Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Enterprise Architecture: Don't be an April Fool...
Pray, fast and be charitable...
Extreme Frustration in Enterprise Architecture
Sometimes the inverse is also true where you find you need help, have identified the right talent and they get dragged away to work on something they don't care to be on. Enterprise architects usually aren't measured based on technical excellence and demonstrated ability but more on perception management. How many times do you think an enterprise architect gets blamed for crappy software when they were the single person in an IT department innnocent of all blame because they advocated that the software be refactored for years.
Enterprise architects touch things early in the lifecycle of a project and sometimes there is despair when joining a project that is desperately need and even thoroughly funded but nothing can be produced because no one will stop analyzing and you either what they need or the reasons why they are being an impediment.
To add icing on the cake, have you ever been in a situation where the technical decisions are made by the least technical person where you had to be force fed their incompetence and then later get blamed for the resulting poor quality? For enterprise architecture to be successful, we need to fix the fundamentals. Stop worrying about perception management and abstract notions of business alignment and start worrying about the human aspects of technology...
Monday, March 30, 2009
Followup to why you don't want to be like your boss...
Additionally, there's now a move away from valuing material fulfillment, and towards valuing personal and emotional fulfillment. Maybe in the past, people weren't so much wanting to be like their boss, but wanting to have the lifestyle/perks/freedom that they associated with being the boss?
I wonder if we have made the mistake of focusing on Jack Welch GE style compensation when we should have been focusing on how to be more human towards each other...
Followup to Enterprise Gardening
I received a comment that was worthy of amplification...
- "Be wary of arguments by metaphor" OK - maybe I'm just one of those process weenies - and a slow one at that - but I'm still not sure I understand the analogy you are drawing. I would argue that if an organization is as difficult to move as a 50 foot pine tree , the problem is the organization, not the change. Granted that many times it seems that the purpose of management is more to serve themselves or their political ambitions than it is to server their stakeholders. Nevertheless, as the needs of all constituents change, there is a need to be able to adapt quickly. I am not fond of the gardener metaphor, but you may say that the manager is a gardener - constantly pruning here, fertilizing there, and occasionally removing a tree that is diseased or not serving its purpose in the garden. Having a rigid organization with strictly defined roles that don't change may provide people with a sense of clarity and consistency in their lives, but it doesn't serve the needs of business, nor does it take advantage of people's ability to think and create.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
How come no one aspires to be like their boss anymore?
If you believe all the static, all bosses are monomaniacal, idiotic, narcissistic, moronic control freaks. It can't be true....can it? Remember the days when employee loyalty attracted a premium - from both sides of the aisle. Those were the days when climbing up the ladder in the same company was treated a matter of prestige.
In this day and age of 'traveling consultant' where employers and employees seldom value loyalty, aspiring to be like your boss is lost as a goal. In this day and age of 'follow the sun' model - where people not just follow the sun but also the moon - and keep working long hours - nobody takes pride in what they or their managers do. No wonder the managers are looked up (or down) as they are.
In large part this is due to the generational shift in organizations and an "under-management" epidemic. Most bosses don't have the skills to be good managers and most companies don't provide training to counteract this trend. Employees respect bosses who are strong managers and leaders. In addition, Generation X and Generation Y have different expectations about work and are more likely to identify their family and friends as role models rather than their bosses.
Five Questions for Laurence Hart
1. As you are aware, I am primarily security focused and don't spend a lot of time in the world of ECM. As an outsider looking in, it feels to me that the ECM crowd and how they think of SOA is somewhat fragile, an almost one size fits none. Whether it is DFS, Nuxeo or Stellent, it feels like pretty much everyone has to do something extra with so-called ECM SOA before it is truly usable in an enterprise context. Why aren't vendors creating real services that are usable without customization/additional development?
2. Curious to know what languages you program in? Additionally, should ECM professionals at large know how to program?
3. If you had to choose one and only one industry analyst that covers ECM that I should follow, whom would it be?
4. What is the big deal with content management? At last count there are more open source content management systems than J2EE, CRM, SOA, ERP, BRMS and IDM platforms combined! If they are so easy to write, then why is anyone even bothering to pay lots of money for them?
