Saturday, June 30, 2007


Bringing Enterprise Architecture to Small Enterprises who otherwise couldn't afford...

I remember early in my career when I worked for CT Community Care as a programmer analyst in the early 90's when the notion of client/server first appeared. We knew at the time that we needed something other than our HP3000 mini-computer in order to be successful and started looking at SQL Server and Powerbuilder. They weren't chosen because anyone had experience, but were because the local consulting firm had a training class in it and we could only afford to send a couple of people to local training whereas other competitor languages were more expensive across a variety of dimensions.

Luckily, we were successful and didn't fail at our goal. Way too many small enterprises and non-profits expose themselves by taking risks using technologies that they neither have the expertise in nor are able to hire. It has been my thought that I should somehow figure out a low cost model for these businesses to gain access to the same talent that large enterprises can afford.

Awhile back, Stowe Boyd and others talked about the notion of advisory capital. Most recently though, I had an interesting email exchange with John Newton of Alfresco fame. Being savage at multi-tasking, I happened to be reading the blog of James Governor of Redmonk and his thoughts on declarative living when Knowledge Crisis suggested to me how he helps others have a great day. Collectively, these three individuals reminded me of a past blog where I commented on becoming an industry analyst.

I have decided to throw my hat into the ring but in a slightly different way than I have talked about in the past. Since, I have a decent salary I figured I don't need to be greedy or as expensive as either consulting firms nor industry analysts in terms of advice but needed to figure out how to provide consultation after hours. I have decided to make myself virtually available via Kasamba and you can connect to me here.

Advice is not provided to small enterprises and non-profits but also software vendors. Many software vendors simply are disconnected and do a lousy job of selling to large enterprises and need guidance from someone who is actually in an enterprise. Some vendors will ruin their reputation by attempting to leverage an informal network or worse yet attempt to iterate their presentations by presenting to enterprises and tuning on the fly without ever asking themselves how much potential sales opportunity does this method of being cheap cause them to lose in terms of business.

Some software vendors use industry analysts as proxies in order to tune the message but at some level, software vendors need to ask themselves how often do these analyst firms actually talk to folks like me? I suspect you already know the answer and therefore you should ask yourself whether their advice is suspect.

Practicing your pitch on a person who hasn't just worked for a large enterprise in the past but currently does will provide software vendors with better insight than those industry analysts whom many haven't ever been employed by a Fortune enterprise.

Anyway, so many others use their blogs to promote their consulting/advisory services, their books and other so-called value propositions which makes me wonder if I should do the same. Of course, I feel slightly dirty for doing such a thing, but hopefully I can make it up to you in the near future.

At a minimum, I will post periodically on how well my advisory services are working...

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Links for 2007-06-30

  • Liferay, Alfresco, SugarCRM and more
    His is a link to a job that sadly isn't for my own employer. Feels like an almost perfect position

  • Alfresco and Microsoft Goodness
    Microsoft is helping Alfresco expand its market with SharePoint. When Microsoft helps out open source companies, everyone benefits well except Nishant over at Oracle with his Stellent product

  • Open Source is not only about innovation, but also acceleration
    I wonder what Kevin thinks about in terms of accelerating ECM vendors to adopt industry standards such as XACML and SPML? Maybe even consider binding at runtime to Active Directory vs requiring a local store which equates to duplication and additional syncronization

  • Long Term Success vs Short Term Success
    Taran Rampersad discusses how success should be measured and it is worth a read. I wonder if there is an opportunity for both of us to work together to encourage other Trinis to blog? Maybe a co-written guest article in the Guardian or Express?

  • Catalyst Interopathon reveals sea change
    Great to see that vendors realize the importance of interoperability and that Microsoft is at the center of enablement. I wonder if the next step for the identity community is in helping incorporate their learnings into enterprise applications such as, Siebel, Peoplesoft, Documentum, Intalio and Alfresco?

  • Desperately seeking identity services
    Bill Dettelback of BEA comments on interoperability and in stealth hypes of BEA offerings. I wonder if he believes that much of what he discusses requires reference implementations. Maybe he could comment on how BEA could show leadership in the XACML space by not just constructing an open source implementation of XACML PEP but also working with open source vendors such as MuleSource, Intalio, Hyperic, LogLogic and others to incorporate. Surely, he doesn't believe it will happen based on solely reading of specifications especially if security isn't your primary focus?

  • Catalyst
    The folks at the Burton Group should be especially proud of themselves for putting on a wonderful conference. The rumor mill tells me that there were several Gartner attendees in stealth mode attempting to figure out why Burton Group events are so successful. I hope the Gartner analysts who were in attendance will reveal themselves, otherwise I will probably share their names in the future

  • The Agile Method and Other Fairy Tales
    Are your IT executives capable of recognizing well-spoken but otherwise bad practices?

  • David Cleland
    How many folks have heard of him?

  • sOA, ESB, etc
    I wonder if Mark Masterson of CSC could comment on whether he believes that BPM and Workflow should integrate with other systems not only in terms of message passing but also security context and whether this should be based on standards?

