. What drives the actions of the corporation is the objective of its leaders: "maximize shareholders equity." In a vacuum this is a noble goal. Where it goes wrong is the fact that the owners of the corporation are anonymous. They do not have to answer for the actions of their hired guns. How often do you see a role call vote in any political body? The aversion to expressing an opinion seems to be pervasive today which has led to the reality we now face...
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Indian Outsourcing and the mistreatment of workers
Why do we cap salaries and attach the employer to the Visa? Somehow this benefits American IT workers. How? For American IT workers it restricts supply in the market and limits our own salaries. Our guests are forced to live below standards due a professional and in constant fear of terminated employment. This fear limits their input in valuable professional dialog.
Hitler terrorized those who practiced Judaism yet millions of Germans exercised their right to remain silent for fear of termination. While no one will die, it doesn't make the practice of what we do right nor does it give us permission to ignore the struggle of others. Maybe we are too comfortable driving our Mercedes and Lexus while our guests can barely afford a Camry. Maybe we like the fact the we can shop at Nordstrom's while our guests shop at Walmart.
I say that when we have a guest worker in our country they should be free to seek employment and salaries as they see fit and as the market will bear. Unchain them from particular employers and level the playing field. I also think that american companies who use outsourcing should have published ethical standards (put on the corporate homepage) and follow up that assures the employees of the outsourcing company are employed to the same standards as workers here.
Sure, bloggers such as myself in the past have thrown daggers at the poor quality of code produced by our guests (and will continue to do so in the future) but never really dived deeper as to why. No matter where, people who are overworked do not produce the same quality of code. Standards will prevent ignorant and ultimately counter productive management. We need transparency to not repeat the evils of the past...
Thoughts on IBM and Accenture
At some level, some companies have siloed thinking while others don't. Some believe that networking is based solely on personal relationships while others believe it is based on helping out others within your enterprise regardless of personal relationship.
A couple of weeks ago, I was pinged regarding a seminar on data warehousing that looks pretty good. My day job has absolutely nothing to do with this topic nor do I even know 3rd of the folks in my own company that have this as their day job, but in the best interest of them, I forwarded the invite and figured that they would decide.
I guess I feel that I shouldn't moderate/censor what others get to participate and the best method is to be open in all of my interactions. I have observed this same thinking within Oracle, Sun, Microsoft, Wipro, Cognizant, McKinsey and other Fortune enterprises on my side of town. I would love to gain insights as to why IBM and Accenture think differently in this regard...
Monday, November 10, 2008
Knowledge Management or should I say Knowledge Crisis 2.0...
When will companies realize that they have nothing to loose by empowering their employees? The question of what happens if we train an employee and they leave is on the tongue of many during these times of budget cuts. I am curious why they don't ask themselves what happens if they don't train employees and they stay...
OWASP Hartford: November 2008
What is your definition of privacy? Bet it doesn't align with how a lawyer may define it? Did you know that privacy considerations is the next frontier for web application security professionals.
If these topics interest you, consider attending in person, the Hartford Chapter of OWASP. It will be held on the 11th starting at 5pm and is free to attend. You will even be fed and there are lots of cool door prizes...
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Links for 2008-11-09
Joe McKendrick blogs on Gartner opinions. I wonder if he would be willing to talk about the current model of industry analysis and then ask enterprise customers if we are disillusioned with it. Maybe he could comment on the insights provided in this blog...
Why are so many software vendors wasting their money on industry analysts? If we acknowledge that influence is moving further down the ladder yet the published research is targeting those higher in foodchain, then are you spending your money in the wrong way? It is important to separate out who has influence vs who has budget when attempting to pitch large enterprises
Saturday, November 08, 2008
My Awesome Job: Enterprise Architect, IBM
Notice, how they focus on her hobbies and the last book she read which actually has zero to do with work. I guess I can say that I like my own job because my son's teacher feeds homeless midgets in Palestine.
Did you see her latest accomplishment? Within a large company, application architecture tend to be complex, because of the weight of the history and legacy applications that were developed to support a specific process and specific set of offerings. What does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Pretty much every company that is more than a couple of years old has a legacy of technology.