5. On my side of town, I am the chapter leader of OWASP Hartford as well as Agile Hartford. If I wanted to start an ECM user group that is also 100% free to attend, what would be the best way to find others like you within the Northeast to participate? Whom should I solicit as the first guest speaker?
Saturday, March 28, 2009
So when does diversity morph into perversity?
Here are three worst practices I believe the masses have achieved in a CMMI repeatable way:
1. Broadening the focus to include all individual differences when the real issues are based on innate group identities such as race, gender, sexual orientation, national identity, age and/or ability. This general language only serves to insult employees and customers and dissipates the focus of energy on measurable outcomes.
2. Using euphemisms such as ethnic or culture when we mean race…or lifestyles when we mean sexual orientations. An organization’s lack of courage to name an issue with direct language signals to employees and customers a lack of comfort in addressing the real issues. This euphemistic language also signals lack of clarity or lack of commitment to the work of diversity. We must first clearly articulate the issues before we can change them.
3. Assuming that training changes behavior is a common worst practice in diversity. Awareness training to shift perceptions and unarticulated assumptions is critical to change-and must be a part of an overall strategy that includes specific goals, measurement, behavior skills training and accountability. Awareness training alone will not change behavior.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Enterprise Architecture and Sailing
More about sailing that might make it a useful metaphor:
Thursday, March 26, 2009
While many software people and philosophers may dislike the use of metaphor, please understand it's a useful tool for others. It's about establishing a starting point for communication. It's building on a common language.
Digging up plants by the roots and moving them around tends to damage or kill them. "I want that 50 foot tall pine tree moved just two foot further to the left" isn't a very practical request in gardening. Doesn't this kinda remind you of the frequency of corporate reorganizations?
I have met some managers who seem to think that software development is like planting, you can tend as many plant as you want and they will all grow simultaneously, the growth rate of each plant is independent of how many other plants are there. IT executives and their process weenie support staff simply add to the programmer's task list and it will automagically get completed on-time, even though the programmer already has other "full-time" tasks going on and is also swamped with unscheduled "urgent" tasks every day.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
How come everyone loves duckdown.blogspot.com?
With the exception of Robert McIlree, Chief Process Weenie and President of James Robertson's fan club, it feels like my blog is well received and liked by many. Does this mean that I am not trying hard enough?
I would have figured that by now, someone would have created http://ihateduckdown.blogspot.com/ or http://duckdownsucks.blogspot.com/ but this hasn't happened...
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
What is there to do in Munich Germany?
So, I seek ideas on things to do while in Germany. I have spent lots of time on Google and travel related sites and very few tourist spots sound interesting. I guess the idea of touring old castles sounds romantic to some, but I would think of them as just old buildings.
Since I don't drink, I am not sure that I would be interested in beer drinking and that I also eat Kosher I wouldn't consume many of their pork-oriented sausages. I know that they have lots of clubs, but I am married and it would be boring to go to one when it would be bad form to interact with others.
I know I will visit the Glockenspiel and walk around the city but am looking for things to do that won't break my wallet. Ideas in the $20 range are greatly appreciated. This of course rules out theater and operas which I find absolutely boring. Actually, I can't say that they are boring as I have never seen one. The last few times I went to one, I was sound asleep ten minutes after sitting down.
I am game to pack my Gi and meetup with some mixed martial arts folks or to do some Tai Chi, but haven't found any leads in this regard. So, I will have all day Saturday and Sunday morning to travel and would be interested in ideas in other cities provided that they are reachable quickly via train.
If you happen to be in Munich and would like to meetup, don't hesitate to drop a comment or leave a trackback...
Monday, March 23, 2009
Building Security In Maturity Model
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Enterprise Architecture in a declining economy...
Perception management is important, but isn't the ability to fix stagnation more important? Modern enterprises lack agility and most certainly aren't innovative. Whenever you have created a culture that the perceptions of your boss are more important than the perceptions of your customers then you are most certainly doomed to mediocrity if not till eternity.
Cost reductions drive IT to the application portfolio and eliminate redundant technologies. Power vendor strategies and open source will only increase to the detriment of those small vendors who have only one value proposition. Their fate is to lower their prices, to figure out how to become acquired by larger players or become exstinct. In my travels, I have ran across many innovative companies in the space of static analysis, federated identity, ECM and SOA that haven't yet figured out that enterprises are behaving differently in today's economic climate and that they need to remix their approach.
