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Minimal IT newsletters 2009

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The economic downturn will put a pressure on costs, increase compliance requirements and force organisational change. But there are huge opportunities for organisations who can weather these storms.
Understanding opportunity cost can help you make the case for increasing some types of IT investment during an economic downturn.
It is hard to ask for money in a recession. Any case you make needs to be understandable, objective, fact-based, prioritised and transparent.
The recent problems with Google are a wake up call to keep the Internet as a tool of freedom, and not let it become a tool of control.
When discussing IT with our non-IT colleagues, we should not start with details of technology, or business concepts like processes and drivers. We should usually start by talking about "systems".
Free and open source software is constantly improving, and becoming more of a challenge to paid-for, closed-source software. Where will it end?
Sustainable IT isn't about low-power hardware and recycled paper. It's about recognising the importance of the ongoing management of IT.
You can manage IT much more effectively by asking the question "What's really important?"
Sometimes we need to look harder to find really good solutions.
In the present economic climate, we need to focus on the fundamentals of IT, and root out IT projects that are just for show.
Virtualization cuts cost and risk, gives you flexibility, and encourages architectures that are more aligned to business.
Different virtualization technologies are appropriate for different needs.
There are a large number of virtualization products, with no single dominant vendor.
Always use virtualization unless you have a compelling reason not to, use different virtualization products for different purposes, and expect virtualization products to change.
A good questionnaire is a really useful tool for technology selection. It frees the decision makers to focus on the most important parts of the decision.
Advanced and specialised development tools may be unsuitable for complicated functionality because of difficulties with testing.
What does advanced IT management look like?
I had an idea for a new acronym - BOCTOC - to describe how we should apply IT to business.
I have recently been applying development methods and tools to InfoSec work. The experience has made me realise just how much we can learn by sharing our skills more widely.
We can significantly improve IT value, cost, risk and responsiveness if we understand what's really going on with our IT. To start, we need to understand what's really going on in our IT organisations.
Consistent, long-term success in IT is impossible because IT management is fragmented and inward-looking.
Despite the effort put into managing people, processes and technology, IT management is chronically fragmented and inward-looking. We need to think of IT differently.
The combination of shared understanding of IT, long-term proactive management and evaluative theory is a powerful tool for addressing the problems and opportunities of IT.
Although still in its infancy, Opera Unite could start a big shift in how we use IT.
Businesses should upgrade to Internet Explorer 8 to remove the standards compliance problems with old versions.
Like gardening, effective IT depends more on constant attention than it does on grand designs.
Power*Architect is a free, open-source data modelling and database design tool that is easy to use and packed with features.
Netbook computers are fast becoming mainstream. Their success shows the power consumers have over the major technology providers.
Process maturity models must be supported by a simple view of how value is delivered.
IT is so mentally demanding that we do not get the opportunity to think how to improve.
Make a great leap forward in the management of change by banning projects and project management.
We can learn a lot from the business practices of Ryanair, both bad and good.
To meet deadlines, we focus on accurate estimation and tracking. We often overlook the important skill of knowing when to start finishing.
IT project management is submerged in a culture of dishonesty.
Make IT infrastructure and architecture easier to manage by wrapping it in a management model.
A management model based on systems and qualities provides a wrapper that makes IT infrastructure and architecture easier to manage
We are so obsessed with service and business focus that we forget the special role that we have within business.
Living wills for IT systems, which explain how they need to be managed at the end of their life, would help us keep them running usefully for much longer.
Business Process Management software would be much more useful if it was presented more conservatively.
Like the taste umami, there are aspects of IT management which we all vaguely recognise but which we have not defined well enough to manage effectively.
How should we design and code for Web 2.0?
Choosing development tools is one of the most critical and potentially dangerous decisions that organisations make.
Necessary complexity is a unifying principle that should underpin our IT management and design.
Who do you help to be awesome at what?
The latest release of Ubuntu for netbooks demonstrates the increasing quality and flexibility of Linux.
Every day at precisely 10am, gather your team. One by one, ask them to put on a silly hat, hop on one leg, and say in a squeaky voice what is their single most pressing problem for the day.
A compelling PowerPoint presentation is no substitute for proper systems design and project plans.
I recently implemented a software release with a significant bug in it. Does this mean my testing approach is flawed?
The UK government's "Make IT Better" report is deeply flawed.
Here's a handy checklist for any PC maintenance you are asked to do over the holidays.

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