14 days ago

Management, Simple and Wrong – Semantics, Systems, and Self-Correction

Simple responses to complex situations are both seductive and dangerous. The difficulty in juggling lots of variables tempts us to employ abstraction so as to avoid being overwhelmed. Abraham Maslow’s observation, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail”, applies. […]

1 month, 19 days ago

Trash or Treasure – What’s Your Legacy?

The topic of legacy systems is something of a contentious one. In most cases, a legacy is understood to be a good thing. What makes a system “legacy”? Is it a technical or business decision? A little over a year ago, Greger Wikstrand took a stab at clarifying the term with his post “Legacy systems, […]

1 month, 28 days ago

Architecture Corner: New Technology – Seven Deadly Sins of IT

Episode 2 of this season of Architecture Corner is out (I made a guest appearance in episode 1, “Good at Innovation”). In this installment, Chris the CEO is experiencing lust for new technology. What happens when the CEO starts drooling over the latest shiny thing without a thought to whether it makes good business sense?

1 month, 29 days ago

Innovation, Intention, Planning and Execution

  Convergence is an interesting thing. Greger Wiktrand and I have been trading posts back and forth on the subject of innovation for almost eighteen months now (forty posts in total). I’ve also been writing a lot on the concept of organizations as systems, (twenty-two posts over the last year, with some overlap with innovation). […]

2 months, 13 days ago

Form Follows Function on SPaMCast 442

A new month brings a new appearance on Tom Cagley’s Software Process and Measurement (SPaMCast) podcast. This week’s episode, number 442, features Tom’s excellent essay on capability teams (highly recommended!), followed by a Form Follows Function installment based on my post “Systems of Social Systems and the Software Systems They Create”. Kim Pries bats cleanup […]

5 months, 13 days ago

Systems of Social Systems and the Software Systems They Create

I’ve mentioned before that the idea of looking at organizations as systems is one that I’ve been focusing on for quite a while now. From a top-down perspective, this makes sense – an organization is a system that works better when it’s component parts (both machine and human) intentionally work together. It also works from […]

1 year, 1 month ago

Skating to Where the Puck Will Be

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. Wayne Gretzky   Business people have a thing for sports metaphors, and this one in particular is a favorite. So much so, that Jason Kirby in “Why businesspeople won’t stop using that Gretzky quote” observed: Its popularity has much to […]

1 year, 1 month ago

Learning to Deal with the Inevitable

  My last post, “Barriers to Innovation”, began with a question. Is innovation inevitable? By the end of the post, that question had changed. Is innovation inevitable for your organization? Tom Cagley left a comment suggesting another change: Think about changing the question again. “Is innovation inevitable?” might be better stated as “Is change inevitable?” […]

1 year, 3 months ago

Abstract Dangers – When ‘And’ Meets ‘Or’

There’s an old saying that if you put one foot in a bucket of ice and the other in a bucket of boiling water, on average you’re comfortable. Sometimes analyzing information in the aggregate obscures rather than enlightens. A statistician named Francis Anscombe pointed out this same principle in a more visual (though less colorful) […]

1 year, 3 months ago

Innovation – What’s Old can be New Again

There’s an old rhyme about what a bride should wear for luck on her wedding day: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…”. While reading an article on the origins of the US highway system, I thought about this rhyme in relation to the concept of innovation. Part of that article related the US […]

1 year, 4 months ago

Enterprise Architecture and the Business of IT

I’ve been following Tom Graves and his Tetradian blog for quite a while. His view of Enterprise Architecture (EA), namely that it is about the architecture of the enterprise and not just the enterprise’s IT systems, is one I find compelling. With some encouragement on Tom’s part, I’ve begun touching on the topic of EA, […]