Enterprises are revisiting their vendors and focusing on making their application portfolio smaller. To be successful in this undertaking, one needs to have a mastergrip on business architecture and an intimate understanding of business process. If an enterprise can eliminate specialized processes and in essence commoditize themselves, they can realize cost savings they seek...
European Identity Conference
Saturday, March 21, 2009
How come corporate job descriptions suck?
We all know that no college kid worth their salt wants to be in IT. Is it because we spook them with our job descriptions?
Friday, March 20, 2009
Top 100 Blogs for Software Developers
How does enterprise architecture feel?
If we were to discuss the human aspects of enterprise architecture in an open manner, what could we collectively conclude?
Legion against Meaningless Certifications
You can join LAMN on LinkedIn by searching in the "groups" area. Unlike so many other certifications, LAMN doesn't charge fees, require outrageously overpriced exams, or demand check-the-box continuing education.
P.S. After you join the group, you can proudly write your name
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Information Cards and ECM
It would seem that the biggest opportunity and gap between the value proposition of identity would be in connecting it to documents we read, write and share with others...
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
XACML and SAML - a Match Made in... 2005
Hopefully, Pat can provide clarification on:
- Will Sun be releasing an XACML PAP and PDP?
- Will Sun be releasing an implementation of the OASIS AAPML and CARML specifications?
- If you can pass XACML within a SAML profile, how does this XACML can applied to an XACML application that has its own PDP as additional restrictions?
- If you are passing SAML/XACML via a web access management platform (other than Sun), how does this get integrated into say Siteminder or other equivalent products?
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Podcasting with Gary McGraw
Apologies to AG, I know I need to catchup with him as we keep missing each other. The last time he called, I literally mistook him for a relative of the same name whom I can't stand. They even sound alike on the phone. Anyway, if others are into podcasting and want to make me their victim, I am game...
Monday, March 16, 2009
Enterprise Architecture: Thoughts on Blogging
Recently, I have noticed much of my stimulus has changed. The blogosphere is moving away from conversations and towards simply using it as a platform to communicate thinly veiled media relations sanitized press releases where all forms of communications are void of conversation. If you believe that hyperlinks subvert hierarchy then you would also understand that we somehow are linking to each other less.
When it comes to deep thinking, the variability of thoughts at a professional level have been on the decline as well. Part of this is do to rationalization, while other aspects have more to do with specialization and therefore thoughts get normalized over time. Nowadays, enterprise architects are pioneering a new frontier but instead are simply actors practicing the next script.
Blogging was an opportunity for the real interesting people in large enterprises to come out and play. Nowadays, those same people have been beaten into submission where the enterprise has an armbar on the souls of the masses.
So, why am I still blogging? Maybe it is because I still believe it is possible to remain human and aspire for something long gone or that I think that I will create a void for others who are in worse situations than I would passionately look forward to my posts. Maybe I am consumed by ego and just haven't awaken to smell the coffee.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if I walked down the corridor of any enterprise and all its inhabitants knew my name? More importantly, what if they all found some gem in the words I share and all perception management was mind numbingly positive!
One can dream, but I am not a dreamer. I am a realist and the road to mastery of life isn't in being savage in the pursuit of happiness but in acknowledging that there is one God as the first step. There is no place for religion in modern society, but there is in my life and therefore I must prioritize.
August 24th was the day I arrived on this planet and shall also be the day that I leave the planet blogosphere for another quest. Let life begin...
Team OWASP on Kiva
Check out the OWASP lending team, and learn more about lending teams on Kiva in general, by clicking here.
I haven't had anyone yet join from Oracle, Microsoft or Intalio...
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Enterprise Architecture: The Second Biggest Career Mistake...
Let's agree that there are some individuals that can rationalize any form of behavior. For me, I probably have a stronger morale compass than most which has caused me to sometimes show my displeasure of others.
If I were an IT executive and had to look my fellow employees in the eye and give them the cost cutting speech and tell them how it is good for the company that they are losing their jobs and it will be moved to another country would be something I would fail miserably at. I could never say to myself, better me than you and I need to do this in order to survive and rationalize that it is somehow OK to look the other way and rationalize it because I have my own family I need to feed.
