From business to analysis and from analysis to design: how to bridge gaps and climb up staircases.

FSNP

In typical organizations involving IT (information technology) projects, we have this split between business people, dealing with the core business concepts and operations, and an IT department making the systems evolve in order to support the business needs. That's why we seen business opportunities identified, business cases drafted, and some of them end up having some IT component.
For these including an IT component, there is usually a touch point between business and "functional analysts" of IT. These functional analysts try to shape the business requirements into a formal, trackable form so that there is scope control and a somewhat doable form of estimates. In order for this to work, the business and IT "functional analysts" must develop a productive way of working, so that they can understand each other.
Unfortunately, forming a team that delivers is faster said than done. Indeed, the team must pass through the typical steps of the staircase to make a team that delivers: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing.
In forming, you put people together and just have "a bunch of people", who start fighting with each other on what's the best way to go (Storming), devise their ways of working trough explanations, and negociation (Norming), only to be reaching the last state (Performing) after that.
This explains why you should keep a working group together if you do not want to throw you money down the drain here and there reforming performing teams every time you need something down. "Don't change a winning team."
So, let's say we now have that performing team for business and functional analysis. So far so good. Then the functional analysis needs to be gated with the technical design guys. And these have their own agendas and issues, and areas of expertise and responsibility.
Needless to say, the functional analyst is responsible for conceptual integrity. No need to have the technical design people to take the lead on that. They can be consulted on feasibility and functional analysis may have to be amended to take limitations into consideration. But all this can only occur if the touchpoint between functional analysis and design is at the performing stage.
Which it usually is not. And thus requires going though the Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing motions once more. This could lead to the functional analyst to be caught between the hammer (business) and the anvil (technical design). Enough time and management leadership must be invested to make sure we have a communication on these processes and the need to reach the Performing level in order to succeed.
So, one staircase leading to another. The story will repeat if you are implementing the design, outsourcing parts of the work, installing the solution live, providing support. Of course, there are lots of staircases all around the place.
Usually, when a staircase is not attended do, this will lead to failure work and cascading problems, ultimately making the required system to not deliver what was expected and turning into a pile of never ending headaches.
So, the question is now: where are your staircases, touch points, parties, and current performing levels?
And also: how is leadership focusing on preventing lots of failure work from happening?

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Check this explanation from the community: Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware has a ton of great features by the way: check them out and call me if you want help on your tiki.

Green IT and electrical consumption

This morning, I read "Les TIC vertes" where Alain mentions that switching to IT based solutions for:
  • replacing paper based stuff
  • reducing the need for travel
  • moving to eCommerce
are all nice and good but that they are making the consumption of electricity go up. And that may not be all that green. I think that Alain is overlooking a big trend, which is the upcoming "Smart Grid", where a lot of production will go to individuals. For example, there are new products that use cogeneration, recovery of energy (in washing machines for example), and self-sufficiency. There is also the trend of devices being powered by the body of the wearer. Kind of the Swatch Kinetic on steroids. Will power the mobile phone, and the mobile phone is becoming the next big wave. The PC is locking you to a given place, whereas the mobile does not. So, this is one less problem. Also, Alain points out that cloud computing generates a lot of heat, uses a lot of energy. Yeah, sure but there are ways to leverage that. These are the places where improvements will be made because there is a huge financial incentive to turn lost heat into cost reductions. Remember that heat us just unused power blown off in the air. The less you have, the most efficient you are and the more your operating margin grows. Now that's a language that makes market sense. For example, I am myself on a project to move all of my IT stuff working on solar power. And use less energy hungry machines. But obviously there are limits to the current technology to make it efficient. And it will not work for everyone. Mastery of energy has always been what made a civilization thrive. Look at China, they are not going to cut down on energy use. Same for India, Brazil, and the like. We will see more nuclear power going on in the coming years, and that's a good thing, ecologists notwithstanding. Expecting reduction of energy consumption where the biggest part of the world's population wants to access it is nonsense. There will be growth. Insanely large growth. We must change our Western-centric view. The world is so much larger than that.

How I revamped my Windows XP with ObjectDock 2.0 #noclutter

I've been working with a MacBookPro for a while now. I use it for editing videos (FinalCut Express), sorting out photos and having fun with Ableton Live. In turn, I got used to the dock, which at first I found a pain to use. Not anymore so. This lead me to search for alternatives on XP. No Win7 here yet, too much software running on the boxes (well, some VMs run it but not the core machines). I came across ObjectDock from StarDock Software. They just release v2.0 and it is really a nice upgrade. It behaves more like the MacOSX dock. Here is my current desktop. No more clutter, no more icons on the desktop. And as an added benefit: full screen estate when working on material. Should I need the taskbar, it is just one click away. And the dock itself recesses from view, leaving a pristing desktop. I used to have a ton of shortcuts all over the place, but this just invites to procrastinating a bit too much. So, away they go.

My Desktop

Tikiwiki gets a Bossie award from Infoworld

Tikiwi just got a Bossie award from Infoworld. This is great news for a great piece of software. My website runs on it, my customer's web sites as well. As said in the article, the best feature of Tikiwiki is the deep support for functional permissions and object-based permissions. Coupled with the categories system, this makes this system such a killer. Another Bossie went to WordPress, which this blog runs on. A winning combination!

A Bossie Award, great!

In case you wonder, I am providing support for both technologies. Custom programming, configuration, templating, trackers, you name it!

An interesting Social Networking presentation from Google’s UX group