Software Development Methods – Selecting a Pragmatic Approach

Having personally done extensive work with many Organisations over the years to help them create, adapt and implement various types of SDLCs for specific transformational needs, I found the recent article by Mark Kennaley very insightful as a categorised summary of the types of Methods that exist.

Mark describes how the various Software Development Methods (used during an SDLC) often reflect the culture, structure and processes of the Organisation and promotes either positive or negative characteristics when it comes to Delivery of  Solutions that meet Business needs.

He states that the typical negative impact on an organisation manifests itself in various costly ways:

…Each time an organization embraces a new methodology, it triggers a large change management exercise. Within IT, this change typically involves a three-to-five year process that results in the following direct costs for a 1,000-person IT organization:

  • Consulting, training, and mentoring costs to go from novice to competent, and even expert, using Stuart and Hubert Dreyfus’ skill acquisition model. For 1,000 people, this can cost $1 million to $2 million.
  • Knowledge management, to avoid the risk of relying on tacit knowledge in the heads of coaches and consultants. If performed, the capture of standard work, or “our way of working,” results in more than $1 million in costs related to process-related software.
  • Changes in approach can also trigger the need for new process management tools. Cost can range from free to $1 million or more.
  • Costs related to putting a new software delivery infrastructure in place. Hitting the reset button can cost upward of $5 million.

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Who’s next on the HP BPM Aquistions list?

After the recent news that Open Text is to acquire Metastorm, it has been revealed that the long rumoured HP talks with Tibco have not gone as planned.

According to a Reuters article,

Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) had considered buying business software company Tibco Software Inc (TIBX.O) until two weeks ago when talks fizzled, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Reuters article goes on to say that

It was not clear why the talks fell apart or if they will be resumed, although the tech giant is currently scouring the industry for other software targets, the sources said.

Tibco has been the subject of takeout rumors for the past several years, yet the company has never disclosed that it has been in talks to sell itself.

The question now is who will HP target to fill its capability gaps? Doug Henschen (InformationWeek) thinks that

If HP is now shopping for other companies, as Reuters’ report suggests, Software AG and Progress Softwareare both potential targets, given their integration, SOA infrastructure, and business process management software. Software AG is larger than Tibco, with about $1.4 billion in revenue last year. Progress is smaller, at $156 million in 2010 revenue.

What are your thoughts?

Gartner Predicts Lack of BPM will topple many Global 2000 Companies

In a recent article from Gartner, they predict that:

Between now and year-end 2014 an intensifying focus on process-related skills, competencies and competitive differentiators will increasingly separate process excellence leaders from the laggards among the Global 2000, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner has identified some of its key predictions for business process management (BPM) in 2011 and beyond.

“A key theme in our BPM predictions for 2011 is the rising focus on making business process improvement (BPI) a core competency of the organization — and on the capabilities and tools required to gain that competency,” said John Dixon, research director at Gartner. “Increasing process skills in the Global 2000 will further separate the companies with enlightened process experts from those that are simply competent in the basics — and will intensify the negative repercussions and devastating consequences from public exposure of process weakness.”

It goes on to state that:

  • Between now and year-end 2014, overlooked but easily detectable business process defects will topple 10 Global 2000 companies.
  • By 2015, context-aware computing will be used to rejuvenate at least 25 percent of “commodity” enterprise processes that are currently perceived as “low value.”
  • By 2014, process templates from “nontraditional application vendors” will be included in the shortlisted options for 70 percent of application purchases.
  • General BPM certification will grow in value but will not be materially relevant to BPM hiring decisions before 2015.

Would love to hear your thoughts on how well prepared your organisation is.

Further reading:

Yet another BPM acquisition – Metastorm bought by OpenText

OpenText announced earlier this month that they have entered into an agreement to buy Metastorm.

According to the press release OpenText said:

“Metastorm will add complementary technology and expertise that enhances our ECM solutions portfolio,” said John Shackleton, President and Chief Executive Officer of OpenText. “We look forward to welcoming its employees and customers to OpenText.”

Metastorm commented that:

“We are excited by the opportunity to join the OpenText team,” said Robert Farrell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Metastorm. “Combined with OpenText, Metastorm will be able to provide a broader and deeper range of offerings to our customers, while leveraging the strength and stability that comes with being part of a larger global organization.”

Follow the various opinions and comments here:

Interested in hearing your thoughts.

Adios to Google Wave! RIP!

For those not plugged into the news continuum that is the Internet, it may be news to some that last week Google has announced that it is to stop its collaborative tool Google Wave.

According to this Google post they had the following to say…

We have always pursued innovative projects because we want to drive breakthroughs in computer science that dramatically improve our users’ lives. Last year at Google I/O, when we launched our developer preview of Google Wave, a web app for real time communication and collaboration, it set a high bar for what was possible in a web browser.

They go on to say that ….

We were equally jazzed about Google Wave internally, even though we weren’t quite sure how users would respond to this radically different kind of communication…

…But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects like Buzz.

As a early adoptor I found it interesting and very innovative. However, early on it became apparent that it was a very technical and feature rich application that only techies really knew what to do with. If anything Wave was too far ahead of its time and perhaps had too many features that confused users.

In short, it can be described as ‘a solution waiting for a problem’. Just think if it was as good at predicting the future as keeping track of the past….

Many times innovation and failure is not a bad thing. It usually provides the impetus to spawn other ideas and solutions that find a greater and more fertile audience in other areas. Any ideas on what they plan on coming up with next?

New Book – Microsoft Visio 2010 Business Process Diagramming and Validation

For those interested in Process Design and Implementation using Visio 2010, David Parker’s new book Microsoft Visio 2010 Business Process Diagramming and Validation explains Visio diagram validation, the APIs behind it, and shows how to to build tools to make it all much easier!

The target audience for this book is the .Net developer community, Office users and technical folks but may still be of interest to those who wish to understand the depth and breadth of  features available in the new version of Visio.

As to be expected, the book is tutorial in structure and many demonstrations for creating Validation Rules, writing ShapeSheet formulae etc. The example code for these are all included and therefore is great for those who ‘learn by doing’ making the practical and immediately deployable examples very useful.

  • Download a free copy of Chapter 2 – Understanding the Microsoft Visio Object Model
  • Watch Visio 2010 Video

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BPM Centre of Excellence – Strategic & Tactical Value Explained

Foreword: Having recently completed the design and implementation of an operational BPM Competency Centre for a Global Insurance company, I thought I would share a bit of my recent experience on the subject. The Competency Centre initiative formed part of the extremely ambitious IT and Business Transformation programme that is fundamental in redefining the organisation and laying the foundation for its expansion strategy across Europe.

Over the decades, the search for IT and/or Business ‘Excellence’ has led to a concept that is often misunderstood and can be very amorphous in definition and execution – Business/IT Transformation.

A term also commonly used in the same context is that of a Centre of Excellence or ‘CoE’ aka ‘Competency Centre.’  In this post, I will not attempt to redefine either, but rather explain a bit more about how the various constituent parts of a CoE can support Transformation projects and more specifically Business Process Management (BPM) initiatives.

The purpose of a CoE is to act as a nucleus for promoting and managing the collaboration of people, processes and technologies around key organisational objectives by ensuring the application of best practices, education and training, support services and technology awareness.

In most organisations, this is an extremely complex challenge, especially if the level of organisational maturity is low and their existing operational model is disjointed. That said, more mature and integrated organisations find the exigency and necessary focus for adopting a CoE a challenge.

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