There are way too many people who can blindly follow a process and it takes constitution to act human which will serve as my downfall in modern society. I couldn't imagine having to live with myself having to pick and choose amongst my most wonderful peers on arbitrary criteria such as perception management and whether they are huxters with the gift of gab or technical excellence and demonstrated ability.
Maybe I stop thinking of others as people with lives, personalities, families and feelings and remix my atitude to simply think of those who surround me as human resources. Of course I should focus more on the resource part than the human aspects as they could be tools used for me to accomplish a goal and then be summarily dismissed.
My biggest mistake is in caring about the human condition. I am savage about not throwing others under the bus which also has caused many bad perceptions to remain in my court. The tactic of misdirection is so easy and what is very disturbing is that I know that if I were to attempt it, I would be very good at it. Sadly, I thing my morale compass always points me to a higher ground and will always be my handcuff...
Saturday, March 14, 2009
OWASP Hartford: Scott Ambler
Anyway, this event is 100% free to attend. If you would like to participate, drop me a note on my work email and I will send you everything you need to know...
Friday, March 13, 2009
When is perception management a two-way street?
Is it a bad thing that I don't know the answer to this question? Is it bad that I don't tend to form early negative opinions of others? If I have negative opinions on others it is most usually built up over time and not something that I would even think about or share with others prematurely.
I wonder how well others understand that the best way to manage my perception is to be more human and not just blindly follow an agenda? I tend to take pause whenever I hear of random acts of kindness and charity over the usual hallway conversations. I am privileged to work with many talented and human IT security and enterprise architecture professionals in my day job and wonder if they know that any perception management thinking thrown at me has been positively received...
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Enterprise Architecture and Gardening
Some folks are savage in the pursuit of structure while others thrive in chaos. Enterprise architecture should stimulate, inspire and demand creative disorder, the fertilizer of the innovative enterprise. Fertilizer unlike most enterprise ideas has a nice starting point and will evolve into something better.
Maybe it is because there is a strong fear of failure where we are attempting to take something that has let decomposed and use it for a greater good?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The guilt of purchasing a new car...
My Ford Explorer was the first car I truly desired and loved. Last week, the rear-end locked up on the highway and I had to have the state police push me to the side of the road. The repair ended up costing $695 which isn't much considering the vehicle had a book value of $900.
On Friday night, I had a chat with the guard who oversees the parking lot at work and he told me that his Ford Explorer stranded him as well and had to spend several hundred dollars on a fuel pump. The familiar squeak of both of us determined that both of our vehicles needed ball joints. Anyway, in driving through East Hartford, the vehicle started to buck and I knew that I needed to do something.
Normally, when most folks get a new car, they are excited. For me, I am thinking about the decision of buying something so expensive in a declining economy and hope that this decision doesn't hurt me. Over the last several years, I have prided myself and have bragged to others that I don't have a mortgage payment, student loans nor car payments. Sadly, car payments have returned back to my life.
Chrysler currently has 0% APR so at least I am not guilty of violating God's law regarding usury but wonder if I need to ponder my blessings from above a little bit more...
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Enterprise Architecture: The biggest mistake I have made in my career...
I am a firm believer that leadership requires followership and if no one is willing to follow you then you are not a leader but simply a manager. The biggest mistake in my career is that I had an opportunity to follow a great leader and didn't recognize the benefits of doing so.
In today's society, with Wall Street hitting historic lows, many folks whom I had lots of respect for are on the decline. In good times, it is hard to tell the character of an individual. In bad times, the ones who will still remain human vs those who leverage their survival instincts even when it requires harming those around them become more transparent.
My ego sometimes gets in the way in that I have always taken pride in doing it alone. I have never been installed and no one has ever had my back. Ever notice how some leaders take care of their young even when they do boneheaded mistakes and should be fired? The ability to know that someone is looking out for you at some level allows one to become even greater. The whole risk/reward proposition is fundamentally different when you follow a great leader.
In reflecting back ten or so years ago, when a CIO of another company recognizes not just your talent but your potential and you don't followup on it is just plain dumb. Recently, I ran across an individual who did pick up the trust cues and followed this individual from company to company. The experiences they had not only in succeeding but in also failing miserably has made this person in many ways stronger than I could ever hope to become. At some level, I have never failed which means that not only I haven't been trying hard enough but maybe haven't yet figured out who will save me when I need it the most.
