I was looking at a post from one of the HP bloggers titled: Finding success in uncertain times (#3) - guard against sharks! discussing the difference between uncertainty and risk.
Lately I’ve been looking at projects and this concept of uncertainty and risk is becoming something I think about more every day. I no longer receive a project plan without asking for the level of certainty associated with it by the people who created it.
In technology projects there are always risks. Show me a project with no risks and I’m now really concerned. The same is true about a project with no assumptions documented. Sharing this information with the leadership enables better decision making -- it enables them to lead instead of manage.
One team’s risk is another’s opportunity. You just need to understand which side of the equation you are living on.
Technology review asks the question How Young is Too Young to Learn to Code?In the article they talk about a report by Heather Chaplin from KQED about new software that will be aimed squarely at children who have barely learned their colors, much less how to read.
Talk about Digital Natives…
Anyone who has an iPhone and a two year old will probably tell you that touch interfaces are allowing children to spend more time with computers than ever. Although too much screen time in a day has been linked to psychological problems.
The redesigned programming environment is called Scratch, Jr. You can access the development environment and run programs from the web. It is a re-designed version of Scratch, which has been used to teach programming principles to elementary school-age children, that has been simplified. When I looked at the commands it reminded me of a graphical version of a simplified Logo.
I’ve seen some business process modeling tools that could use some of the techniques from this environment
They really shouldn’t be, since your taking something that already works (at least to some extent otherwise why would you salvage it) and make it better. When you look at some of the issues around a modernization activity, these are some of the most important issues that any IT organization needs to deal with. Giving new life to existing solutions should be viewed as lower risk than starting from scratch, but maybe looking at all that old code is why it’s viewed as unexciting and to be avoided. There are definitely some disturbing foundational elements in some of the large COBOL code basis out there, but pulling out the business value can still be interesting.
As the possibilities of cloud computing environments make new lower cost possibilities a reality, taking some of the high value, yet high maintenance applications and restructuring them as services supported by modern workflow, data structures and logic should be viewed as a challenge. The intersection of some of the old technology with today’s modern technical capabilities and business needs is a reach source of flexibility for an organization.
There are a number of questions that make it clear if your applications are constraining the business:
- Do you find it difficult or impossible to gain a competitive edge through your use of information?
- Do you find that systems you thought had paid for themselves long ago are now costing more than ever to maintain and support?
- Are your information users frustrated by unreliable access to data they need or their ability to work with the data?
- Is your backlog of projects growing because your IT organization is too backlogged with maintenance activities to move on to projects that add real value?
- You know there are features in some mission critical application but don’t know where to start to achieve the ROI?
Although these issues may seem more like the last big thing than a technical trend, the calcification of organizations as these layers upon layers of successful projects is an on-going concern for organizations that have been around for a while. That’s one of the reasons I keep focusing on application portfolio management and modernization activities. For many organizations addressing these issues is the only way that they can tackle the next big thing in IT.