  • James Taylor on his new book
    James Taylor of Fair Isaac fame is working on a new book. Since he didn't ask me to review nor provide an endorsement, I figured I would comment. One of the things that is frustrating about the business rules community and prior books by folks such as Ron Ross and Barbara Von Halle is that they aren't actually about business rules and are more about general project management than anything else. The marketplace has been screaming for a book on business rules architecture which no one seems to desire to write or maybe don't have sufficient knowledge to?

  • Lack of ECM standards
    I really hate this quote: Frankly, James, WSDL for ECM seems to me like exactly the wrong thing to do. If ECM isn't dealing with resources, then by God, what is? Therefore, it seems obvious to me that, whatever we do in the ECM space, it damn well ought to be RESTful. I wonder why folks aren't aware that WSDL 2.0 can also describe REST services?

  • The key to happiness - outsourcing
    Rumor has it that both TCS and Wipro have plans to outsource their internal helpdesk to Cognizant in order to gain efficiencies and allow them to focus on higher value services. Sounds like a great move

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    Friday, June 29, 2007


    Links for 2007-06-29

  • Some IT outsourcers will cease to exist
    My humble prediction is that Cognizant will take significant marketshare from Wipro, Accenture and TCS over the next several years. They were the first ones to truly embrace diversity for competitive advantage and to not hire folks from a single national origin

  • Leaders or Managers - is there a difference?
    It is a good sign when folks can ask questions like this of their organization

  • CYA - or the art of doing bugger all through paperwork
    Cover your arse (or ass for those in North America, although covers donkeys I don't know) or CYA is one of the most crippling inhibitors to change in any organisation. Often dressed up in the weasel words of "considering all the possibilities" it is all about making any job seem so much bigger than it actually is.

  • Unsatisfactory Outsourcing
    One of the reasons why some outsourcing deals go down the drain is because of the number of unsatisfied customers that these outsourcing deals handle.

  • U.S. Navy Awards Raytheon $16 Million for the Open-Architecture Ship Self Defense System
    I predict that in order for this to be successful, Raytheon and the Navy Enterprise Architects have to abandon the Zachman framework and government ceremonial processes. Hopefully the enterprise architects at the OMB are smart enough to stay out of the way

  • CSC to slash hundreds of jobs
    Normally, you only here of Americans opinion against outsourcing. I wonder what makes folks in the UK less vocal?

  • Ruby on Rails as a platform of choice?
    Does anyone know if Ruby on Rails is more secure? After all, putting up insecure approaches to the Internet would be dumb unless one could factually prove otherwise

  • Does the Agile Project Leader exist?
    When was the last time you found one in any Fortune enterprise whose primary business model wasn't technology? I rest my case

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    Thursday, June 28, 2007


    Links for 2007-06-28

  • NetMesh to participate in User-Centric Identity Workshop
    Johannes Ernst mentions the OSIS project which is one of the more brilliant efforts undertook by the community. I wonder why he didn't attempt to do this activity under OASIS or Project Liberty though. Anyway, I think one important thing would be to outline by industry vertical, what are the necessary claims that are required as part of user-centric approaches. Maybe this is an opportunity to expand the realm of claims to include various forms of licenses and other impediments that currently delegate user-centric approaches to consumerish pursuit while ignoring real electronic business

  • So how do we get to vendor/customer power equality?
    Doc Searls is one of the brightest minds in the blogosphere and questions privacy policies of others. The one thing that I believe that Doc hasn't commented on is who else benefits from the lack of equality between vendors and customers? I am of the belief that industry analysts also prefer the status quo.

  • SOA, REST, ESB, good, evil, etc
    Tools and architectural styles are never evil. It is the folks who substitute process for competence that are. While on this topic, I really wish that Tim O'Reilly would use his popularity to talk about meaningful subjects that face IT professionals at large like outsourcing. If he can coin terms such as Web 2.0, why can't he brainstorm what CMMi 2.0 would look like? Imagine all those folks in India who savagely pursue CMM and the heavyweight processes it brings all of a sudden being forced to be agile.

  • What if what your'e modeling really is anemic?
    Mike Witters comments on software development in Java. I wonder if he programmed in Smalltalk in a prior life?

  • The Next Big Language
    Some folks believe that Erlang could be the next language further taking away marketshare from Smalltalk. My prediction is that D will be the next hit. I am curious why no one in the blogosphere has asked whether Smalltalk from vendors such as Cincom should become open source?

  • John Edwards supports open source for voting systems
    I really hope that every blogger believes the same

  • Price is what you pay, value is what you get
    An organization that can reliably deliver quality software is extremely valuable. If they can do so faster than their competitor, they are even more valuable. Then why is it software consultants are paid by the hour?

