Tagged: process

Welcome 2015!

London Fireworks 2015M25 Carpark

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted much, mainly due to a contract which requires me to drive on the M20 and M25 (aka “the carpark” for those outside the UK) and as a result, I just don’t seem to of had the time and energy…

Javelin TrainOh, how I long for those lovely trains, and will never complain about a 30 or even 60 minute delay – the worst I’ve had in a car is a 1h trip taking 4h!!!

I look forward to getting on something where someone else is doing the driving so I can use my time effectively

Amazingly, it seems like only 7% (4.5 Million) people in the UK use public transport. Given that nearly 1/3 (22 Million) live in the South-East, where transport is generally pretty good, that seems pretty low. No surprise given the number of people on the motorways – I’ll be happy to take one more off them next contract.

So what’s up for 2015 for me and this blog?

For one, I plan to start getting back in to a bit more of a rhythm, both with my posts and the associated (play) work (generally outside “real work”), and I will continue to post based on my experiences – recent and past…

theme : ecologyWhat are the themes though? Here’s a list of where I’d like to go:

  • Lifestyle & Reviews
  • Process & People & ScramJet
  • Clojure
  • Architecture, including Enterprise & SOA aspects

in no particular order. I won’t get in to specifics as much of it is not yet planned, or I’m working on it but don’t want to reveal it until I have enough meat on the the bones so I can be sure it will fly.

teaserHere’s a few teasers though based on posts I know I’ll write or have in draft form:

  • Review of Bob Marshall’s “Thinking Different” happening last year
  • Review of the: BMW i3 electric car; Samsung Galaxy Alpha
  • Corporate Subversion – in a positive manner of course :-)

and that’s really just the “boring stuff” – there should be some very interesting posts coming as I hit my stride.

I hope you’ve all had a great XMas & New Year break and look forward to some great interactions in 2015!

100th Post!

100th Blog PostI’m not the most prolific of bloggers, but after that first post on the 30th June 2012 “Hello world! Of Architecture and Change” this is now the 100th post – WOOHOO! As you can see above, I had a fairly modest celebration with a few Grenadier mates  – thanks guys ;-)

As with any Base-10 based moment, I think it’s time for a bit of reflection and cogitation… What better place to start than the “mission statement” from that first post:

If you’re interested in IT, Privacy, Science, Maths, Process, Systems
(of people and technical), Programming, Organisations and any other
topics that grab my attention, then you may want to follow this.

So how did I score?

The inevitable question is where now? Firstly, I think it’s time for a renewed mission statement:

To boldly go, where I've not gone before
To seek out new ways of being, living, thinking and working
To explore seemingly strange new worlds and ideas of other people
These are the voyages of me...
In physical, virtual, emotional & mental space: The final frontiers

Enterprise - NCC1701But a bit more specifically, what are my thoughts and plans for the future?

  • I like blogging about “anything”. I know this may be frustrating for some who very much stay on a particular “message topic”, as one day I’m talking about a product, another some programming, people or an organisation type. Well, that’s just me so I won’t change that…
  • I do want to increase the “technical content”, by which I mean around Architecture, Design and Programming. I got drawn down a people and process rabbit hole, which in some ways culminated with previous post on Toxic Waterfall. I’ll still blog in this area, but have a lot of technical ideas I want to explore and talk about along the way
  • I think topics like Maths, Science, Privacy and the like are probably better covered on Twitter, which I’ll be getting back on to next year after I’ve returned from a well earned break in Australia

Sam-TaegeukOr put more simply, I’ll probably stick with The Classics of Transformation:

  • People (& Organisations)
  • Process (with People and Organisations)
  • Technology (to implement Processes for People in Organisations)

but most importantly in a humane context

Agile Baby Steps

Everything you think you know about Waterfall development is (probably) wrong

Well, according to the guy who wrote the original paper at least. What follows are some rather cheeky comments from me and some copy / paste of some diagrams from the original paper along with some text from

Waterfall Accident: The waterfall model is not what we think it is

What we today know as the waterfall model comes from a paper with the title “Managing the Development of Large Software Systems”, written in 1970 by Winston W. Royce. On page 2 it contains the famous diagram with the cascade starting at “System requirements” on the upper left, continuing on through “Program Design” and “Coding” down to “Operations” on the lower right.


But nobody seemed to notice that Royce does not promote this model… He then goes on to promote a different process – he recommends to “do it twice” by building a throw-away “pilot model” first to explore novel elements and unknown factors.

By now you may be thinking this is some clever photo-shopping, but it’s not – I just put some text in red, the arrow, box and blew up Royce’s original text which really is written underneath the diagram. Don’t believe me? Read a PDF of the original paper. Do you think the paper is a hoax? Then try googling “Managing the Development of Large Software Systems pdf” and read any scan – they all say the same thing!

Are you in shock? Most (waterfall) people are when they are first exposed to this (I’ve literally seen people stagger backwards) because it says that the waterfall model is fatally flawed, risky and prone to failure. Yet we’ve been told the opposite throughout our education and careers: “the waterfall model is boring, a bit long winded, but safe”. But it’s not – it’s “risky and inviting failure”!

