When Planning Is A Joke

This is a wonderful example of horribly bad planning.

 

The College of Architecture and Planning apparently didn’t plan enough space for the “C” of college and so it’s plastered to the brick wall at a corner angle.


Talk about irony!


Would you want them teaching your architect and planners?


Oy this is just too classic. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Facebook)

OPTIMISM vs pessimism

So I thought this really matched my philosophy to a T on optimism and pessimism. 


As Joel Rosenberg put it in his book¬†The Ezekiel Option, “In the long run everything would turn out fine…but tomorrow could be a disaster.”


In short, this equates to:


I’m a strategic optimist, but a tactical pessimist.¬†


My mom used to say, “If I am pessimistic, I’ll never be disappointed.” LOL


I think though when we have faith then we know that truly, in the end everything is for the best and will be okay.


In the short term though, there are challenges to face and these can be tough indeed. 


РStrategically an optimist. 


РTactically a pessimist. 


Plan for the worst, hope for the best. ūüėČ


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Capital One Cafe Catastrophe

So I’ve seen the advertisement for Capital One (Bank) Cafes on TV for some time now.


Well I saw my first real one in Fort Lauderdale this week.


It was big, bright, comfortable and had children’s games and a host of meeting and breakout rooms.¬†


They even gave us two cards for some free coffee at the embedded Pete’s Coffee.


It was a corner store in a large, expensive space. 


It was great place to get some work done or relax. 


But aside for a cash machine or so, there was nothing that I could see having to do with banking in this place. 


Also, there were also almost no customers for the coffee.


Basically, it is totally confusing idea from a marketing and branding perspective–Is it a bank or a coffee house?¬† And why would I go to Capital One to get coffee or to Pete’s Coffee to do my banking????


While I think that Capital One has literally outdone Starbucks in building a great cafe space, I don’t think anyone will actually get what this is or why it is!


My guess is that whoever came up with this idea is going to be looking for a job within about 6 big money-losing months. ūüėČ


(Credit Photo:  Andy Blumenthal)

What Are The Chances for IT Project Success?

So I was teaching a class in Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance this week. 


In one of the class exercises, one of the students presented something like this bell-shaped distribution curve in explaining a business case for an IT Project. 


The student took a nice business approach and utilized a bell-shaped curve distribution to explain to his executives the pros and cons of a project. 


Basically, depending on the projects success, the middle (1-2 standard deviations, between 68-95% chance), the project will yield a moderate level of efficiencies and cost-savings or not. 


Beyond that:


– To the left are the¬†downside risks for significant losses–project failure, creating dysfunction, increased costs, and operational risks to the mission/business.¬†


– To the right is the¬†upside potential for big gains–innovations, major process reengineering, automation gains, and competitive advantages.¬†


This curve is probably a fairly accurate representation based on the high IT project failure rate in most organizations (whether they want to admit it or not). 


I believe that with:

– More user-centric enterprise architecture planning on the front-end

– Better IT governance throughout

РAgile development and scrum management in execution 

that we can achieve ever higher project success rates along the big upside potential that comes with it!  


We still have a way to go to improve, but the bell-curve helps explains what organizations are most of the time getting from their investments. ūüėČ


(Source Graphic: Adapted by Andy Blumenthal from here)

Life Is Like A Sailboat

Planning is a critical aspect of making progress toward your goals.


As they say;

If you fail to plan, plan to fail. 


However, planning is subject to life–and life happens!


One colleague of mine compared it to a sailboat, and our dialogue went something like this:

You set out on a course. But the wind and ocean current takes you here and there. Even as you try to steer the boat with the sails and rudder, sometimes you land on Gilligan’s Island!


Hence, life is like a sailboat.¬† ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

DMAIC Reengineering

A colleague gave a wonderful talk the other day on process engineering.


The key steps to reduce waste (Lean) or variation/defects (Six Sigma) are as follows:


Define – Scope the project.


Measure – Benchmark current processes.


Analyze – Develop to-be processes (with a prioritized list of improvements) and plan for implementation.