  • National Idiot Day
    If you were thinking about George Bushitler then ring the bell

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    Wednesday, June 27, 2007


    Links for 2007-06-27

  • Outsourcing: How to skirt the law
    Good to see that other bloggers are amplifying this story. Sadly, I haven't heard any software vendor or industry analyst comment

  • The unimportant SOA catalog
    Nick Malik shares his wisdom as to why the notion of an SOA catalog is doing a really good job of solving the wrong problem. I would love for Brenda Michelson of Elemental Links and other analysts to comment

  • Lack of ECM StandardsGood to see that others appreciate why ECM standards are important to enterprise architecture teams. Likewise, he acknowledges that there are four different standards in the same space which I believe is good at some level. Standards should continue to evolve where they continue to solve new problems and the ECM vendors are asleep at the wheel. I really need to motivate John Newton of Alfresco to seize the leadership opportunity in this space

  • Microsoft launches new open source projects
    I wonder why Kim Cameron allowed this announcement to go out without any working software to download? It shouldn't have been too difficult to find a competent Java or Ruby developer on the Microsoft campus to write more code. I suspect though that they can't admit to writing in superior languages when at home. This reminds me to leak information on invoking the Cardspace Easter Egg

  • It's only a flesh wound
    Ever hear of any blogger in the security/identity space get excited about attending a Gartner conference? It seems as if Burton Group Catalyst in terms of desire to attend wins hands down.

  • The ECM-SOA divide
    Tony Byrne of CMSWatch comments on the brewing backlash against SOA in the content management world. Mostly due to the fact that ECM vendors haven't done a great job of implementing SOA. I suspect now that this is on the radar of multiple analyst firms, this too shall become history very quickly. If not, the vendor who doesn't implement SOA may!

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    Tuesday, June 26, 2007


    Links for 2007-06-26

  • Federated ID: Still not ready for prime time
    Burton Group analysts this week will outline obstacles that keep federation technology from going mainstream, despit its potential to solve big business security problems. They may even comment on whether support for identity federation should be a standalone product or something built into the operating system. It would be interesting if they also talked about the need for federated identity products to support the SAML/XACML interoperability

  • Damn, NOBODY wants this crappy immigration bill...
    It seems as if no one in government is for the people any more and serve masters elsewhere. Being either a Republican or Democrat nowadays is a mental disorder

  • Analyst blogging - is it worth it?
    I am glad that folks are calling out Gartner and their predicted decline of blogging. They seem to be the absolute last analyst firm to realize that blogging is hear to stay and that their analysts need to participate in a larger conversation in which they cannot control or moderate

  • New Enterprise Architecture Portal
    Microsoft beats Sun and Oracle to the punch and seem to better understand the needs of Enterprise Architects

  • Why IT Executives split staffs to create supply
    I wonder why folks haven't figured out that process weenies can rationalize pretty much anything?

  • Access Control and XACML
    XACML is an initiative to develop a standard for access control and authorization systems. Many ECM vendors haven't yet figured out that ACL-based mechanisms simply don't work in an integrated context and something else is required.

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    Why many enterprises aren't contributing to open source

    One of the things that I believe is a reason for enterprises not contributing to open source is that it is diametrically opposed to the notion of a full-time equivalent (FTE)...

    If you ever been in a large enterprise, many of the process weenies running the asylum encourage heavyweight processes where they attempt to level all software developers into one big category where they are all equal. Non-technical project managers tend to get assigned available resources and schedule projects using the estimates of resources who are otherwise mythical. Have you ever in your travels ran across a developer that had the same level of productivity as another?

    Open source introduces variability into the equation and doesn't fit nicely into the FTE mindset of process weenies. Some developers have affinity to one language, architectural style or even product that makes it incredibly difficult to schedule down to the hour what some unknown resource will require in terms of time in order to make adjustments to code.

    If you consider large vendors such as Microsoft, BEA and Oracle and the notion of selling a stack, they are successful because they remove variability from the process and enterprises who have non-technical leadershipmanagement have no choice but to pay higher prices...

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    Monday, June 25, 2007


    Would you like to be an Enterprise Architect for Wal-Mart?

    A recruiter contacted me regarding a position as an Enterprise Architect for Wal-Mart. He did several things well in terms of describing the opportunity, first by focusing on the human aspects such as how many public parks are in the area. Later on the description it included the usual stuff like leading strategic planning, governance and portfolio management.

    Later on, the catch emerged: This position carries a dedicated pager or other mobile device and attends Saturday morning meetings as required. I wonder why any Enterprise Architect would need to carry a pager? Is there such a thing as emergency strategic work or is this a way of hiding production support responsibilities that aren't really about enterprise architecture.

    Likewise, I don't mind working on Saturday's as this is what I did this weekend but it was from the comfort of my own living room where I had my feet up on the couch while snacking on Little Debbies. The thought of having to work in the office on weekends is fugly. I wonder though if having Saturday morning meetings is status quo at Wal-Mart?

    For those who will get it twisted, I am not suggesting that one avoid these types of positions. I am of the belief that if you are not currently an enterprise architect but would like to become one, then choosing an entry-level opportunity (my own classification - not Wal-Marts) then this is the way to go. I would be curious to learn if Target has the same practices...

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    Links for 2007-06-25

    The last person that used smalltalk in a production environment

  • Is Smalltalk set for a renaissance
    I was reading several older blog entries from James Governor when I ran across one on Smalltalk. While I will not comment on the language itself, I do think more commentary on the people using it is in order. Smalltalk is dead not because its paradigms are outmoded, but because other languages have offered similar things and have improved generally upon it. The mindshare has moved on. No sane programmer uses it for new applications or systems development. Smalltalk is a has-been language.