Later in my career, I started to figure out that your reporting hierarchy is literally half of your job satisfaction and I have been blessed in this regard to date. The challenge is that this can change at a moment's whim and what you had today may be gone tomorrow. So, what else can you hang your hat on?
Folks who have interacted with me know that I have never thrown any of my peers under the bus nor allowed them to wander alone in the wildnerness. I wonder if my desire to always be human over playing perception management will be my savior or my downfall? I wonder if I should care less about others and just focus on myself? While I know that this will never make me happy, I do ponder the thought of where I would be if I cared just a little bit less and became a better follower...
Monday, March 09, 2009
Enterprise Architecture: The Human Value Proposition...
Today, I was at the car dealership and ran across someone I worked with in the past and have the utmost respect for. In inquiring about his new employer, he indicated that there were certain aspects of his past employers he actually missed. One of the most telling comments he shared with me was how his organization's culture avoided confrontation and made it more difficult to do the right thing.
So, how do enterprise architects get measured at annual review time and is this different than how they should be measured? As a member of the most vibrant OWASP community, I have observed a pattern that somewhat explains why pretty much every IT security professional I respect is a consultant and not a full-time employee of any enterprise. Being a security professional, you have to be the bearer of bad news. Sure, you can always improve your delivery but over time this works against you as an employee. If you are in a perception-oriented culture and not one that respects technical excellence and demonstrated ability, why would you want to be labeled as the bearer of bad news?
Security consultants unlike their brethren in large enterprises get to isolate themselves from the perception aspects and in fact are embraced for bringing bad news. We all know that the compensation between independent consultants and employees of large enterprises is out of balance, but in the security space it is more skewed than any other domain.
Ever notice how many enterprise architects just hang back just a little and aren't fully engaged? While the business observes lack of alignment, IT observes the survival instinct kicking in. Enterprise architecture has so much potential but it is being stifled in many shops based on how they measure their employees...
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Enterprise Architecture: Meetings 101 and Best Practices
The meetings that I enjoy the most and are very productive have the below characteristics...
- No agenda, we only guessed what we want to talk about
- Purpose of the meeting, only for information, report, coffee?
- Moderator or boss is late up to half an hour
- Raising new topics in the discussion (endless)
- No results, we just talked about the things
- No minutes of the meeting, two weeks later the discussion starts again
- More than one discussion, sometimes private
- No moderation at all
- Extended meetings, the whole afternoon
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Enterprise Architecture: How many meetings do you attend in a day...
Let's go around the table. Hi, I am James McGovern and I am standing in for pointy haired boss of the impediment solutions division. Who else is on the call?
Seriously, You have a problem with schedule. To solve this problem, you start making meetings. People that should be involved with delivering the project start to be involved in this meetings. Project gets later, oh... Yet another meeting will solve it.
A wise executive I know scolds his employees for showing up late to meetings and makes mental notes as to how much wasted time occurs. Imagine if we could equip all the conference rooms in your building with ID badge readers, and big NBA scoreboard-type displays. All meeting participants are required to badge in on their way in the door. The software looks up their salary or contract rates, and provides a minute-by-minute updated view of the cost of the meeting. Unfortunately, this would only capture the direct costs, and not reflect the other inefficiencies related to attending the meeting.
Not all meetings are bad. There is also a tremendous amount of effort wasted when people do not have meetings to ask for clarification, alternatives, or help. When a project is behind, one of the most productive things to do is to get representatives of the development team and the end users together to decide how best to proceed given where we are at today. Likewise, imagine if someone ever figured out the cost of all these meetings where the vast majority of folks who attend aren't prepared to attend.
One meeting tactic that I have been known to encourage those who are behind is to ask themselves whether they would be the stupidest person in the room. If the answer is no, then you probably don't need to make much effort preparing as most meetings slow down to the lowest common denominator.
I wonder how many folks are reading my blog while in a meeting from their Blackberries? I wonder how many meetings I have held up where folks where waiting for me and otherwise wasted a lot of time until I made my grand entrance...