/Tag: Personal and Humor

Ship It!

By |2009-01-16T09:29:00+00:00January 16th, 2009|Enterprise Architecture|

It’s been a while since I was blogging regularly.  The reason: I was in a ship cycle.  As we approached our deadline for delivery of a comprehensive end-to-end information model for information technology, more and more of my time was spent focusing on the details. 

Is it explained well enough?  Are all of the connections correct?  Have I captured all of the reviewers’ feedback? 

In the end, the MS IT Common Conceptual Model is a set of domain models, all integrated with one another:

  • Business Motivation
  • Business Architecture and IT Alignment
  • Business Program Management
  • Business Process Management
  • IT Project Management
  • Service Level Management
  • Analysis and Requirements Management (incl. Traceability)
  • IT Software Development and Testing
  • IT Software Deployment (Service Transition)
  • Application Monitoring and Mitigation
  • Operational Traceability and Notification

It has taken over a year of hard work, first by Bob Sturm to lay the groundwork and then by myself to roll the model to an initial version, to get to this date.  Whew! 

I’m sure I’ll still be involved with this, and I may end up writing a book about it, but for the most part, I’m done!

We shipped.  On to the next thing…

Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody

By |2008-07-26T02:28:46+00:00July 26th, 2008|Enterprise Architecture|

This is the story of four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.

Consequently, it wound up that Nobody told Anybody, so Everybody blamed Somebody.

New eyes on an old favorite

By |2008-06-29T15:41:00+00:00June 29th, 2008|Enterprise Architecture|

A couple of years ago, Phillippe Krutchen ‘reinterpreted’ the Tao Te Ching of Lao-Tsu for Software Architects (link).  I saw it again recently and I have some new appreciation for the things I saw there. 

I most enjoyed this bit.  (Note that the number is a reference to the original Tao tablet that PK used when creating his interpretation.)  It strongly supports the concept that I most believe in: Adoption is the Most Important Attribute of an Architect.

The architect is content
to serve as an example
and not to impose his will.
He is pointed, but doesn’t pierce.
Straightforward, but supple.
Radiant, but easy on the eyes. (58)

If you want to be a great leader,
stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts and
the team will govern itself.
The more prohibitions you have,
the less disciplined the team will be.
The more coercion you exert,
the less secure the team will be.
The more external help you call,
the less self-reliant the team will be. (57)

Teaching Science with Mythbusters

By |2008-02-19T19:16:00+00:00February 19th, 2008|Enterprise Architecture|

I love the Mythbusters.  Not just because I like to watch them blow stuff up.  (I do),  More importantly… infinitely more importantly… because those two goofy guys are teaching my son to love science, engineering, and experimentation.  Yes, the clips are stripped down of any real rigor, but they have made science fun for thousands of teenager and young adults. 

If just a few of them choose to pursue science, and just a few more support science in their communities, and a few more notice when the film industry bashes science or blames science for the ills of the world, or invents yet another monster because of “immoral science,” then we might move the needle just a little bit towards a country where science matters.

Flattened by the flu

By |2008-01-07T11:00:00+00:00January 7th, 2008|Enterprise Architecture|

Nothing makes you appreciate your health more than spending a week, flat out sick with the flu.  Just as I’m finally getting over all the coughing, congestion, chills, etc… my wife and kids have all come down with the same thing. 

And we all had flu shots this year!

Alas… my hiatus in blogging will probably continue for another week as I take time to shepherd folks to health.

The New Life of Joe – Part One – Off to a cold start

By |2007-09-27T12:23:00+00:00September 27th, 2007|Enterprise Architecture|

Joe Freeflier is not a lucky man.  He’s been promoted.

Oh, he wanted the promotion.  He asked for the promotion, but it is a lateral move, and he had no idea of the difference between his old job and this new, unfamiliar role.  When he came to work for the first day in the new building, in a new city, he was thrust into a series of meetings that he wasn’t expecting, where people were looking to him for ideas, not decisions.  His team filled in, but he felt like an observer, completely out of place.

His wife was so happy when he told her about the promotion.  Joe is a middle-aged guy, a hard worker.  He’d been at the company for about seven years, all of it in the IT team.  He started as a program manager, coming over from the downtown bank where he had been an IT project manager.  He’s a thin man, having lost 30 pounds a few years back.  He’s taller than average, making him look even thinner, and he comes to work in distinctly comfortable clothes. He has always kept a modest and steady approach to getting things done.  He will push for changes, where needed, but mostly his attitude is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  If you want someone to keep the trains running on time, Joe is your man.   

Joe just took over the management of a good-sized IT group in his company.  His group is responsible for all the systems used by the Sales, Marketing, and Public Relations functions within this global multinational company.  Four years ago, each of the operating companies in the multinational had their own Sales and Marketing teams, but they were all brought together under a single executive and he worked to get uniform processes and consistent reporting.  To all accounts, from the business side, the merger was successful.