  • The Innovation Dilemma
    Do you work for a company or organization that aims to be a leader in innovation and yet can claim only modest results? That must mean you are employed by an enterprise who lacks strong technical leadership and have substituted process for competence

  • OpenID vs CardSpace Smackdown
    Yet another example if idiotic behavior in the blogosphere suggesting that OpenID is better because it doesn't require usage of expensive SSL certificates. Have folks ever stopped to think that if identity were to succeed in other than consumerish applications that SSL is mandatory for transmission of sensitive information?

  • Standards and ECM
    Craig Randall comments on Laurence Hart and a recent presentation on the lack of standards in the ECM domain. I wonder if anyone has noticed that the ECM domain is vastly under-represented in the blogosphere? You would think that at ECM folks would understand blogging as a form of content?

  • State of Smalltalk
    I love the quote: Cincom has done their best to make VS available, including maintennance releases, e.g. for WinXP; i.e. the VW team puts effort into keeping VS alive, even if in a coma. I, however couldn't figure out if they were referring to Smalltalk being a language that simply needs to disappear and that folks who hold a romantic spot in their hearts for it need to be slapped silly or was it more of a comment about the Cincom product management?

  • A highly optimized Smalltalk environment

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    Sunday, June 24, 2007


    Is Open Source Dying?

    I really hate when bloggers only link to articles without providing their own insights, expose gaps nor provide solutions. Figured one dimension that is worthy of further mention is why enterprises whose primary business model isn't about technology aren't contributing...

    Lawyers in corporate America don't give a crap about Lennon or the nobility of Open Source. They do care about defending their enterprise and base all judgements on the legal notion of precedence. The problem with open source (at least within the United States) is that no court case has made it through where one party sued another for usage of open source. The question of intellectual property, especially when it is from a community with no clear identified owner is somewhat problematic.

    Open Source adoption and participation can be increased one-hundred fold if some freakin lawyers were to get off their butts and start suing contributors with deep pockets. Of course we can all predict the legal outcome in terms of not only who would be the real winner (lawyers will get lots of fees for pioneering) in the legal sense but also the value it brings to others.

    What if employees from Sun Microsystems such as Pat Patterson, Don Bowen and others were to get Sun to create a stupid little company that then immediately took all the IP and attempted to sell it as their own or at least use it within their own product where Sun immediately launched a lawsuit against them and didn't compromise forcing a judge to make a decision / ruling.

    This would do more for open source that a bunch of boneheaded bloggers babbling about harmony...

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    Lack of ECM Standards and how it hurts many...

    Word of Pie commented on Technology Standards for the Enterprise, Getting Too Much Attention and I figured I would deconstruct his position...

    I hope that you will consider mentioning it yourself instead of sitting back waiting for others to discuss?

    OK, so at least we acknowledge that standards at some level can aid in productivity?

    I wonder if this proves my hypothesis that 99.9% of all folks in the ECM domain not only have been asleep at the wheel when it comes to paying attention to advances in software architecture but simply aren't even capable of cloning what has been successful for others before them?

    Not sure what to say about this except that not all problems can be solved via Java and therefore standards are required in other courts. How about not duplicating your own identity store and leveraging Active Directory and no I am not talking about authentication, I am talking about binding for profile-oriented information at runtime. How about standards around SOA? How hard would it be to come up with a common WSDL?

    I would love to understand your definition of leading? It feels like there are no leaders in this domain. If your definition of leading is to take a sole individual who is mentally retarded, put him in a round room and tell him to find the corner then I say you are spot on.

    If you think it is about an upstart company then we are already off to a bad start. I would consider Alfresco an upstart yet they haven't even attempted to champion any form of standards in their domain. They are probably focused more on survival which says that you spend your money on things like sales folks instead of developers working with standards bodies.

    Could we at least acknowledge that ECM isn't a standalone domain and that other domains such as CRM, BPM, ESB and ERP may also need to integrate? If a vendor were to stop paying attention to all those little trees and noticed that the forest is quite big, they may have the opportunity to sell even more of their product. Ask yourself, do you believe if Alfreso where the first vendor to have integration with via sforce APIs that they could generate additional buzz which could turn into sales? If Alfresco where to pay attention to security requirements, could they become a strong contender in the enterprise space for e-discovery compliance?

    Not to sound hostile, but I am glad that you acknowledged your own responsibility in the need to help start drawing attention for standards in the ECM world. Lets see if we can figure out others who can participate and together we can all be successful...

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    Saturday, June 23, 2007


    Illusions of Individuality

    Two boxers fight in a ring. One falls to his knees. The other triumphs. Do you care which is which? Well, it's unlikely you'd pay good money to watch just one boxer beat himself unconscious. So it takes two.

    We can model a boxer in a computer and make the two fighters absolutely identical. Let the starting conditions of the fight - the tiny irregularities in the mat, the difference in the noises from the crowd, the breeze blowing across one fighter's back - determine the outcome. A butterfly's wing would do.

    In real life we are all like these boxers. A thought doesn't care whether it is thought by you or by me. As you read this your understanding is no different from mine as I write it. We are just boxers, one up, one down. The feeling that you or I am somehow unique, different from all the other yous or is, this illusion of individuality...

