Training With Paper Airplanes

So I was in an Agile and Scrum Management class yesterday. 


Always looking for new best practices and efficiencies for what we are doing in software development. 


We did one exercise to compare the old Waterfall methodology with Agile. 


And the instructor had us as a team build paper airplanes one way and then the other so see the difference in output and outcome. 


Lo and behold, we had almost 40 planes in agile and only 6 in waterfall. 


What you see in the photo is the testing phase: we actually had to see if they could fly at least 10 feet without taking a nosedive.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Types of Project Management Office

This is a quick breakdown of the 3 types of Project Management Offices (PMOs).

  • Enabling (Supportive) — Provides best practices, templates, and tools “as needed,” and compliance is voluntary.
  • Delivery (Controlling) — Adopts framework or methodology, policy, and repeatable procedures, and a certain level of the standards are enforced.
  • Compliance (Directive) — Establishes strict standards, measures, and control over projects, and these are highly regulated.

A good place to start is with an enabling/supportive PMO and then progress to a more delivery/controlling model. Generally, a compliance/directive PMO is for more highly regulated organizations.


(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal and concept via CIO Magazine and Gartner)

OFNR Communications Model

This is a useful 4-part communications process (developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg):


1. Observations:  Tell the other person the behavior you observe from them that is making you uncomfortable. 

When I Observe…


2. Feelings:  Explain how the person’s behavior makes you feel (happy, sad, angry, annoyed, excited, worried, scared, hurt, embarrassed, confused)

I feel…


3. Needs: Describe what you need from the other person (physiological, safety, social, esteem, self-actualization)

Because I need…


4. Requests: Ask them specifically what you’d like them to do.

Would you be willing to… 

It’s a way to make your feelings and needs known and ask nicely what you’d like from others. 


This provides a mechanism to give feedback and work with other people without being confrontational, threatening, dictatorial, or nasty. 


When I see you reading my blog, I feel happy, because I need to try to be a good person and good influence in this world. Would you be willing to share my blog with others? 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal and Colleague from Work)

@National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

So good today to visit the NIST Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE).
The cybersecurity solutions developed are aligned to the well-known Cybersecurity Framework (CSF). 


Got to see some of the laboratories, including demonstrations for securing the Healthcare and Energy Sectors. 


Interesting to hear about examples for securing hospitals records and even things like infusion pumps.  


The medical devices are tricky to secure, because they are built to potentially last decades and are expensive to replace, but the underlying technology changes every couple of years. 


Also, learned more about securing the energy sector and their industrial control systems.  


One scary notable item mentioned was about the “big red button” for shutdown in many of these facilities, but apparently there is malware that can even interfere in this critical function. 


It is imperative that as a nation we focus on critical infrastructure protection (CIP) and continuously enhancing our security.


Time is of the essence as our adversaries improve their game, we need to be urgently upping ours. 😉


(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Technology and Human Capital–They Go Hand-In-Hand

So there are some mighty impressive places to work that really shine in terms of the technology they use and the constant desire to upgrade and improve their capabilities. 


Usually, these are also the places that value and respect their human capital because they view them as not just human pawns, but rather as strategic drivers of change. 


Then there are the places that are “so operationally focused” or just plain poorly run that they can’t be bothered to think about technology much at all or the people that make up the organization and its fiber. 


In many cases, the wheel may be turning, but the hamster is dead: 


There is no real enterprise architecture to speak of. 


There are no IT strategic or operational plans. 


There are no enterprise or common solutions or platforms. 


There is no IT governance or project/portfolio management. 


Even where there are some IT projects, they go nowhere–they are notions or discussion pieces, but nothing ever rolls off the IT “assembly line.”


How about buying an $800 software package to improve specific operations–that gets the thumbs down too. 


Many of these executives can’t even spell t-e-c-h-n-o-l-o-g-y!


It’s scary when technology is such an incredible enabler that some can’t see it for what it is. 


Rather to them, technology is a distraction, a threat, a burdensome cost, or something we don’t have time for.


Are they scared of technology?


Do they just not understand its criticality or capability?


Are they just plain stupid? 


Anyway, organizations need to look at their leadership and ask what are they doing not only operationally, but also in terms of technology improvement to advance the organization and its mission. 


Look to the organizations that lead technologically, as well as that treat their people well, and those are ones to ogle at and model after.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Good IT Gone Bad

upside-down-jpeg

So over and over again, good IT goes bad in a flawed decision-making process. 


Even with the best laid plans and governance processes in place, somehow decisions get politicized, go bad, and projects fail. 


Here are some of the popular reasons why this happens:


1) Someone has something to prove – Often their is a person incoming to power who wants to show off what they can do. Instead of focusing on what is best for the organization’s mission and people, they put themselves first. IT becomes not a tool for efficiency and effectiveness, but rather as some project rushed through for someone’s resume and narcissist career progression. Time to add another notch on your IT belt!


2) Someone used it, saw it, or heard of it someplace else – So why follow a structured decision-making and vetting process for new technology, when Joe Schmoe already has the answer of what we can use and what we should do. Perhaps, Joe Schmoe used the technology in another place and for another reason, but that’s what he knows and instantaneously, he’s the maven, subject matter expert. Or maybe, Joe Schmoe attended a vendor conference or read a trade mag on the airplane and now he is guess what, the all-knowing on the topic. Get ready to pull out your wallets to pay for the wrong thing for your needs and organization, but it’s okay becuase Joe Schmoe assured you it’s great!


3) Someone wants to use technology like a Swiss army utility knife – Let’s just buy this amazing tool; it can slice, dice, chop, mince, or Julienne; actually there is nothing this IT tool can’t do. Buy it and use it for all your technology projects and needs. Why buy specialized tools, when you can have one that does everything–it will be your data warehouse, cloud provider, handle all your transactions, and be your artificial intelligence all in one.  Don’t worry about the complexity, integration, training, support or how good it does any specific thing–just trust us!


In general, it shouldn’t be so easy for leadership to get sold and fooled by the wrong people with the wrong agendas. Yet, these things seem to take off like a speeding locomotive, and if anyone tries to step in front of it, career splat for some unfortunate well-meaning character!


Some leaders and organizations only seem to learn by making the same IT mistakes again and again–it’s costly to their mission and to their stakeholders, but someone is making out like a bandit and it’s on their dime. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When In Doubt

When In Doubt

I like this sign that I saw in a local place of business that buys and sells goods. 


“When in doubt–PASS!”


How many times are we faced with a challenging situation, and we are not quite sure what to do.


We hem and haw and go back and forth in our minds whether we should really do it?


But like my wife and I came to with decision-making in general a while ago, “If it isn’t yes, then it’s no.”


When that little something inside is giving you pause, doubt, and holding you back…there is usually a very good reason. 


STOP yourself right there–listen to your gut and instinct.


If you don’t, you’ll pay the price afterwards for making a bad call that you knew deep down was a big no-no to begin with. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)