“Who” Creates Risk

September 15, 2016
Costello: Well then who's on first? Abbott: Yes.
Costello: I mean the fellow's name. Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy on first. Abbott: Who.
Costello: The first baseman. Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy playing... Abbott: Who is on first!

Today’s blog is triggered by the entry authored by my friend and colleague, Ben Sommer, reflecting on the laziness of describing architecture with pronouns. In our roles as architects, IT strategists, or just technical leaders guiding successful project implementations we frequently find ourselves defining plans and parceling out tasks.

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Don’t Hide Behind Pronouns!

September 1, 2016

“Ya know…we send them stuff”

Let’s admit first off what none of us want to admit – that most of us have forgotten what exactly a “pronoun” is…

Its basically any use of “you”, “we”, “them”, “they”, etc. – unspecific references to people or actors in a conversation or past event being discussed.

Believe it or not – the lazy use of pronouns is a huge problem in the field of IT architecture & design, and even business analysis.

Example:

  • Bob is a project architect at a college facilitating a workshop for the design of an interface between two systems
  • In describing the current flow of information between the two systems, Bob states that “We send them a file nightly”.

Who is “we” and “them”? Bob needs to specifically state it. Read more



“Make it Work Like Our Current System” and Other Requirement Pitfalls

March 18, 2014

This is the final article in in the series for implementing “Custom Off The Shelf” (COTS) solutions; a follow up to our Buy vs. Build Your Software  and “Off the Shelf” Implementation Pitfalls articles. In this we want to address requirement approaches that are sometimes proposed, but rarely successful in such an implementation.

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“Off the Shelf” Software Implementation Pitfalls

February 3, 2014

This is the long-awaiting (or at least long-promised) article on implementing “bought” products; a follow up to our Buy vs. Build Your Software article.  Many large organizations rely heavily on external vendors for large scale software implementations of “Off the Shelf” packages – very frequently modified for competitive advantage and/or to align with internal business processes. These are some common pitfalls to these Custom Off The Shelf (COTS) implementations.

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When “Good Enough” isn’t Good Enough

October 11, 2011

So what is this picture? The unhelpful answer is that it is a photo of a sign with a burlap sack on it. I’d like to say that my community thought it would be a cute Halloween decoration, but I cannot. The truth: it is great example of the “good enough” anti-pattern. Read more



How to Flub Your Design Review

September 30, 2011

We would like to share some common approaches that consistently lead to failed design review meetings. They are somewhat embellished for effect, but, sadly, are not all that far removed from real world experiences. If you are interested in an ineffective design review, please be sure to: Read more