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    Links for 2007-06-23

  • Would you change the Zachman Framework?
    Emphatically yes. The Zachman framework is only useful to enterprises who believe enterprise architecture is about the savage creation of comprehensive documentation that sits on the shelf. The Federal Government is one example that comes to mind. Sadly though Roger Evernden isn't figuring out the aspect of where enterprise architecture is supposed to enable the strategic intent of the business which frameworks that he recommends have no ability to solve for

  • SOAtization of Enterprise Culture
    Pankaj Arora provides a perspective that others should pay attention too...

  • Software Vendor Sales Folks are Evil
    I was thinking it has been awhile since I was even approached about co-authoring a whitepaper with a software vendor

  • Playing Chess with the marketplace?
    I just started reading Rajesh Shetty and his blog and while at some level it is the usual business cliche stuff but at another level very pragmatic. I hope that those in Indian outsourcing firms will amplify his more recent entries and put him on their blogroll

  • Crap we learn in school
    Now that the school year is over, I need to reflect how he has exponentially grown as a little person.

  • BEA AquaLogic SOA Management
    Oracle has one of the best SOA Management platforms and it is years ahead of Actional and Amberpoint. Good to see that BEA is also jumping into the mix.

  • Analyzing the Analysts: Brenda Michelson
    It has been a long time since I commented on particular industry analysts. I was thinking about doing an analysis on Raven Zachary and Michael Cote. Any thoughts?

  • Blog Disclaimers
    In the month of July historically speaking is when I have managed to do my absolute best to offend those who believe that perception is reality and will redouble my efforts. I better update my blog disclaimer

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    Friday, June 22, 2007


    Links for 2007-06-22

  • Doomsday for Tech Graduates?
    Adyasha Sinha comments on the hiring practices of Cognizant and how they are slowing the pace of hiring in India with a preference towards Latin America. As a shareholder in Cognizant I am happy that they realize that they need to diversify along a variety of lines including but not limited to: race, religion, ethnic origin, language, culture and so on.

  • The simple things seldom are
    Nishant Kaushik of Oracle comments on the world of identity management. Good to see that XACML is on Oracle's radar as provisioning identity alone is insufficient. One should also have the notion of provisioning entitlements as well. I wonder if Nishant would be willing to comment in an upcoming blog entry as to how his product will support the creation of Information Cards for Cardspace?

  • ECM and BPM - Are they intersecting
    Sujatha Visweswara comments on the need for these two domains to blend but doesn't talk about the industry standards necessary in order to make this happen. Hopefully, he can get others to start thinking about working together across product lines to create usable, interoperable standards

  • Is Enterprise Architecture Declarative or Imperative?
    I think that others will have strong opinions on this and therefore will sit back and critique emerging responses

  • Enterprise 0.0, Linked Data and the Semantic Data Web
    I wonder if Kingsley Idehen has ever briefed James Governor of Redmonk on Virtuoso? It may be another tool to help build complaince oriented architectures

  • Service Level Automation
    I blogger asked if James were to ask his CIO what his number one expense line item was, it wouldn't be research and development. is 100% true. I would also say it is not the notion of a green data center.The biggest cost of IT nowadays is always people

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    Enterprise Architecture and Consideration of Alternatives

    Many enterprise architects repeatedly set themselves up to fail by solely relying on reports from large industry analyst firms and actually believing consulting firms that they have prior experience when reality may be different. In the world of venture capital, the notion of an exit hasn't yet made it to the world of enterprise architecture which of course starts with the ability to enumerate upfront possible alternatives when things to happen according to plan...

    Of course having too many alternatives is also a trap but there should be some concentration on a limited set of well-formed methods and approaches which help guide the enterprise towards not only alternatives but also towards efficiency and effectiveness. Too many times to enterprise architects establish a direction which is inflexible.

    One may reduce excessive alternatives by having previously thought out objective criteria which then can be used to evaluate the alternatives. Examples of some such criteria follow:

  • Would doing this inflict injury on anyone, damage their ability to live their lives as they choose, or make life worse for people who didn't choose to be involved?

  • Would doing this mean giving up likely small scale, short term success for a risky chance at long term future success? If so, is there a reasonable chance of the long term success being worth the present sacrifice?

  • Would doing this mean giving up one's word or a commitment made earlier?

  • Would doing this in addition to what is already being done cause dilution of effort and confusion of priorities as well as complications and necessity for reworking of existing operational components?

  • Would doing this create a quagmire of confusion and leave a tangled mess for those who may have to deal with it in the future?

  • Would doing this take us away from our core competencies (if you are employed by one of the few enterprises that have figured this out)? If so, would our likely learning curve let us effectively offer a higher value product than those who are already specializing in the area? Would that new expertise be more valuable than doing more of what we are already excellent at doing?

