Business planning for the simple minded

We plan with good intentions. Every year business teams go through planning and budgeting for the upcoming year. It’s a time consuming process. Middle and upper management work and rework presentations to present to executive management possibly board members. Budgets are submitted, then slashed, then reworked, and submitted again. Hours Read More …

Interactions over Processes (user story template)

The first value statement in the Agile Manifesto is “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”. Mike McLaughlin, of Version One, questions the role and influence the growing agile tool set has on individuals and interactions. McLaughlin states that the capability of Agile based software tools adds scalability and efficiencies, Read More …

Reducing work-in-progress for software development

One of the important concepts of the Theory of Constraints is to reduce the amount of inventory in a system to help with the overall goal of increasing the rate of throughput of the system. Inventory is defined as the money that the system has invested in purchasing things that Read More …

Thinking about predictable software development

I was talking with a mentor this week about software development and the challenges of aligning IT ideals with business expectations. From a high level we agreed that the purpose of the software development process should be to produce software that generates monetary value, by revenue increase or cost decrease, Read More …

How marketing technology, agile marketing, and Marissa Mayer are influencing the future org chart

An engineer turned CEO is a story that attracts attention. The recent news that former Google engineer Marissa Mayer is filling the role of CEO at Yahoo! is a great example that traditional career paths in a functional silo are becoming a thing of the past. It should come as Read More …

Attacking process waste

I don’t like process waste. Who does? But how many of us really try to change processes to eliminate or reduce waste? In my experience this is a tough topic, and I dare say an unwelcome one, most of the time. The problem is that in an organization processes are Read More …

The most powerful step in software development

What’s the most powerful step in a software development process? It’s not uncommon for analysts to label steps in a process. The critical path, bottlenecks, waste, and non-essential steps come to mind.  So I would say that common wisdom agrees that all steps in a process do not hold equal Read More …

Software Release Management. It’s more than an IT thing.

This is about IT and Business alignment. I’m fortunate enough to have worked in two different functional areas of a business: IT and Marketing. I can say with 100% confidence that business owners and stakeholders of software releases should be more concerned and involved in the IT release management process. Read More …

What manufacturing can teach IT and finance

Manufacturing is about consistent output. Steady manufacturing is about consistent output at regular intervals. The Ford Motor Company is the classic case study for an assembly line process and mass production.  Think about the big idea for what Henry Ford accomplished. The assembly line reduced the labor hours required to Read More …

Where operations, projects, and innovation collide and divide

To build it or to maintain it. That is the question. It’s a classic question in organizational design. The answer of course is you have to do both. I’m not talking about the decision of a product nearing the end of its life cycle where you decide between adding additional Read More …

How the waterfall method effects the PMO

I’ve used the term “Big Bang Software Development” to describe a process where all of the software project scope is delivered at the same time. Traditionally it’s been called the waterfall model.  Industry experts have compared the waterfall model to newer agile methodologies for how they differ in the approach to Read More …

Urgency is a two-face

What’s the goal of your organization? Do this. Ask executives in your business what the goal of the business is. Is it to make market leading products and services? Is it to make and serve customers? Or is it really to make money? Eliyahu M. Goldratt writes in his book Read More …

Are you hiding behind the process?

Some people depend on the process for making results. I was involved in a situation recently where a software defect was found after the production release. A team member was quick to analyze the situation and indicated that the team had not followed all the steps in the process. They Read More …

Delaying the inevitable – businesses ignoring social media

If your company doesn’t use social media tools to interact directly with customers now, it’s only delaying the inevitable. Every day there are news stories, blog posts, television commercials, radio ads, and print pieces about consumers and businesses using the internet and rich media to communicate with each other. Some Read More …

Use case example – removing the ‘how’ from requirements

I met with members of a project management office this week to plan an upcoming software project. Do understand that this is not an agile software shop. So when I suggested we create use cases in lieu of a more formal requirement document suite I received some inquisitive stares. Really Read More …

eCommerce operation mind map

Statistically speaking, the posts I’ve written about the organizational aspects of an eCommerce operation get more views on the Merchant Stand than any other posts. It’s telling me that people are interested in ideas for how they can structure an eCommerce team and what areas of responsibility they should cover. Read More …