Process and Procedure

I have a dear friend who works as an architect for a large company. I won’t say what industry as that would be a dead give away. We talk frequently and during those conversations we often drift into a process and procedure conversation.

When you have been friends with someone for a long time (more than 10 years in this case) you stop worrying about the “building” friendship rules (keep it light, keep it simple don’t stress your new friend out) and get right to the meat of issues that you are facing. Long term friends are people you can share the issues with an not be concerned that they will freak out.

In this case he was talking to the various issues of process and procedure for deploying new solutions in the place where he works. Overhead that when added into the overall solution increases the cost by 20% or more beyond what it probably should cost.

Interesting that in that scenario they use outside consultants to avoid the 20% internal hit – getting the solution faster even though they may pay more initially for an external consultant. It is the easiest way for them to avoid the processes and procedures that slow solution development down.

What in effect has happened is that the process and procedures have actually caused the solution to die.

Interesting problem to have to solve, and of course my friend (being brilliant) came up with a great “work around.” But my mind drifts to the question “why not kill the process” rather than work around it.

It seems to me right now that busineses and IT are locked in a battle. The battle isn’t one that should exist. In fact I think the time has come for IT and the Business to partner in the simplification process.

Overall it is not that hard to remove processes and procedures that are barriers. In fact, my recommendation to most organizations would be to allow for rapid prototyping of solutions to see if the value is in affect and effect what they were requiring.

Its fall, change is in the air. So let’s let change happen in IT!


Sense and sensibility

Of course spelling is not my strong suit 🙂

Today is question day, no answers just questions:

  1. Is there a logical reason why patterns remain the focus for Archtiects?
  2. We’ve seen SaaS and SOA rise recently, what’s next?
  3. What’s so extreme about agile programing?
  4. The answers to the problem are often lost in the details of the reality arond you, why is that?
  5. How many licks to the center of a tootsie pop?
  6. How long before someone who isn’t doing their job, destroys the job they aren’t doing?
  7. How can  you win an award, while being told to never come back to one of your companies largest customers?


Mobilty, is it truly ready?

We were waiting in the car yesterday as it was raining. I wanted to know what the forecast for the rest of the day (and possbily the week) would be. I loaded my mobile weather channel application and in the short time it took to load I could tell there was bad weather coming.

Personally I am a weather junkie. I have a weather station at home and often pay attention to the weather for a variety of reasons. That truly amazed me however.

So I started thinking about the impact these mobile applications could have on my dream “transitional Services”. Moiblity where you remove the impact of replications becomes a critical application. A replication engine that is selective makes the process even stronger. Are mobile applications ready?


An architecture for your children

Yesterday i talked about the experiences and things that led to me moving from career and ending up as a software architect. The thought I had once I posted that blog was that there were other people around me as well.

My children (like i did when I was younger) have been to Asia. Asia to me is the perfect combination of old and new. A society and culture that is more than 5000 years old.

My children have been to other countries as well – although Europe is still in the planning stages.

I stood in the snow for 5 hours to get my step daughter in the school for creative and preforming arts in Cincinnati. Turned around and stood in the rain for 5 hours the next year to continue my step-daughter’s school as well as add my daughter to the process for kindergarten.

Schooling is important. when we moved from Cincnnati back to Indiana we choose a house in a top Indiana school district so that the kis would all have a great chance at an education.

The inputs are similar when you consider the ultimate goal (helping your children be successful).  You have to consider their knowledge acquisition solution (school) and balence that with their moral and ethical directions (much harder this is a combination of religon and parents).

The outputs are what you are trying to control – and the reality is you do the best you can.


The architecture of me

I have been in the software business now for 20 years. During that time I have changed. When I started out I was a former school teacher and focused my IT career on continuing the skills that got me to where I was. Communication and education were the focus areas for my initial IT career. I started out in computers as a trainer and then moved to the helpdesk. In both cases I was communicating and teaching.

As I moved into IT I started planning and thinking about what I could do to expand the process’ and procedures that I owned. I actually ran a mail system that connected to Lotus Notes, Microsoft Mail, CCMail and eventually Microsoft Exchange and the internet. It was a dial up system before the advent of the internet that grew into an internet based mail system.

That was my first change.

My next change came when I left IT and became a consultant (which takes me back a little – as consultants focus on communication) but I also began developing more and more business skills.

I suspect, if you asked me ten years ago I would not have come up with the solution and final state that I ended up achieving. I didn’t really have an architectural plan that would show me the component peices of where I would end up.

But, I do now have the architecture of me!


if an (architect/architecture)were a tree what tree would it be?

Years ago during an interview Barbara Walters asked Katherine Hepburn tha imortal question, if you were a tree what kind of tree would you be?

The question I am pondering today is if architects and architectures were trees what kind of trees would they be?

1. saplings…why? they need to be able to bend with the changes to the solution that always occur.

2. redwood…why? leading by influencing and example often means you have to be big enough to be seen.

3. a forrest, rather than a single tree, able to withstand huge changes (tornado, fire) but maintain enough to fight back and re-establish your solution.

4. a tulip (or other fast growing trees) so that you can take root in a team and grow quickly into the role that is needed.

What kind of tree are you? Are you the kind of tree that Shel Silversteen wrote of (the giving tree)? Or are you more of a blocker (I can’t see the forrest because of that big ugly tree right there).

Its an interesting question for a friday.


The great calendar bake off

Over the yaers (now over 20) i’ve been in and around IT I have had a number of calendars.

Today there is a calendar sitting on the fridge at my house. It isn’t very portable or flexible (can’t be reused by four or five peope at once as there is an island in our kitchen that blocks access for anyone other than the first peson reading it). It is however, where my wife and kids track their important events.

Meanwhile I have a calendar at work that I use. It tracks my time, travel and other critical events related to my job

The two are incompatible (written and electronic) which means they are in constant conflict.

Now internally if I wish to request vacation I have to use a third calendar.

None of these calendars talk to each other – so I have to be the go – between. This results in a number of timing issues.

Ical was supposed to get us closer to this solution and further distance us from this problem. But a standard cannot be written so that there is no variance between two readers – humans interpret calendars differently!

What can we do? I need a single life calendar (with preferably no end date – that would make me nervous).

How can we build that?