  • How many people would be affected if we succeed? In what ways would their lives be better? What would this mean to society? This of course you work for an enterprise that isn't ran by bean counters who don't have the ability to calculate return on humanity

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    Thursday, June 21, 2007


    Links for 2007-04-21

  • The predicitions of blogging demise are a bit previous
    the folks over at Redmonk absolutely rock. If they aren't on your blogroll then you suck

  • Ranking Industry Analyst Bloggers
    Ian Skerrett gives proper respect to James Governor, Stephen O'Grady and Michael Cote who have done more for the blogosphere and technology at large than they are given credit for. I wish these guys wouldn't be so humble and let some ego peak out every once in awhile. While Doc Searls got me interested in blogging, I suspect that Redmonk is the force that keeps folks participating in an open conversation

  • Open Source Community - friend or Foe?
    Paul Walk discusses practices and strategies for development communities around open source projects which on the surface is easier than reality.The one thing I would love to have a dialog with him on is how to get folks from large enterprises whose primary business model isn't technology to participate. We all at some level acknowledge that business applications are boring and by contributing to open source the enterprise could not only save money but motivate its employees

  • WSO2 to participate in user-centric identity interoperability session
    For folks attending the Catalyst conference, may I suggest you stop by and check out these guys? Their Identity solution has a great value proposition especially for those who don't use MS technologies to develop web sites

  • Better Application Security through XACML
    Jim Reavis as a new blogger shares his thoughts on entitlements and why applications should support XACML. I would really love him to have a conversation with John Newton of Alfresco. If Alfresco in the ECM domain were the first to incorporate XACML before their closed source counterparts, it could be competitive advantage

  • The mechanics of enterprise architecture
    Good to see that folks realize that Zachman, TOGAF, etc are not about enterprise architecture but serve only to document enterprise architecture

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    Interviewing Strategy for Outsourcing

    The problem is you want to hire a developer from an Indian outsourcing firm and most of them are babes in the wood (aka freshers) or bullshit artists. What should you ask in an interview?

    I highly recommend asking the following questions:

  • Which do you prefer: manifest or latent types? Why?

  • What commenting style do you think is appropriate? Why?

  • What sort of documentation artifacts do you like to produce? Why?

  • Do you think exceptions are good, or bad? Why?

  • These questions will tell you a lot. A fresher won't understand many of the questions. A bullshit artist will answer "It depends," and grin "knowingly". Another kind of bad prospect will be opinionated but can't defend their arguments cogently. A good prospect might say, "It depends," and then set up contrasting scenarios.

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    Wednesday, June 20, 2007


    Do you send your child to Private School?

    Let me share why you are wasting money...

    A coworker and I prior to my son starting Kindergarten talked about the notion of sending my son to a better school. I presented the facts that our particular town actually has great ratings up until the sixth grade where test scores crash and that I should leverage the public education system as long as possible.

    I then pointed out an interesting spin on statistics that he didn't know the answer to. Essentially, I asked him does he believe that Valedictorians of inner-city schools are just as smart as those who attend a private school and he collectively said no and believed they would be in the middle of the pack. I then asked him do Valedictorians in less optimal schools manage to get scholarships and he acknowledged yes. We concluded the conversation that sometimes its better to be a smart kid in a dumb school than a smart kid in a smart school.

    The funny thing about statistics when it comes to private schools is that their numbers will always beat their public counterparts. Consider the fact that they can discriminate against undesirable children such as those with handicaps, those with minor learning disabilities and so on. The averages will of course be better. I wonder if George Bush when envisioning no child left behind was really attempting to send a message to ignorant parents. There is no such thing as an undesirable child.

    Anyway, I asked myself a more difficult question that most parents tend to never consider which is how can they make a difference. The outsourcing of education to teachers is simply wrong. I have blogged in the past about myself volunteering as a tutor in math for inner-city forth grade children partially because at some level I am charitable and care about the well-being of others but at another level have empirical data that proves that the effort I put in (and my coworkers) has been successful.

    Each and every parent needs to ask themselves how can they make their school system or at least class that your child attends better. For me I figured out that a little involvement goes a very long way. Today, I will be chaperoning ten kids on a field trip to Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport which is a whole lot more rewarding than beating up ECM vendors for lack of security or talking about enterprise architecture.

    My wife and I this school year also had an informal budget to help out the classroom with supplies. I would frequently make small purchases of $50 from Office Depot to send supplies such as paper, glitter, glue and so on. Next year, we plan to set aside $2K that will be used strictly to make our child's classroom better and bring it to the level of a private school while providing us with the opportunity to save real money...

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    Links for 2007-06-20

  • Microsoft Funds disputed Open Source Study
    Cote of Redmonk within this article from a pragmatic perspective and stated that important question for both developers and users of open source to ask is what goals they want to accomplish without necessarily acknowledging that software in closed source scenarios aren't always chosen for reasons based on sensible requirements. I wonder if Cote is a believer that sometimes enterprises choose alternatives to keep closed source vendors honest and that sometimes the best way to make this happen is by focusing on the most noble of competitors in the open source community.

  • eRoom vs Sharepoint
    A decent analysis of how these two products can work together as well as how they compete. Is there an opportunity for Alfresco to also work with Sharepoint?

  • Successful incompetency in corporate bureaucracies
    Are we (Americans) really as productive as we think we are? I am not so sure. Would folks at some level acknowledge that outsourcing has been detrimental to productivity? If you can get second class IT folks from India cheap, then productivity can be allowed to decline?

  • Does Microsoft get Enterprise Architecture?
    I am of the belief that Microsoft understands enterprise architecture better than any other software vendor on the planet! When was the last time anyone observed either Oracle or Sun doing anything to cater to this demographic?