The IT path was not so easy.  Joe’s predecessor, Micheala Fling, had inherited four sets of Sales tools, four sets of Marketing and communications tools, and tools originally set up for the PR team.  The tools overlapped, created information in different structures.  Business Intelligence was a joke.  When the business teams combined, so did the IT teams, and among the 600 or so developers, testers, support and operations folks, there was no consistent “anything.”   

Micheala turned to a group of SOA architects in the company to fix the problem.  They proposed changes and she made them.  She was assertive and constant, pushing for change without pushing people out or stepping on too many toes.  She had a good relationship with the head of the new combined Sales and Marketing group and she worked to keep it that way.  She completely changed the way her IT group worked.  She used to say “When a toy is broken, you toss it.  When a car is broken, you fix it.  We are discarding the toys and fixing the cars.”  When she left, her staff gave her a toy car.  It was a good moment.

And now Joe has inherited the “fixed” IT that Micheala left behind.  Joe had spent the last four years in the supply chain IT team in Michigan.  Now he was in Ohio, at corporate headquarters, inheriting something that didn’t run the way he was used to, didn’t look like the group he had.  Micheala left to become the CIO of a midsized Restaurant company somewhere out west.  She took three of her top folks with her. 

Micheala changed a lot of things.  She hoped that the changes would last.  This was the test… “The rubber was going to meet the road.”  Could her changes be sustained?  Would the racecar that she had built out of tractor parts hold together with a new driver?  Joe was about to find out.

Fortunately, Joe has Selina Colander.  She was Micheala’s right hand, and helped set up all the processes and policies for the IT team.  When others left to go with Micheala, Selina stayed, and now she was the only thing keeping Joe sane.  Selina is not a tall woman or a thin woman.  An African American with a warm personality, and a taste for brightly colored clothes, she’s the kind of joyful person that people just gravitate to. 

Except right now… right now, she’s in Joe’s face.

(Author’s note: This story takes three blog posts to tell.  The other two entries are linked below)

Part two – Managing Complexity

Part three – The Users are Coming

Washing fences

By |2007-09-08T23:22:00+00:00September 8th, 2007|Enterprise Architecture|

Quality is a skill.  We need to teach it to our children, just as assuredly as we teach responsibility, compassion, and honor.  At work, we need to both embody it in ourselves, and encourage it in those around us. 

I was a SDET for a while.  That’s Software Development Engineer in Test.  I wrote code to test other code.  I never expected my code to see the light of day, and it didn’t, but the code I tested saw millions of computers, and I was proud to be part of the quality cycle.  As an Architect, that ethic is more important than ever, because it is more difficult to detect ‘bugs’ in an architecture.  Quality has to be high when no one is ‘testing’ you.

I spent the day, today, working in the yard with my oldest son, Max (It’s a time-honored tradition in a suburban neighborhood, to spend inordinate amounts of time working in the yard ;-).  Part of the work involved taking a pressure washer and scrubbing years of dirt and grime off my cedar fence.  It’s messy work and if you miss a spot, it shows.  Another task was taking a hand clipper and carefully grooming a hedge between our house and a walkway to a neighborhood park.

Max is just a few weeks from his 14th birthday, a tall, lanky boy with a sweet smile.  He’s pretty typical.  Loves video games, and hanging out with his friends.  He’s growing fast.  But his approach to work is pretty much “do as little as you can to get the work done.”  The output can, at times, appear a bit sloppy.

So I spent the day teaching.  Sure, we were doing yard work, and the hedge looks much nicer now.  But more importantly, I hope that Max comes away from today with a greater appreciation for quality. 

Quality is the art of standing back, looking at a job through another person’s eyes, and judging it as they would.  It is the art of finding the imperfect and deciding if it should remain.  It is a kind of pride: pride in a job well done. 

For me, quality is related to honesty.  If I believe that something is truly good enough, it is because I believe it is an expression, as best as I can muster, of the truth.  I know that sounds esoteric, but there it is.

At the beginning of the day, Max worked to make me proud.  By the end of the day, I think he was working to make himself proud.  I hope so anyway. 

He did quality work. 

Writing down thoughts – harder than it should be

By |2007-08-21T00:06:00+00:00August 21st, 2007|Enterprise Architecture|

I just hit the ‘send’ button on a rough draft of a 10-page document describing key elements of our SOA program. 

It is my attempt to describe, in terms that business people can understand, the reasoning and rationale for our Enterprise Architecture approach to Service Oriented Architecture.

  • Writing down random thoughts on a blog: 30 minutes. 
  • Writing down a coherent argument that attempts to cover the bases and make a case: 10 days.
  • The possibility that someone in an important role may agree with my rantings: priceless.

I guess what is really hitting home: stepping out and holding up the flag of ‘Enterprise SOA’ in an organization known for federated development and complete independence is probably the toughest thing I’ve done in years… certainly the most difficult long-term effort since I tried to get a dot-com off the ground during the boom.  (we busted, like everyone else… it was a good run, though).  

If anyone tells you that Enterprise SOA is easy… laugh.  out.   loud.