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Posts Tagged ‘software development’

Agility and IT Excellence

November 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Many small and medium size organisations whether they be directly in the software development business or engaged in other corporate activities are experiencing similar problems when it comes to their IT Strategy.

For the software vendor it is a question of how do I excite the market with new innovations while ensuring what I have delivered to my current customers is and continues to meet their needs. For the enterprise IT organisation it is a need to deliver new innovative solutions to the business while ensuring a high level quality of service for those solutions already deployed. In this way the problems are similar and are superbly illustrated by the work of Jack Calhoun in his quadrant view of the organisation.

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One goal is customer experience excellence, while the other is operational excellence but it is not possible to achieve these in tandem and therefore one needs to pick a route.

However, while one is able to aspire to these heights and indeed in some cases achieve them it is all too often that this happens as a “point in time” achievement. The real question is once you get here (or better, as you plan the journey), how do you continue to improve or at least maintain this status rather than fall back down? For this is often what happens and in many cases the finger points back to the technology and that where IT once drove growth it now impedes change.

The missing ingredient here is that these goals are set without a view of sustainability and this is where IT has a trump card to play and by doing so not only can IT enable organisations to achieve customer experience and operational excellence, it maintain this status into the future. So what is this ingredient? Quite simply it is AGILITY!

One of the key things software development have learnt over the years is the cost of innovation and dramatic cost of rapid innovation. As they argue successfully in their “implementing lean software development” book, Mary and Tom Poppendieck, state that “the cost of complexity is not linear, it’s exponential”. Wise software developers, they say “place a top priority on keeping their code base simple, clean and small”.

By developing agile software development practices that are light touch, expect and embrace change and are focused on delivering value it has allowed developers to invest much more wisely in response to challenges set by the business. However, although the successes have been widespread and repeatable so far the true notion of agility has not managed to move out much past the world of Software development itself.

Many argue wrongly that agile practices only works at small scale, that it is not rigorous or works at the expense of architecture and quality. These are wholly incorrect but do much to limit the values of agility from being expressed more widely across IT.

In the meantime, for those that have managed to harness the power of agility at scale, the successes are multi-fold enabling IT to build a much more focused business model in delivering services to their customers and in so doing ensuring a growth in operational and customer experience excellence, aka quality of service.

References

Jack Calhoun et al, The Next Revolution in Productivity

Mary and John Poppendieck “Implementing Lean Software Development” http://www.poppendieck.com/

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inTHiNK! it’s official!

October 13, 2010 2 comments

After 5 great years of fun at Microsoft UK it’s time for me to say so long as I move on to new things although I fully expect to remain part of the Microsoft ecosystem and still haunt the corridors of the UK Campus from time to time!

So what does a Microsoft Architect do after Microsoft? Well more architecture it seems from the business through to its people and the systems the use. There are actually three main strands to my post-Microsoft strategy that I’ll summarise below:

iasa

As you may know I’ve had a long history with IASA, especially here in the UK where I founded and have chaired the UK chapter for around 6 years now. During this time we’ve been developing a credible and sustainable education and certification program for IT architects and now, along with my colleagues at IASA, I want to bring this to Europe. We’re holding our next UK certification boards this November but the plans for IASA Europe are much bigger than just this.

inthink

inTHiNK! is the name of my new professional services practice www.inthink.co.uk. inTHiNK! will offer services from business & technology strategy, architecture practice and guidance through to cloud readiness and enablement. This will scale out through an extensive associate network of solid top-level IT professionals. Contact info@inthink.co.uk if you want to follow up.

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As a brand new bizspark partner I will be seeking to exploit the value of the Azure platform delivering a new breed of SaaS enablers and business offerings to the market!

 

Here’s my new contact details if you wish to stay in touch

Matt Deacon
CEO, inTHiNK! Ltd
www.inthink.co.uk
mattdeacon.wordpress.com
www.twitter.com/mattdeacon