  • Is Satan having a snowball fight?
    The United Nations has extended its mandate for US-led forces in Iraq after the country's foreign minister said they were "vitally necessary" for security and regional stability.

  • When all you have is a hammer...
    It is knowledge and experience that count. The rest is irrelevant.

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    Tuesday, June 19, 2007


    Links for 2007-06-19

  • Is wider better?
    Alfred Green attempts to answer my question regarding the widening of America and their ability to fit into car seats. We have all seen others struggle in this regard. Maybe this is an opportunity for some enterprising lawyer to figure out how to sue auto manufacturers for disciminating against folks who are fat?

  • Latest Report from CMS Watch
    Others have perspectives on the CMS domain and which vendors are better than others. It is good to see that some integrity in the industry analyst space and not tempering the message solely for revenue purposes

  • Outsourcing 101
    No Indian-based blogger dare comment except anonymously on this particular blog entry as the truth is more painful than fiction

  • Reverse Offshoring is hype?
    CNN comments that Indian companies, which are becoming major players in the international arena, are hiring aggressively in the United States, reversing the earlier trend when they always transferred Indians to work in America on temporary visas. Freshers need to be coupled with those who have real-world experiences in order to ensure client success.

  • Enterprise Systems Integration Architecture
    Vinod shares some interesting insights. As a new blogger, I hope that he continues down the path and shares more frequently

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    Questionable advice and blogging etiquette

    There are many bloggers providing questionable advice on blogging and I figured this would be a great time to throw in my own thoughts...

    New bloggers sometimes spend too much time worrying about perception and etiquette than in having a real honest conversation. Perception is reality equals nonsense. Unless you are blogging in a work context then perception should be the least of your concerns. Be credible and take a stance on something. Don't moderate yourself by only sharing tempered opinions. Folks want to hear about extremes as insight emerges from it where as middle of the road responses do not encourage new memes that others can improve upon.

    Ask yourself, why is Michael Savage, Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh so wildly popular? Is it because they moderate themselves and get caught up in etiquette? When one focuses on perception more than accuracy they miss the opportunity to educate others and to encourage folks to consider thoughts that otherwise they wouldn't have been exposed to. The blogosphere is meant to be a tool to liberate us and to remove the handcuffs that etiquette forces on others.

    Sure, we should attempt to be polite but politeness isn't mandatory. Society is built upon all of us getting along and I am a firm believer that peace is the way of the righteous but I also believe that if you are attack, you should fight back. Let's not get it twisted by becoming savage in the pursuit of perception management and stand up for what you believe.

    Too many folks nowadays in the era of sensitivity figure out ways to allow those who simply aren't mentally fit to run with the big dogs. We need to encourage survival of the fittest. Kathy Sierra was attacked in the blogosphere and lots of folks came out of the woodwork to support her. At no time did they ever ask themselves whether she was guilty of convicting others in the court of public opinion. If we are supposed to believe in equality regardless of gender then we should practice what we preach. Selective enforcement over time results in discrimination which we all should avoid with passion.

    In terms of creating passionate users, the best way to do so is to encourage a conversation and asking for trackback is the best way to accomplish this goal. If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch. Perception management / blogging etiquette is a mental disorder...

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    Monday, June 18, 2007


    IT Executives: I am going to take your employees...

    I'm going to take your employees. You look out over your team, and see a group of people who work for you. I see new recruits. I'm going to lure them away with higher salaries.I'm going to show them that my benefits package is better than yours. I will show them that my training programs are comprehensive, timely, and will help them reach the next stage in their career.

    I'll also show them that training won't be set aside because of "budget cuts", or put on the back burner by an endless parade of urgent projects. I'm going to promise them opportunities for career advancement within the company, then deliver.
    I'm going to show them that we have a culture of respect, and we don't treat people like dirt just because they work in IT. I'm going to give them the opportunity to work on projects that they can be passionate about. I will listen to their ideas, not blow them off because I didn't think of it first.I will earn their loyalty.

    Who am I? I am your direct competitor across town. My employees know your employees. They talk to each other. I am the IT Manager who just successfully got half his staff promoted to new positions, and is looking for the best fresh blood to come in and keep things rolling. I am the VP of IT Services in an unrelated industry, who knows what she wants to accomplish, and knows she'll need good people in order to do it.

    I am the CIO who is insourcing all the IT functions he previously outsourced, and is going to make sure the investment pays off. I am the IT Director of a professional managed services/outsourcing company, who's continued success and reputation is leading me to hire and deploy entire new teams on a monthly basis.I am your company's CFO, COO, and CMO, who are all facing crunches of their own, and won't hesitate to take tech-savvy employees who want to branch out. I'm going to take your employees.But don't worry too much. I'm not going to take all your employees. Just the best ones.

    Just the ones who have all the knowledge and insight. The ones who stay late and get things done. The ones who take care of things while you're sleeping, or chatting, or in another meeting. Yeah, just them. You don't really need them anyway, do you?
    I'm going to take your employees. What are you going to do about it?

    Signed Helpdesk Samurai...

