Culture of Innovation

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I wanted to revisit an article that I first read a few years ago to see if my perspective had changed.  “You can’t impose a culture of innovation“, was Jeffrey Phillips perspective on whether or not an organization can be innovative.  I want to explore a different perspective than I did last time  I wanted to focus on this:

Most corporate cultures are built for efficiency, not innovation.  So when people blithely talk about “building a culture of innovation” they forget the old saying that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.  Rome was built over centuries, one brick at a time, and was constantly in flux.

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Blame and Decision Making

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Making decisions in an organization is getting more and more difficult these days. Back in the old days it was easier for a single person to make the decisions for an entire organization. Bob Cratchit only had one boss and he made all the decisions. And while people think that Steven Jobs made all the decisions at Apple, he didn’t. He set a vision and had people work to that vision. Continue reading “Blame and Decision Making”

Automating Bad
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One of the fascinating things about software development is that, if things are done right, things actually get easier as the software hides more and more of the complexity.  For instance, when I was first building Windows applications you needed to understand a lot of things about how Windows handled events and you needed to create an event handler that would take the event and call the right piece of code based on the event.  Over time this concept got abstracted so you didn’t have to know the nitty-gritty details.  More and more abstraction provided a continually higher level view of what you needed to do in order to create a Windows application. Continue reading “Automating Bad”

Making A Difference – Canadian Style
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Sometimes people ask me why I write these notes, why I “stick my head in the hangman’s noose”.  It’s sometimes difficult to put into words why we do things, just that they “feel right” or that something must be done to fight against the injustice.  The U.S. political landscape is full of this indignation and rebellion.  I saw a quote recently that exemplifies why I do it, why I stick my neck out there, not in an effort to get cut, but to encourage others to speak out. Continue reading “Making A Difference – Canadian Style”

Teams Versus Pools

There is an idea floating around out there in the nebulous ether that what an organization needs is a group of talented people and when a project starts up you pick and choose whomever you want from that pool of talent and assign them to the project. When maintenance kicks off on that project you build another team. And when you do more maintenance? Yup, another team. Continue reading “Teams Versus Pools”

Strategic puzzle pieces
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A plan is much like a jigsaw puzzle, a bunch of pieces that, when put together, represent a complete picture. If a puzzle piece goes missing the whole picture may not make any sense. Some plans, when looked at, create round puzzles, others are square and some are rectangular, but the common factor is that a well-done plan creates a complete picture.

Strategies are much like plans, they are a bunch of puzzle pieces that create a longer-term picture. Plans, or strategies, work when all of the puzzle pieces are the same. And therein lies the problem. Continue reading “Strategic puzzle pieces”

Agile Governance
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What is Agile Governance?

No, it’s not a term that I came up with, it has been around for a while and is meaningful with regard to implementing a governance structure.  Accenture defines it this way:

Agile governance requires you to find the right balance between the complete chaos of no governance at all and the smothering of all Agile benefits in overbearing governance

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Non-Partisan Research
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Within the U.S. government, there is an agency called the Congressional Research Service.  As part of the Library of Congress, the CRS works exclusively for the United States Congress.  They provide policy and legal analysis of proposed bills, existing situations, just about anything that someone in Congress needs information about.  They are considered to be accurate and objective in their reporting and provide members of Congress with excellent research in order to better inform the politicians. Continue reading “Non-Partisan Research”

Why Not Cloud?


One of the strategic goals for the Government of Alberta is to demonstrate leadership on climate change.  I think we can all agree that this is a very laudable goal.  Regardless of what Donald Trump and the head of the EPA in the U.S. state, climate change is occurring and we have an opportunity to play a leading role in the future of energy for Alberta and the world. Continue reading “Why Not Cloud?”

Smaller Teams? More Productive

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One of the ideas around DevOps is that things are done quickly.  In order to do things quickly the size the change needs to be small and intuitively that makes a lot of sense.  The smaller the change the faster it can be implemented.

Frederick P. Brooks Jr., in his book The Mythical Man-Month, talks about how developers are poor at estimating and that one of the reasons is that the amount of work to do a single item goes up the more communication is involved.  So, if one person takes twelve months to do a project the typical Project Manager (sorry, painting you as the bad guys right now) would assume that if you assigned two people you could get it done in six months.  And if you assigned six people you would get it done in two months. Continue reading “Smaller Teams? More Productive”