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Blockchain as the next platform

Brian Forde is the senior adviser on mobile and data innovation to The White House. In his PDF 15 talk, he explains how blockchain can be used to support civic tech innovation.

Read our report on Bitcoin / Blockchain (in Dutch). You can download it here.

Where content meets behavior for architects

Soft skillsIn my last post, I talked about the shift made by CESCE, a globally operating credit risk insurance company based in Spain. I also mentioned CESCE’s six considerations for enterprise architects: Be proactive, Cooperate, Go beyond frameworks, Be Agile, Sell, and Show Audacity.

Earlier this month, I received an invitation to present at the Enterprise Architecture Management User Group in Leipzig, on the topic ‘Softskills and careermodels for Enterprise Architects.’ Since then, I’ve had conversations with architects responsible in various organizations, both commercial and government. And in all these conversations, the topic of skills and competences of the organizations architects came up. Every one of my ‘conversation partners’ appeared to be searching for ways to get their architectural team up to speed and get them to become more effective. And all of them focused on the lack of soft skills of their architects.

The interest in soft skills for architects is not new. The importance for architects of having the skills to connect with their stakeholders and to communicate effectively has been stressed by many for a long time. Still, even though the architects that possess the right social skills are the most succesful, architects that do not excel in these skills could mostly still get away with it. But times have changed. [Read more…]

Robot-staffed hotel opens in Japan

Japan has created the world’s first hotel staffed by robots, and it opens to guests this month. The machines can check you in, carry your luggage or offer travel suggestions

The value of a PMO – (2/2)

PMO picIn our previous article, The Value of a PMO – (Part 1/2), we discussed the definition of value and ways to capture / deliver the values from a PMO. Today, we will discuss ways you can measure the value of a PMO and how to communicate this.

 Measuring Value

You can say that you are adding value through improved performance in project delivery, but unless you really have a way to demonstrate it in practice, it becomes nothing more than mere words. So, how can you show it? Quick answer: By measuring it. Defining, selecting, tracking and controlling a set of key metrics, showing the variance across your – original state, baseline, current state, your progress, aspirational state, and target – is surely a way to do it. These key metrics are commonly referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs) and, as the name suggests, provide an indication of how successfully an individual / team / department / organization is operating. There are a number of KPIs that the PMO may want to measure, but the crucial message when selecting those is that it is better to have a few couple of meaningful ones than a lot of KPIs that are simply irrelevant. Again, just like with the perception of value, the definition and selection of the KPIs to be measured should not be an isolated decision of the PMO, but should be discussed and selected in partnership with their customer, the PMO’s sponsor. Most of the time, gathering of data for KPI-tracking can be time-consuming for PMO staff, so you should at least ensure that they are significant to your sponsor and aligned to your services, functions and PMO type. [Read more…]

Self Aware Robot

The value of a PMO – (Part 1/2)

In this article, we will discuss the definition of value, the value creation process and ways to deliver these values as a PMO.

From buzzword to valuable word: What is value after all?

Value,’ add ‘value,’ added ‘value‘ solution – You have certainly heard this word in different contexts, read in various articles and presentations and also discussed about it. It’s everywhere and in the project management world the situation is no different. Everything is about value nowadays, but what does this mean to your organization and to your PMO?

Is it value for money? Is it achieving your strategic objectives? Is it the benefits delivered? Is it about better performance and happy stakeholders? Or, is it all of these combined?

It may seem like a trivial matter of semantics, but semantics do matter if you want to have a common shared understanding of the world you live in. Then, let’s start there. What is value after all? [Read more…]

Can bitcoin and other virtual currencies ever replace “real” money?

Read our report on Bitcoin / Blockchain (in Dutch). You can download it here.

Agile Quick Hit

Agile Quick Hit - 1An Agile process designed to support projects with short timelines. 

Agile, since it’s inception, was designed to deliver business value quickly and more often. Within Agile, business value is delivered through iterative defining of business requirements, paired testing, design and development, and continuous integration. However, the most commonly used Agile implementation, SCRUM, does not lend itself easily for shorter duration projects. When you are faced with project durations of less than 10 weeks, you will often find that you do not have time for Sprint Planning, Story Grooming, Story development, or Sprint-End Retrospectives. All of these ceremonies are important, but following all of them will take up important development time.