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    Thoughts on Trackbacks, Blogging Etiquette and Comments

    One of my practices is to respond more quickly to trackbacks than to comments left in my blog. Part of my rationale is that I know that a trackback originates from another blogger who is interesting in engaging in a dialog whereas a comment can come from one-off visitors whom if I respond may not return again.

    I have been known to be an activist and have encouraged others to consider charitable acts. I also try to put my money where my mouth is and frequently will contribute to worthy charities if others within the blogosphere take specific action. Trackbacks are in many ways auditable as one can follow the link back to a real blog and can check the history of the blogger whereas comments could potentially come from the same individual using different personas.

    Many book authors such as Kathy Sierra, Dave Taylor and others use their blogs to promote their books which is an action that I prefer to avoid as I feel this is unethical. I wonder if anyone has ever noticed that neither of these two individuals have any form of blogroll on their blog?

    I was thinking about changing my position as I tend to donate all of my royalties to worthy charities and therefore may start promoting my book: Enterprise Service Oriented Architectures only using an approach not used before.

    I wonder what folks would think if I were to give away $250 to the Ronald McDonald House Charities if fifty distinct bloggers trackback to this entry in the next two weeks. I will even double this amount if it happens before Friday.

    Wouldn't it be interesting if Dave Taylor and Kathy Sierra followed suite. I suspect it would be easier to get George Bush to admit he is Hitler...

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    Activities for Boring Meetings

    Haven't we all had our fair share of boring meetings...

    Here are some things you can do to keep yourself amused:

  • Psychedelicize the Meaning: Imagine they're talking about something bizarre or fun. They aren't talking about their "long-term business plan", they're talking about their plan to replace the nation's pets with robots. Or observe attendees' behavior for specific, credible evidence that they are actually robots, aliens, foreign intelligence agents, or escaped mental patients.

  • Try to make the speaker's head explode: Using just your force of will, try to make the speaker's head blow up. They think you're being attentive when you're actually thinking, "Come on, come on. Blow up already. Boom! Splat! Do it. Do it." If the meeting is bad enough, you may want to change strategy and try to make your own head explode. Alternatively, while they're talking you plot how you'll make their head explode when it's your turn to talk...

  • Make a Portrait of the Speaker: Simply draw a picture of whoever's leading the meeting in your notebook. They think that you're paying attention to them and taking notes of key points. In fact, you're looking at their face thinking "...the right eye is slightly above the left eye by the width of a nostril..."

  • Take control: If you have sufficient confidence or clout, and trust yourself to handle potential political/emotional repercussions involved in taking over someone else's meeting, then assume the role of moderator yourself and get things moving. Even if you don't fully take over, a few well-placed interruptions to ask "What's the next item on the agenda?" or "Can you two go over the details later?" can keep things moving along.

  • Indulge in erotic fantasies: Especially if the presenter or other attendees are attractive. Be careful not to stare directly at the object of your fantasy for too long. Males should avoid this activity if there is any chance that they will be asked to stand during the meeting.

  • Argue from Ignorance: Can be parallelized/team building as pooling our ignorance. The key of course is semi-obvious parody.

  • Get up and leave: You probably should be a steward of how companies spend their human capital and should put it to better use

  • Think about Tennis: Pretend your two hands are playing tennis, thumbs their arms, next two fingers feet. Paradoxically the left hand is right-handed and vice-versa. Better to do it under the table in very slow motion.

  • Learn to pay attention: Accept the fact that meetings will always cater to the lowest common denominator. Even in less information dense cultures, you can always learn something

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    Links for 2007-06-18

  • Will this video outrage Americans
    If there is only one thing you do today that is meaningful, I suggest you read this blog entry

  • Staying Alive in the software industry
    Harshad Oak, an individual I have the utmost respect for writes about what it is like to work for an India outsourcing firm. It saddens me to hear that folks in India are being manipulated in terms of disturbing work/life balance and are starting to work 6 to 7 days a week. While I don't know the answer to this problem, I can say that now is the time to stand strong against unreasonable clients. I wonder if I will ever become one?

  • Evolving technology for better privacy
    Kim Cameron shares his thoughts on how technology needs to evolve in order to ensure privacy. He shows digital certificates on the lower end of the spectrum. I suspect that most enterprises are avoiding using this approach and it is dead in terms of cross-company usage

  • On Identity Claims, Unlinkability and Selective Disclosure
    For those who noodle CardSpace and OpenID, you should check out this blog entry.

  • Old for New
    The proliferation of consultancies who have risen to explain the complex phenomenon of EA and SOA will ultimately destroy the discipline IT sorely needs

  • Blogging on
    Mike Walker will be blogging on the topic of enterprise architecture in financial services and seeks advice. May I suggest that the first thing he does is make sure CIO magazine represents first hand opinions of those who are actually enterprise architects. I think CIOs will learn something hearing messages directly from us instead of the tempered response of other CIOs or the distilled response from industry analysts and vendors

  • Five Tips for failproof outsourcing
    It seems as if they left off two tips that I would like to see added. First, make sure that your project has absolutely zero freshers assigned. In fact, demand that only folks with ten years of IT experience be assigned to your account. The second tip may be to not outsource to India and instead prefer destinations such as Trinidad or Brazil who have better quality individuals at similar rate arbitrage.

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