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.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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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?

– What is the benefit?  And to whom?

– What 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!” 😉


(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.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

People, Process, and Technology Lifecycles

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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).


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


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


– The 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! 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Strategy, Strategery, Stratego

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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. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Crosshair Planning And National Security

 

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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. 😉


(Source Diagram: Andy Blumenthal)

If This Then That (IFTTT), A Futurists Blessing

IFTTT.PNG

If This Then That (IFTTT) is a simple, but absolutely fundamental programming principle.


It is also the basis for futurist-thinking such as war-gaming and strategic planning.  For example, if North Korea put’s a nuke on the launch pad with the targeting at the U.S., then we will do kaboom!


IFTTT is also an app and is used in algorithms such as with Twitter, so when Trump or other famous and powerful people say something on the global social media stage, Wall Street’s high-speed, high-frequency trading desks are at the front of the line to respond to market-moving news.


So powerful is IFTTT, you could almost predict the election results from it (the outrageously biased media may want to open their tarnished rose-colored glasses and try it).  For example, if you take for granted, forget or neglect working class America, then the great “blue wall” tumbles. 


IFTTT also works in politics of all sorts. If you abandon friends and allies and embrace terrorist enemies, then the world order is turned on it’s head and the Middle East and beyond burns and rages in turmoil. Similarly, if you are biased between people, races, and political parties, then you polarize the country and create divisiveness and hate and obstruct even the possibility of virtually any progress. 


So you really don’t have to have a crystal ball to see the writing on the wall for the results of profoundly good moves and the display of stupidity galore. 


One final IFTTT before the major transition of power this week: if you talk big, but don’t really deliver results (or you deliver lots of bad stuff), then you get seen for being all poetry and no prose, and your legacy goes bye bye. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)