Introducing Agile Quick Hit

“Agile Quick Hit” is a process designed to support short duration projects, such as those that are between five and ten weeks in duration. It takes the Sprint Planning, Story Development and Story Grooming Ceremonies, then merges them together, and moves them to the front of the project in a “Kick-Off Ceremony.”  The Sprint-End Retrospective is moved to the end of the project and is called a “Project-End Retrospective.” Stories take on a new life as “Epic Milestones” and “Iteration Milestones,” while tasks remain the same.  There are a few other minor modifications to the standard SCRUM process, which is detailed below. [Read more…]

Gondola-pop and the Uberfication of Venice

Venice - Gondola and Water TaxiJust back from a wonderful week in this beautiful city that simply needs some transportation improvements. The Gondola market in Venice (Italy) is chaotic, inefficient and definitely not transparent. For instance, how can you tell what’s the best place to start a Gondola ride? Who’s the best Gondolier, singer or harmonica player? Wouldn’t it be awesome to control all that with your smartphone?

Surprising, but predictable

Some day, this will happen (whether you like it or not). The dynamics behind this prediction is written down in an Harvard Business Review (HBR) article called “Innovating over the Horizon: How to Survive Disruption and Thrive” by Clayton Christensen and Max Wessel. In the HBR webinar supporting the article, the authors called these market changes “surprising, but perfectly predictable.” Uber’s slogan “When lifestyle meets logistics” is the excuse to enter the market of a city without any cars. They can easily scale their existing platform, using the power of what Christensen and Wessel call “the extendable core.” Uber can take away all the hassles – from finding your top-1 Gondolier to having your fares automatically paid while leaving the boat  – this is the lifestyle we’re getting used to. [Read more…]

Watch my webinar on “Data Driven Decisions for Healthcare”

View the webinar on Data Driven Decisions for Healthcare:

Click here to download the presentation. [Read more…]

Pepper: Let the future begin

Hacking your Doorbell

doorbell circuitShould you still care about electronics and build your own devices or is this a thing of the past?

Looking back a few years ago, there weren’t too many IoT services around. Most consisted of experimental services and “Do it yourself”© solutions. Today, it’s a totally different world with Cloud vendors such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Cloud Services offering IoT communication solutions, specialized PaaS solutions such as IBM Bluemix, or full-on product retailers such as Samsung SmartThings. And, this is of course just a handful of all the available service providers that exist today.

Back in those days, there were also no Arduino or Raspberry Pi, but just regular microcontrollers on which you had to spend quite some time to figure out how they worked. With all that said, it might seem strange to think that someone would suggest you to spend time, disassembling a piece of hardware such as a doorbell and build a custom solution, rather than buying into the existing Eco platforms that exist today. [Read more…]

Bitcoin: The End of Money (as we know it)

Also read our report on Bitcoin / Blockchain (in Dutch). You can download it here.

Test Automation: Is it about Recording or Engineering?

test automationTest automation is a promising way to increase the efficiency of repetitive testing tasks. However, it poses few challenges in ensuring its effectiveness and expected benefits.

When thinking about test automation, the first thing to remember is that testing includes much more than just a set of repetitive tasks. Therefore, not everything can (and should) be automated. For example, key testing tasks such as the definition of test objectives or the design of a test plan are engineering tasks that constitute the base for testing, regardless of whether the tests are manually or automatically executed. On the other hand, not all test case components or test types are needed to be repeatable, while others (loading tasks, regression tests, etc.) may really maximize the benefits of automation.

The decision on whether test cases are to be or not to be automated needs to be supported by the expected Return on Investment (ROI) analysis. It’s done by considering several aspects such as the effort for the creation of automated tests, the execution time, the feedback provided and the maintenance effort according to expected changes. In other words, we cannot limit the analysis to the conception that automation is a one-shot task, because obtained test case scripts need to be maintained. [Read more…]

Phone Wall

new-finalFA0504

The more you connect, the less you connect. More here.

