Managing for Humpty Dumpty Risk

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So this was interesting…


I was in a meeting and someone was discussing the risks involved in a project.


And they mentioned the Humpty Dumpty Effect.


A bunch of people looked at them like what’s that. 


Then they explained that it’s the risk of breaking something during the project. 


Sort of like the Hippocratic Oath that doctors take to, “first, do no harm.”


When we are planning, designing, building or implementing a project–be it information technology or something else–we don’t want to break something in the process. 


That’s the Humpty Dumpty Risk to beware of and it’s an egg-celent point! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Rhymes With Venus

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So these were some funny stories recently…


First, I came across an information system with a comical name. 


Let just say that it rhymes with venus and starts with the letter P. 


Well not exactly that word, but it very, very close. 


When I heard it, I could not help but say, “That’s an unfortunate [system] name.”


That’s the thing about names and acronyms…you really have to think about what they stand for and what they sound like or you can get yourself into some pretty ridiculous situations and problems. 


Second story is when I was talking to this lady and I asked how she was feeling after going through some surgery and then having various complications from it. 


She told me the pain and problems she was having, and the tests and doctors she is continuing to have to see ,and that physical therapy didn’t help much. 


I’m nodding and empathizing and then after this went on for a while, all I could say in dismay for all what she had been through was “Ay, yai, yai.” 


Then she asked me about how I was doing after my hip surgeries and I told her how grateful I was for the modern medical procedures and G-d’s blessing that enabled me to walk again. 


But what was really funny is that she then starts going, “Ay, yai, yai.”


And as the conversation wore down, we were both looking at each other and practically saying in harmony, “Ay, yai, yai.”


Anyway…sometimes there’s nothing left to say but just that. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Trump Twitter Genius

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President-elect Trump is a Twitter genius!


At 70-years old, he has managed to use a millennial social media tool to take on the world, and despite opponents questioning of his temperament, so far he has unequivocally won with it. 


Using Twitter, Trump defeated candidates from Cruz to Clinton in running for president of the United States and at a fraction the cost.


Using Twitter, Trump has shaped not only policy discussion, but national sentiments around healthcare, over-regulation, tax reform, and even updating our critical nuclear deterrent capability. 


Using Twitter, Trump has strengthened alliances and friendships with nation and states from Israel to Taiwan and decreased escalating tensions with Russia. 


Using Twitter, Trump has put competitors and adversaries on notice about bad behavior from China to North Korea.


Using Twitter, Trump is setting the stage for correcting economic problems and imbalances from unfair trade practices to shipping jobs overseas.


Using Twitter, Trump gets around media bias and messages and connects directly with the people of the world. 


Of course, it is critical to vet important communications and ensure they are accomplishing the goal, but this needs to be weighed with the ability to reach out and get the message out quickly and effectively to the masses…and it’s a most fascinating and delicate balance that needs to be achieved. 


So far though, we are no longer working at the speed of government, but at the speed of the Internet. 


This is an incredible awakening in politics, but also for everyone on the incredible power of social media tools to communicate directly, unvarnished, and with impact, and no one has done it better than Donald Trump. 


The mastery of social media will continue to depend on messaging with speed, significance, and effect balanced with the vigilance as to exactly when to hit that crucial send button to the Twitterverse and the world. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Good IT Gone Bad

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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)

Abraham Lincoln And Election IT Scandals

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This just seemed like such a fascinating photo.


Abraham Lincoln on a tie juxtaposed next to the guy using his smartphone and email.


This election cycle has been plagued with scandals from private email servers, “extremely reckless” handling of emails, Wikileaks disclosures of corruption and collusion from hacked emails, crude denigrating language online, politicians claims of they can’t recall and IT professionals pleading the fifth, and an overall lack of transparency to the American people and Congress.


Yet, isn’t this the diametric opposite of what our esteemed President Lincoln was all about in terms of being “a man of profound feelings, just and firm principles, and incorruptible integrity.”


Is it now the technology that somehow has caused us to perform questionable deeds or is it just an enabler of what is in people’s hearts and souls?


As the man holding and controlling what he does with the smartphone in the photo, it is we who control our actions with technology and what we chose to do with it.


If we use technology for good or for evil…for raising up and helping people or insulting and hurting people…for lies and deception or for truth and transparency…for communicating principles and directives that are just and upright or for selfish and corrupt ends…these are choices of integrity that we alone control.


Lincoln fought for the democracy and freedom for all Americans and the end of slavery, and to that moral end, for whoever wins the election, we should continue towards using technology as a means to extend justice and freedom for all and not for operatives and operations that can jeopardize it’s meaning and integrity for America. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Losing Patience With Tech Progress

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We’re so close yet so far…that’s my feeling as I grow ever impatient with the pace of technological progress. 


We have cloud computing, but still everyone has their own private computing setups everywhere. 


We have mobile computing, but still can’t get get reliable service in the Metro and all the other “dead zones.”


We have social computing, but still people are so cliquey and nasty and troll and bully each other online and off. 


We have the Internet of Things, but still things don’t really talk to each other regularly (except our smart meters).


We have robots, but still they’re relegated to factory assembly lines. 


We have natural language processing, but still can’t get a meaningful conversation going with Siri.


We have 3-D printing, but still can’t get dinner or a pair of Nikes to appear from the Star Trek like “Replicator.”