Improve – Executive process improvements.


Control – Monitor/refine new processes.


It was amazing to me how similar¬†to enterprise architecture this is¬†in terms¬†of:¬†defining your “current” and “future” states and creating a transition plan and executing it.


Also, really liked the Project Scoping questions:


– What problem do you want to solve/what process do you want to improve?

– Why do you need this?

РWhat is the benefit?  And to whom?

РWhat are your objectives for this effort?

– Who are the key stakeholders?

– When is this needed and why?


I think process improvement/engineering methodologies like this can be a huge benefit to our organizations, especially where the tagline is “Why should we change–we’ve always done it this way!” ūüėČ


(Source Photo: 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.¬† ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

People, Process, and Technology Lifecycles

Lifecycles.jpeg

The table describes the alignment of the various people, process, and technology lifecycles commonly used in Information Technology to the CIO Support Services Framework (CSSF).


The¬†CIO Support Services Framework¬†describes the six key functional roles of the Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO)–it includes:


1) Enterprise Architecture (Architect)

2) Capital Planning and Investment Control (Invest)

3) Project Management Office (Execute)

4) CyberSecurity (Secure)

5) Business Performance Management (Measure)

6) IT Service (and Customer Relationship) Management (Service)


All these OCIO Functions align to the lifecycles for process improvement (Process), project management (People), and systems development (Technology).


РThe Deming Life Cycle describes the steps of total quality management and continuous process improvement (Kaizen) in the organization.


РThe Project Management Life Cycle describes the phases of managing (IT) projects.


РThe Systems Development Life Cycle describes the stages for developing, operating and maintaining application systems.


Note: I aligned cybersecurity primarily with doing processes, executing projects, and designing/developing/implementing systems.  However, cybersecurity really runs through all phases of the lifecycles!


My hope is that this alignment of people, process, and technology life cycles with the roles/functions of the OCIO will help bridge the disciplines and make it easier for people to understand the underlying commonalities between them and how to leverage the phases of each with the others, so that we get more success for our organizations! ūüėČ


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Strategy, Strategery, Stratego

Strategy.jpeg

Like the all knowing eye…


Strategy is our way of trying to forge a coherent path ahead. 


Of course, as humans, we are imperfect and don’t know what we don’t know.¬†


But whether we call it strategy, strategery, or stratego, the goal is to have a method to our madness. 


We can’t just rely on luck, gut, intuition, or subjective whim to get us wherever.¬†


Having no strategy is brainless following or aimless wandering. 


Strategy means your thinking ahead what you want to achieve and then at least trying your best to accomplish something. 


Ample course corrections allowed and encouraged, as needed. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Crosshair Planning And National Security

 

Crosshairs Diagram.jpeg

So I wanted to share this amazing crosshair diagram…


Not because we currently have North Korea in the crosshairs before they hit us with a nuclear-tipped ICBM.


But rather for how this diagram can be used in strategic planning and enterprise architecture. 


The way this is used is the following:


First, you put your goals in the inner quadrants (or other such division of the inner circle).  For example, perhaps you have a goal to reduce your weight which is now 215 lbs. 


Next you create concentric rings around your goals with each ring representing a time horizon. For example, the first ring could be 6 months, the 2nd ring 1 year, and so on. 


Then for each timeframe in the rings, you put what your target is for that related goal. For example, maybe in 6 months you want to reduce your weight to 210, and then by end of year 1 to 205.


In this way, you can easily show your goals as well your targets over various time frames into the future. 


You can similarly use the other quadrants (or other divisions of the circle) for other goals emanating from the center to the future targets. 


Of course, you can also use this for North Korea–to target above the 38th parallel for dropping a good deals MOABs to clear the enemy and their nukes and missiles from threatening the U.S. and our allies. ¬†The same solution goes for Axis of Evil, Iran, and their endless spread of global terrorism and human rights abuses.¬†


Targets are for restoring the peace and for strategic planning and these two intersect when it’s comes to national security. ūüėČ


(Source Diagram: Andy Blumenthal)