Ah, the Good ‘ol Days

January 24, 2007 § Leave a comment

I had the opportunity for a free therapy session. Christina Smart of JISC’s e-Learning Focus was kind enough to ask about my experiences at SUNY Learning Environments, and my efforts toward implementing a Service Oriented Architecture.

The interview, Developing an SOA at SUNY; Lessons learned, was quite cathartic for me.

I Have a Suggestion, “No more Suggestions!”

January 23, 2007 § 1 Comment

It seems like when organizations begin to explore “community” one of the first suggestions is to create a suggestion box. The idea is that end-users and stakeholders can contribute directly to the decision-making of the IT department by suggesting some of the hot topics they would like to see addressed. From these requests, the IT staff will not only learn of the important issues facing users, but also be able to use the information to help prioritize their project list. In theory it sounds great. This transparent process, it is hoped, will engage users, identify future projects and even define priorities.

While the overarching strategic goal—involving the community—should be the basis for IT decision-making and development, suggestion boxes and similar tactics (surveying, committees, etc.) that provide unqualified directions will, in the end, prove detrimental to the department’s operations and reputation.

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“I Spy for the CIO”

January 1, 2007 § Leave a comment

I recently came across two interesting articles that got me thinking about the validity of my own work with Agile Project Management (APM).

Open-Source Spying,” by Clive Thompson, published in the December 3, 2006 of the New York Times Magazine.

The Political Brain: A recent brain-imaging study shows that our political predilections are a product of unconscious confirmation bias,” by Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic Magazine and contributer to Scientific American.

APM’s two tenets are collaboration (community development) and evidence-based (just-in-time) decision-making. For any meaningful collaboration to occur, and to reap the benefits from peer review, all stakeholders must be aware of any and all activity underway regarding the project. Eric S. Raymond, declared “Linus’ Law” as “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow,” or more formally, “Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix obvious to someone.” While this has traditionally been applied in software development, I see the same principle extremely valuable to project management in general: Aren’t your faculty, staff and students beta-testers and your facilities, finance and student life departments, co-developers? Sharing everyones issues (bugs) will not only expose them to more brains, brains that might help resolve those issues, but also help to assess their priority (insignificant to show-stopper).

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