We have augmented and virtual reality headsets, but still can’t go anywhere with them without getting motion sickness.


We have biometrics, but still have to sign the check.


We have driverless cars, but still there is a driver inside. 


We have networks of information, but still it’s subject to hacking, malware, identity and data theft, and even big time EMP knockouts. 


We have immunotherapy, but still haven’t beaten cancer. 


We have nanotechnology, but still we travel through life loaded down with material possessions.


We have food and biotechnology, but still one in eight people are going hungry. 


We have space shuttles and stations, but still can’t get a colony going on Mars.


We have big data, but still information is corrupted by personal biases and politics. 


We have knowledge management, but still more than 780 million adults are illiterate. 


We have artificial intelligence, but still it’s devoid of emotional intelligence. 


We have bigger, deadlier, and more sophisticated weapons systems and smart bombs to “protect us”, but still are no closer to living in peace and brotherhood. 


All this technology and advancement is great, except that we’re left hungrier than ever for the realization of the promised technology land, and are really only halfway there, maybe. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Requirements Management 101

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This was a funny Dilbert on Requirements Management. 


In IT, we all know that getting requirements can be like pulling teeth. 


No one either has time or desire to provide them or perhaps they simply don’t know what they’re really after.


Knowing what you want is a lot harder than just telling someone to automate what I got because it isn’t working for me anymore!


In the comic, Dilbert shows the frustration and tension between technology providers and customers in trying to figure out what the new software should do. 


Technology Person: “Tell me what you want to accomplish.”


Business Customer: “Tell me what the software can do.”


In the end, the customer in exasperation just asks the IT person “Can you design [the software] to tell you my requirements?”


And hence, the age old dilemma of the chicken and egg–which came first with technology, the requirements or the capability–and can’t you just provide it!


(Source Comic: Dilbert By Scott Adams)

The Continued Softening Of Microsoft

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Microsoft should not be acting old and grey.

Yet they are throwing away another $26.2 billion dollars in purchasing the relative revenue and profit weakling, LinkedIn, the professional networking social media site (where odds are you have your high-level resume-type information).

Have you ever paid a dime to LinkedIn or have you ever paid attention to  single advertisement on LinkedIn (I can’t even remember if there is advertising on there—see I pay it zero attention!)?

Unfortunately Microsoft is following suite with it’s worthless purchase of Nokia in September 2013 for $9.4 billion that was all written off and then some with yet another ridiculous, desperate move.

Microsoft has been living off their legacy product suites of Windows, Office, Outlook, and SharePoint for years…and apparently, aside from the regular forced upgrades, they seem to have virtually nothing in the innovation hopper.

Hence, loser acquisitions of things like Yammer in 2012 for $1.2 billion (anyone use that BS Facebook-like service for inside their organization—work is not social playtime folks!).

Anyway, I like Microsoft products–they are functional, which is what I want from email, creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and slides, as well as sharing files–it’s great for bread and butter tasks–nothing sexy.

But every attempt that Microsoft makes in desperation to expand beyond their core competencies comes up soft and a big money loser.

Innovation and success is not bred by acquiring virtually worthless properties in terms of high-technology with no synergy to who they fundamentally are.

It is almost heartbreaking to see a once great company like Microsoft continue to drown in its own excess cash and strategically hollow ideas.

Microsoft will only be successful by thinking beyond the boxed in windowed organization that they have imprisoned themselves in.

I hope they can break a few windows and escape to some new technological thinking again soon–but the big question is whether they currently have the talent to make it so. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Revolving Door

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So work is a revolving door of people onboarding and offboarding.


New people are getting hired.


Old people are leaving.


Nothing is stable.


The relationships you made yesterday just left the revolving door today, and it’s time to make new ones.


One “ran from Dodge.”  Another retired.  A third left for the private sector.  Someone else is going just down the block.


On the inbound train are Summer interns. Contractors being hired on as regular staff.  Brand new people.  And even some people coming back after leaving for a short time.


People get antsy or have enough doing what they were doing, dealing with who they are dealing, or simply want a change and a challenge.


Others are shown the door under less fortunate circumstances.


Whether looking to pave new trails, find yourself a seat at the table, a leadership position, or a fatter paycheck–the eyes see, and the heart wants.


Some people are tethered to their job or even “retired in place (RIP)”–perhaps it’s truly a great job and fit or it’s like their life blood (their whole identity, their reason for being) or maybe, they just like collecting what they consider “easy money” for a job they know and love or can skate by on, or maybe they work with other great people they really like and every day is a fresh challenge and even fun. 


Recents studies indicate that retiring later in life actually increases longevity, but when is enough enough or are we leaving ourselves enough time to sit at the pool side and just enjoy life a little?


Millennials, famous for changing jobs often, now are at an average of 4 jobs by the time they hit 32.


And in Information Technology, job hopping is considered “the world’s biggest game of musical chairs.


Why the increase in the job hopping bug in people’s you know what?


Sure there is more opportunity for those that have the right skills, and people getting bored or stale is a bad thing, everyone wants to find a good fit for themselves and where they can have a real impact, and economic and social pressures push people to make the leap, perhaps there is also some foolishness involved–where the grass is always greener or not.


Sometimes though it really may be right for the person–and that’s for each to explore and decide for themselves. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to John Garghan)