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Minimal IT newsletters 2008

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We assume that IT should be based on a detailed model of the real world. But the best IT is simpler and focuses on the areas of greatest value.
If you think of testing and documentation as just tasks on your plan, they will be near worthless. If you rely on them as the authoritative specification of your system, they will be near perfect.
Don't work harder. Don't even work smarter. Work less.
The concept of systemhood makes IT easy to understand. It helps us see how to do less work.
Systemhood could challenge project management and service delivery as the basis for managing IT.
What do "governance" and "portfolio management" mean, and which should we use when?
Standards are too important to be monopolies. We need to introduce more competition into standards so that they can be adopted more widely.
Defining "IT system" creates a powerful tool for IT management.
Portfolio management is so strongly associated with projects that it can not be applied to other types of portfolio.
If you do not use a password manager like KeePass, you should.
Building an IT business from scratch is a long and challenging process. Seeing your products come to market and succeed is the most exciting and most rewarding part of all.
To manage quality for the long term, you need a system quality management process that takes quality management off the critical path of business change projects.
IT cost reduction methods fall into ten categories. Some have much more potential than others.
If project management never existed, we would have to invent it. For the same reasons, we have to invent system quality management.
You can cut IT costs and still deliver IT change and services if you can stop IT itself being so demanding.
We have all seen projects and systems treated as special cases, but in many ways all projects and all systems need to be managed the same.
In the past, major shifts in IT architecture have hidden weak long-term management. With no prospect of a similar shift in the near future, it's time to tighten up our act.
Can the principles that underpin test-driven development be applied to the definition and execution of IS strategy?
IS strategy is much more practical when it is based on a description of what good IS looks like.
You can achieve a test-driven IS strategy by implementing a simple, high-level evaluation process.
Test-driven strategy is easier to communicate and more flexible. It provides a clear mechanism for ongoing improvement.
Mobile computing has become an everyday reality. But we have further to go.
You can achieve high levels of reuse if you focus on reusing big things, like whole systems and frameworks. This is much more efficient than assembling from components.
We can learn a lot by looking at excellent examples of long-term maintenance outside IT.
To solve problems of IT ownership, we need to make IT ownable.
Most technical evaluations are unnecessarily difficult and do not deliver good results. Making evaluation easier and more effective is common sense.
We need a way of managing things that do not sit comfortably under our project management and service delivery umbrellas.
Quality management is only effective when it is linked to decision making. To link it, you need to clarify your IT objectives and your decision-making processes, and build a balanced body of information about your IT.
You can achieve the alignment and flexibility of departmental IT, and still keep control and co-ordination at the centre.
To stop standards becoming a bureaucratic monster, spend at least 10% of standards effort on reviewing and changing the standards themselves.
It is hard to measure the business value of IT. But there are a few simple things you can do to make measurement easier.
If you believe and act on business estimates of the value of IT, organisational pressures will drive the figures to be accurate.
The latest formats make it much easier to export data and reports to Excel, even if you do not use Microsoft technology and do not have the latest versions of Microsoft Office.
To manage technology effectively, you need methods that let you manage at different levels of detail at different times and across different subjects.
No IT objective, such as cost reduction, can be managed in isolation. You need to adopt methods that let you manage a basket of competing objectives.
To successfully navigate the IT of mergers, acquisitions and reorganisations you need to quickly establish high-level visibility, direction and control across the new structure. Here's how.
Here in the UK there is a constant stream of scandal as sensitive data is lost by banks, the police, the government, and pretty much everyone else. Rather than being a failure of "procedures", I see this as inevitable because of fundamental problems with the security of PCs and portable media.
Fungibility is a critical concept for managing long-term costs and risk in IT.
Like every profession, IT is driven by the passion and eccentricity of the people who work in it.
The XML processing language XSLT is a powerful and flexible solution to many development needs.
Should we design IT so that every system is entirely independent of every other system?
If we want our IT to consist only of strictly independent systems, what would our design principles be?
What would be the impact on data and database management if we based IT architecture on the principles of strictly independent systems?
System-oriented architecture (SYSOA), which splits IT into strictly independent systems, provides a very effective basis for systems integration.
System-oriented architecture gives clarity and discipline to the management of PCs and web-based systems.
System-oriented architecture could help organisations build effective IT infrastructure by clarifying business requirements and making infrastructure easier to justify.
System-oriented architecture is valuable because it provides a common point of reference between business owners, users, IT management and technical specialists.
Writing regularly makes writing much easier, helps you think more clearly, and helps you get your ideas across more effectively.
You can measure the strategic contribution of an IT system by thinking about two separate things: the strategic contribution of the work supported by the system, and the contribution of the system to the work.
Although it is still early days for cloud computing, offerings such as Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) are becoming viable for mainstream use.
Programmers beware - you will suffer serious performance problems if you ignore the database and do too much data manipulation in the code.

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