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Showing posts from August 23, 2009

"Alignment" in Gartner list: advancing your software practice is the solution

Thought-leaders have advocated various techniques to align IT with business. Suggestions have included: improving communication between IT and business folks, seating both groups at the same location, etc. These approaches don’t seem to have cut it. The alignment problem continues for several years now. It is number two in Gartner's Top 10 CIO Strategies for 2009. In my opinion, the problem will continue . . . Unless we're willing to build a solution into the software development practice itself. A business process centric approach to software development is a practical solution to the alignment issue.
By its "nature," a business process centric approach keeps the software team's focus on business strategy and process performance. By using a practitioner who uniquely combines business analysis and design skills, the approach ensures that "requirements" (including strategy) are in fact translated to desgin without a fundamental change in perspective or pri…

Want to enlarge your comfort zone? Embrace the NEW!

People and organizations respond better to the familiar than the new. One reason: "buying" something new is a step out of our comfort zone. After making a demonstration call on Bell's phone in 1876, President Rutherford Hayes said, "That's an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?"
Well, the problem with that approach obviously is we may miss out on new ideas and new stuff that could make life or business better.

So, there's really only one thing to do: step out of the comfort zone. Pretty soon we see that we've simply enlarged our original comfort zone!

Writing for folks on the sell-side, Jeffrey J. Fox and Richard C. Gregory (in The Dollarization Discipline) say, "The challenge when selling a new concept is to demonstrate to the prospective customer that, despite the apparent risks of leaving behind the tried-and-true, the new product will produce a financial return so attractive that the customer would be committing m…

Business process centric AGILE development

Have you used a business process centric approach in an Agile software project?

On the one hand, business process centricity is a "good fit" because it combines business analysis and design in one practitioner and therefore reduces time. However, process centricity demands a holistic view of what I call "process landscape" before you can design.

Do you have any experiences to share?

Ban best practices, standards, and benchmarks?

"Companies have defined so much 'best practice' that they are now more or less identical." - Jesper Kunde, author of Unique Now ... or Never.
Leading a team that I wanted to be innovative, I once emailed team members "Let's ban best practices, standards, and benchmarks. There isn't much value in best practices even though other companies may in fact brag about following them. We’re not followers. We’re innovators, leaders, and pioneers!"

We went on to successfully institutionalize a process-centric design method in a challenging culture. The new method differentiated the software company and gave it a strong competitive advantage.

Organizations pursuing growth through innovation and differentiation should -- obviously -- consider going slow on practices that every other company follows.

Go ahead and fail!

Go ahead. Fail. Not just once or twice. Fail as many times as you must. Just make sure each failure takes you a step closer to your new-to-the-world innovation.

In the article Selling something NEW is hard: is iPod a case in point? we saw it could take extraordinary effort and time to "sell" an innovation. Let's not forget the extraordinary "process" it might take to come up with a value innovation in the first place. When questioned about his failed prototypes numbering a couple thousand, Thomas A. Edison explained that inventing the light bulb was a 2000-step process.

And that's just one of many reasons why organizations that treat employees in a fair manner RECOGNIZE and REWARD innovators.