Scalable Database Solutions for Multi Tenant Applications – The Rise of NoSQL

From GoT to the Enterprise

The continual increase in unstructured Big Data from the Internet of Things, the changeable requirements for developing successful mobile NoSQLapps and the trend for user-generated content are paving the way for NoSQL databases to prove their value. Relational databases will still be useful for managing more structured, uniform data sets, but they don’t possess the flexibility, agility, scalability and analytics capabilities of NoSQL database management systems. For example, multi-tenant applications such as popular games like Vainglory and Game of Thrones, require developers to make frequent feature updates and specific changes to individual characters for creating interesting capabilities to keep users interested. Similarly, as an increasing number of businesses undertake more Agile projects or undergo digital transformations, updates need to be made to enterprise apps much more quickly. The fixed schema in relational databases does not lend itself to this rapid process of continuous innovation.

[Read more…]

The Fourth Revolution

How we think about our place in the world has been transformed through various revolutions of ideas from big thinkers such as Galileo, Darwin and Freud. Now, Philosopher Luciano Floridi believes that we are now into a new fourth revolution in the mass age of information and data. Could it be that now that we are regularly being outsmarted by computers that can reason and analyse better than we can. It’s no longer possible hold to the view that humans are better at thinking than everything else.

Hyper-Convergence in Data Center: Promises and Reality

hyper-convergenceWhat can be more addictive than ‘access without constraint’ to information? However, new storage and computing approaches such as real time analytics, data mining, and stream processing are trending topics today. So, what we cannot, eventually, miss is: The link between all these elements – an essential ‘cement’ that allows to orchestrate these different components of infrastructure in the data center.

Think:

  • What about giving access to information without storage?
  • What to do with a volume of data without being able to access it easily?
  • What would be the value if it takes an eternity to gain access to the data/information in the above two situations?

Therefore, we must  CONVERGE these pieces to achieve a coherent picture and deliver value. However, convergence is not enough. We need HYPER-CONVERGENCE! What does it mean? [Read more…]

Blockchain: cryptoplatform for a frictionless economy

Welcome to the wondrous world of the complex and highly imaginative crypto-economy. The world of blockchain and bitcoin, of miners, sandboxes and hashes. If you are not well-up in this subject yet, you may easily fall under the spell of the fascinating and fast-growing crypto-environments. And even if you have already made a study of the subject, some elements of the crypto-economy may remain mysterious and to some extent intangible.

blockchain_dog

This joke aims to alert you to the serious stuff we are going to dish up. Sometimes the effect of the blockchain as well as its possibilities can be a hard nut to crack. Our advice is: read, leaf back and reread, and consult sources that we refer to. Even if it fascinates you and you might consider your own form of innovation, always keep switching between effect and possibilities. As mentioned, both will be dealt with in this report.

Just imagine that with every transaction that you effect on the internet a notary should look over your shoulder to make sure that nothing is wrong. That would be a very costly affair indeed. But it is an entirely different matter if it could be computerized. What you have then, basically, is a possibility to do friction-free business, as the transaction is already structured to deal with the monitoring. This may well be the key to lots of new possibili- ties. Such a system exists. It is called blockchain, a strong chain without weak links offering a solution to numerous actual problems within the digital economy. In this report we outline the new possibilities.

You can download the complete report (in Dutch) over here. An English version will follow soon.

Do you remember “Them”?

Two robots talking - resizedThis dialogue is not intended to have a disturbing effect. And for some it is already “old news.” But some may have to read it twice to get what the humble author intends. This dialogue stops only after a few “reminisces” but could have gone on and on. The challenge is to make up some yourself. Feel free to share comments below. As a person interested also in Arts, I was pondering how Samuel Becket might have written about technology knowing what we know today. This is my best shot. Of course, he would have written it much better… I am sure. We will perhaps never become extinct; but we might become a little outdated. How comforting (disturbing for some?)  to know that this conversation at least focuses on us. Yet it is not one “future kid” to another or older persons reminiscing about the past. It is perhaps two of our potential future “replacements” talking about their makers (“them”) in the past.

[Read more…]