Not As Good As Bacon

Photo by Jon Butterworth on Unsplash
Photo by Jon Butterworth on Unsplash

I was talking to someone the other day and he brought up how well we treat some of our food, compared to some of our staff.  (Thanks Robert)  I thought about it and tried to figure out if that was true.  Let’s not limit ourselves to just Alberta, though, let’s talk about world-wide standards and see how we compare.  Let’s see how we treat our staff in comparison to how pig farmers in Africa should be treating their pigs.  (Harsh, but let’s give it a shot.)

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Corporate Defensive Processes
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I was watching a little video on CNN that talked about the rising cost of medical care in the United States. One of the phrases that captured my attention was “defensive medicine“.  Essentially defensive medicine is the idea that if you run another test, get another opinion, you will be insulated from lawsuits or at least minimize the damage of a lawsuit. The doctor knows the test is useless but does it anyway for purely defensive reasons.

Unfortunately, that is the way that many companies, particularly governments, behave in their day to day activities. Continue reading “Corporate Defensive Processes”

A Brand New World

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The world is changing, we all know that.  We can even say that the perceived rate of change is faster than ever.  Once again that seems pretty obvious.  But how is it really changing?

The Institute of Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances estimates that for 2017 there are going to be 17,385 mergers and acquisitions with a value close to $2.5 trillion dollars.  And that’s just in North America.  The number one merger in North America in since 2000?  America Online taking over Time Warner.  The number four merger?  AT&T taking over Time Warner last year (still pending approval).  Organizations are purchased, changed, purchased again like properties in Monopoly. Continue reading “A Brand New World”

Project Management Evolution – An Oxymoron

Writing a good headline is key to getting someone to read your article.  For instance, “Project management: A surefire way to kill your software product” is an excellent title.  He even starts off with a good sentence:

For many years, I have observed that the quality of software produced by organizations is a decreasing function of their emphasis on project management over business value creation-that is, their obsession with predictability and efficiency over learning and adapting.

Or in “Don Speak”, the more obsessed you are with following the plan, the more likely the product is going to suck.  (Yeah, I really talk like that.)  I encourage you to read the article.
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Privacy By Default

Sometimes we need to think long-term.  Unfortunately, in the government, long-term normally means “next fiscal year” or maybe even “next quarter”.  But that’s not long-term enough.  Let’s take a look at an example of where thinking long term, even in terms of the government long term, will have an impact on what we do right now.
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Political Empires

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All empires become arrogant.  It is their nature.
– Rutherford, Edward (Author)

If you wish to be a success in the world, promise everything, deliver nothing.
– Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor

At what point does something become an empire?  There are some that state that “an empire is a large political party who rules over territories outside of its original borders”  For me that seems like a good definition although I would replace “large political party” with “entity”.  In some cases, the empire is nothing more than the dreams of a single individual and it is his will, his determination that is driving the whole domination of others.  And, to be honest, if you do the replacement with “entity”, the comment is applicable to empires that people build within organizations. Continue reading “Political Empires”

A New Perspective

100 days.  Much has been made of this magic number.  People talk about what they are going to do in their first 100 days in office.  Or if they get a new position what they need to accomplish in their first 100 days.  Various research firms have talked about what a new CEO/CIO needs to do in their first 100 days.  Now, you can create as many lists as you like and talk to as many consultants as you want, but, to be honest, the 100-day limit is completely bogus. It’s an arbitrary number thought up by somebody at some point to essentially put a line in the sand saying “we’re here, where are we going to be in 100 days”. Continue reading “A New Perspective”

Technology Laggards

There is a concept of a “Technology Adoption Life Cycle“.  I’m sure you’ve seen it before, or at least a variation of it.

The bottom scale is the age of the technology from the beginning to it’s obsolescence.  The people getting on board early are the Innovators, followed by the Early Adopters and so on.  I didn’t know until I started researching it that it has actually been in existence for many years and the terms were originally defined by the North Central Rural Sociology Committee, Subcommittee for the Study of the Diffusion of Farm Practices.  It was interesting their definitions of the terms: Continue reading “Technology Laggards”

Governance Is Not Management

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What is governance?

I think to a lot of people it is a kind of nebulous thing that sits out there and hits their hands when they are about to do something wrong.  For others, it is a strictly controlled and regimented structure in which everything needs to exist.  But what is governance?  Why do we need it?  And, more importantly, are we doing it correctly? Continue reading “Governance Is Not Management”

Governance versus Management

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I keep hearing about how we have to improve our “governance”, make sure that the “governance” structure is correct, come up with terms of reference for the “governance” groups and so on.  But does anyone really know what governance is?  If we adhere to ITIL then according to the ITIL Service Strategy Guide:

Corporate governance refers to the rules, policies and processes (and in some cases, laws) by which businesses are operated, regulated and controlled.

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