Questions they should have asked include?
1. What makes your boss wonderful?
2. Could you describe not the process used at work, but how it feels?
3. Do you think you have achieved work/life balance?
4. Have you done any volunteer activities with your coworkers that have made a difference in the community you work?
5. Does your employer provide you with time to pursue activities that are of interest to you such as working on open source projects?
For the record, I have positive answers to all these questions. Maybe, they should have interviewed me instead. It would be curious if others could trackback and provide their own answers to those questions...
Friday, November 07, 2008
What is the Carbon Footprint of Management Consultancies...
Can clients really justify movement on a week-to-week basis when for five days of the week one happily enjoys the hospitality provided by the client at the project location? One can understand a monthly furlough. Catching the late flight back home every Friday & the early flight back every Monday cannot be great for the project, client, or the consultant. The last & the first half of both the days are ruined to an extent.
Will consultancies ever truly do what is in the best interest of their clients? Would they acknowledge that the large enterprises that hire them are under pressure from their shareholders and consumers to be more green and that they should help their clients be successful in this regard?
Recently, I worked with a consultant who flew in from Ohio and always seemed to have lag. She accomplished most of her deliverables but did I really receive her best work if she was even the slightest bit tired? For consultants that have young children at home yet are forced to be away from them in order to be gainfully employed, the thought of something happening still lingers in the back of one's mind if not periodically popping to the forefront.
So, exactly what are clients of management consultancies truly thinking...
Thursday, November 06, 2008
One Year Anniversary
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Check out the OWASP lending team, and learn more about lending teams on Kiva in general, by clicking here...
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Early Poll Results: John McCain is falling further behind...
Vote for Robert McIlree: Chief Process Weenie
Have you heard of Agile Methods? You can fight with small weapons when you are a great warrior.
Has anyone ever noticed that processes never seem to get more efficient in most enterprises once they are installed? Is it because most decisions are based on consensus and that nowadays there are more process weenies than agilists? Are there more people who work in an IT organization but otherwise are not IT professionals?
How come we can't simply say that we need a little bit of process, a lot more competence and just enough people to get the job done. We understand that resources are cheap in India and therefore will accept inflated headcounts. The more people we need to communicate with, the harder the task of communicating becomes.
So, instead of brainstorming strategies around communicating with IT folks, how come you can figure out ways to communicate with less people...
Monday, November 03, 2008
Movie Review: Outsourced
While this movie was entertaining, it was also eye-opening. I learned a lot of things about the Indian culture that moved me. Outsourced is a modern day comedy of cross-cultural conflict and romance. Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton) spends his days managing a customer call center in Seattle until his job, along with those of the entire office, are outsourced to India. Adding insult to injury, Todd must travel to India to train his new replacement. As he navigates through the chaos of Bombay and an office paralyzed by constant cultural misunderstandings, Todd yearns to return to the comforts of home. But it is through his team of quirky yet likable Indian call center workers, including his friendly and motivated replacement, Puro (Asif Basra), and the charming, opinionated Asha (Ayesha Dharker), that Todd realizes that he too has a lot to learn - not only about India and America, but about himself. He soon discovers that being outsourced may be the best thing that ever happened to him.
Some of the scenes that were touching was a discussion that happened in the call center where Americans were training Indian's to sound American. Asha asked a question of why can't Indian's be themselves? After all, the products they are ordering are made in China with a big fat label on the box that says so.
Another scene that was touching was when Todd ventured outside of his hotel to meet a poor family. He walked down the street with a very poor but otherwise very proud gentleman who brought him to his home. His grandmother pulled out a plate and put one scoop of Basmati rice with a little sauce and a Roti. She didn't have much but didn't mind sharing it with an American.
Sometimes us American's lose sense of how the rest of the world lives. While I have relatives in poor countries, they have all managed to lift themselves and I too have forgoten. This reminded me to be just a little bit more human to those in need.
One of the more intriguing scenes was with Todd hooked up with Asha who was engaged to marry an Indian man where she fell in love but decided to follow tradition. The act of balancing love and culture was especially touching. It does make me curious how many Indian women dream of having a holiday in Goa with American men...