Friday, June 4, 2010

Gung Ho, Friend

The team recently wrapped up its third book. This time we read Gung Ho even though there was some apprehension around it. I have to say it was an excellent book. It totally reinforced the ideology of our team. There are 3 main concepts in this book, and they now hang as posters within our workspace. Here is the content of each (minus the cheesy graphic I picked for each animal):

Spirit of the Squirrel:



Leading to shared goals


Way of the Beaver:


A playing field with clearly marked territory

Thoughts, feelings, needs, and dreams are respected, listened to, and acted upon

Able but challenged

Gift of the Goose:


Active or passive, congratulations must be TRUE

No score, no game, and cheer the progress

e=mc2 - Enthusiasm equals mission times cash and congratulations

If you are participating in a team book club (or even if you're not), I highly recommend putting this book on your reading list. It's an easy read and relatively short. We are now trying to determine what book to read next. Any suggestions/recommendations are greatly appreciated. Gung Ho, friend.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Book Club Update: Lean Software Development

The team has completed it's second book, Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit and continues to benefit. Over the course of roughly eight weeks, we discussed a chapter a week with each team member facilitating at least one chapter.

After the first chapter, entitle "Eliminate Waste", we implemented a change to our weekly team status meeting. That meeting consists of 8 people and traditionally lasted one hour. During our discussion on how to eliminate waste, we decided to utilize a SharePoint Meeting Workspace to maintain a running agenda and trim the meeting to half an hour. This produced a financial savings for the business and has made the team meeting more productive. We calculated the savings as follows:
8 people X 1/2 hour X 50 weeks X $70/hr (allocation rate)
for an annual savings of $14,000

We shared this information with our business sponsors and they
were very impressed with our initiative. They have attended one
of our meetings to see if they can replicate what we have done
throughout their teams. I am very impressed and proud of our
team for continually looking for ways to improve and learn.

Additionally, the team was so encouraged with the results from this book, that we've decided to continue. We will be reading Gung Ho! starting this month. I will provide an update upon completion. As I stated in a previous blog, I encourage every team to incorporate a mentality of continuous learning/improvement and start a book club.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Trip Report: TDWI Solution Summit: Master Data, Quality, and Governance

I just returned from the TDWI Solution Summit: Master Data, Quality, and Governance and have to say I came away impressed. This was a hosted event, with 100 attendees from a variety of industries. The presentations were high quality and there were no high-pressure sales pitches from the myriad of vendors that were present. The best presentations were the case studies from those in the trenches. Several IT leaders presented the solutions they had implemented in their organizations and the lessons learned along the way. One of the best presentations was on the Five Levels of MDM Maturity by Evan Levy of Baseline Consulting. It was very informative and will help with driving an MDM solution within our organization. Overall, the agenda, the presentations, and the venue were all top notch and very professionally run. I would recommend this summit to anyone currently implementing or envisioning an MDM solution.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gartner AADI Trip Report

In December, I attended the Gartner Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit in Las Vegas. This was my first Gartner conference, and I have to say I came away impressed. The quality of the presentations was excellent and the speakers were very polished. The main focus for me during the conference was Services Oriented Architecture (SOA), Master Data Management (MDM), and Business Process Management (BPM). I have been selling the benefits of SOA for some time and hope that after attending this event we are finally ready to start implementing.

What are we looking to gain from SOA? First, I'll paraphrase what Gartner defines as SOA. It's about how to design a system with an architectural style that is modular, distributable, discoverable, swappable, and shareable. Given that definition, we are looking to improve our agility through improved responsiveness to business changes and improved developer productivity. I'm excited about the opportunity to lead this initiative and anxious to get started. My vision is to start with a centralized team that will focus on governance, service portfolio management, development, and support. We will focus on data driven services as I believe that is where the most short-term value is and will help us move our MDM initiative along as well. The team will very quickly need to become more involved with our business leaders in order to provide long-term value providing services that actually meet business needs. Finally, once we have some core services available, BPM will become a much more viable option for our business users.

The possibility of enterprises services working on a core set of master data that is accessible with a variety of applications and business processes is an exciting opportunity that has me driven. I'll provide an update on how we're doing in a future blog. If you have experience in this area, or suggestions on where to start, please let me know.