“Ah, but we’ve refined it through years of experience and it works now” you may say. I’m afraid not – report after report shows a high failure rate for large IT projects (mostly of which are implemented using Waterfall). For example a recent McKinsey / Oxford report, referred to by Gartner said

Half of IT projects with budgets of over $15 million dollars:

    • Run 45% over budget
    • Are 7% behind schedule
    • Deliver 56% less functionality than predicted

Remember, this is not your fault if you didn’t know about this. It’s been one of the biggest mistakes / cons in the software industry depending on which view you adopt. The big question is what are you going to do about it now you do know?…

Well that’s easy, just go to the next page on Royce’s paper where he outlines iterative development:


Yes, that’s right, Walker Royce, acknowledged as “one of the leaders in software development in the second half of the 20th century” essentially invented Iterative Development* and not Waterfall in 1970 over 40 years ago. If only people had read the paper fully and looked at the diagram after the first one.

But maybe you want to go further? There’s a whole world of Agile, Scrum, Kanban and many other things that await you. The rest of the industry has been working away…

* He refines the above to “Do it twice”. Iterative Development as outlined by the Open Unified Process is really “Do it n”

PS There’s a large lesson in effective communication too… it’s the old classic of summarising your conclusion first, lest someone interpret your first step of reasoning as the actual solution as in this case.

The Shock of the New!

I’ve just been watching The Shock of the New, by Robert Hughes on BBC. The amazing thing that struck me is that although this series was made in 1980, it still applies to whatever buzzword you’re interested in, be it Social Media, Web X.0, Management X.0, Change, Agile, whatever…

This is a timeless series and if you’re at all interested in change and how it impacts society and the people within it then I highly recommend you watch it. Luckily, it’s all on YouTube, so knock yourselves out!

Should we B&B software development?

My last post on the topic (Let’s not Travelodge software development) may have seemed anti-Lean/Agile. It’s actually the opposite! It’s because I’m so passionate about them that I wrote that post to try and get people thinking where we are going with all this. I used Travelodge as an example of Lean / Agile taken too far, and as I’ve hinted, I see this in my work occasionally… So what’s the answer? Not surprisingly, Lean and Agile, but from a different view.

As I hinted in that post, personally I’ll be doing B&B’s again, and it’s the answer in so many ways. How? Do you like the B&B in the above photo? You should – it’s rated the number one in Horsham, only gets 5* feedback on TripAdvisor and costs about the same as that Travelodge I stayed in! It’s only a few minutes out of Horsham, but it would easily be worth a cab fare extra.

If you follow the analogy back to Software, I’m “The Business”. I have a need, accommodation that I need to solve at a reasonable price. Given a choice in what seems to me an unknown field, I go with a brand but am disappointed as I find a product which has been BadAgiled out of existence to the “threshold of revolution” – i.e. it’s quality is just good enough to stop me cancelling the contract (hey – my ego’s at stake here).

This is where “The Real Business” and I split. I know I made a mistake and am not afraid to publicly talk about it, acknowledge it and learn from it. TRB though have a (probably quite large group) ego though, so they can’t admit that they were wrong – there’s so much at stake on the table… So, they do what Einstein defined as insanity – the same thing, expecting a different result. Sometimes they’ll try a different outsourcer to give the illusion of action, but they’ll still have the same process and flawed thinking in place so I don’t need to explain what will happen.

Back to our B&B’s – good one’s are mostly quite Lean and Agile, for the simple reason that they directly relate to the owners income, and that the owners generally want a reasonable lifestyle, which means not spending too much time running the B&B.

Enter a Lean / Agile process!

If you watch the way a good B&B works, they have developed their own systems, limit WIP (especially for breakfast), have good feedback loops and quite often have Information Radiators. Their processes are tailored for their establishment and aligned to their personal brand. Looking at the bedroom shot, you can see that the owner, house and brand are all aligned – it’s the truth.

Now, let’s remind ourselves of the TL equivalent. Is there any comparison? @JenniferSertl made a very good point regarding branding and process, namely that Bic and Mont Blanc could both use Agile / Lean successfully with their own brands, which is correct.

However, if we look at part of Travelodge’s Mission statement:

The reason that more people don’t stay in hotels is simple
– they just can’t find a good quality hotel where they want to
stay, at a price that’s right for them.

Travelodge’s objective is to make hotels available to everyone
by consistently offering our customers great value hotels where
they want to stay.

So to follow up the second paragraph, to me (totally subjective) that hotel was not great value. To be great value, would of been £40-50 and I’m sure they still could of made a profit. Given what you know now though about B&B’s in Horsham, would you really want to stay there?
NOTE: One thing I should note is that the staff at the Travelodge were very helpful and positive and really turned what could of been a horrible stay in to a tolerable one – that wasn’t due to them though, it was due to poorly gathered requirements, using a bad process to transform them in to a bad “architecture”, carefully nurtured by a total lack of feedback from staff and probably guests to form a distorted implementation of their brand. Sound familiar? ;-)

Finally, to answer Jennifer’s point re pens – I don’t have a problem with Bic making pens using Lean / Agile or any other process. What I do have a problem with is Parker making them L/A and allowing(?) the mechanism to distort their quality to those of Bic or even worse!

Hello world! Of Architecture and Change

If you’re interested in IT, Privacy, Science, Maths, Process, Systems (of people and technical), Programming, Organisations and any other topics that grab my attention, then you may want to follow this.

I did have a site called Architectural musings (which I’ll be reposting content from) but thanks to much listening, twittering and thinking I’ve decided to broaden my remit a bit because I do work a lot with change and at the end of the day, most of my architectural work does involve change in some form.

Most of my work is in large corporates, doing either (or both of):

  • Architecture (Yang): Enterprise, Solutions, SOA and Application / Technical (Java & J2EE)
  • Process (Yin): Waterfall, V, Agile, Lean, Scrum, Kanban and anything else that seems useful

And just like in life, I’m after achieving some sort of balance :-)