Showing posts with label Framework. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Framework. Show all posts

September 26, 2019

Beautiful Measurements

This is a beautiful set of nested brass weights from France. 

It dates back to 1852!

The weights range from 1 gram to 500 grams. 

These are weights, but also a form of art. 

It is located at the NIST Museum.


There is something comforting about weights, measures, and standards.

It puts an organized construct unto our universe and creates some objective scientific reality to our world. 

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 21, 2019

OFNR Communications Model


This is a useful 4-part communications process (developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg):

1. Observations:  Tell the other person the behavior you observe from them that is making you uncomfortable. 
When I Observe...

2. Feelings:  Explain how the person's behavior makes you feel (happy, sad, angry, annoyed, excited, worried, scared, hurt, embarrassed, confused)
I feel...

3. Needs: Describe what you need from the other person (physiological, safety, social, esteem, self-actualization)
Because I need...

4. Requests: Ask them specifically what you'd like them to do.
Would you be willing to... 
It's a way to make your feelings and needs known and ask nicely what you'd like from others. 

This provides a mechanism to give feedback and work with other people without being confrontational, threatening, dictatorial, or nasty. 

When I see you reading my blog, I feel happy, because I need to try to be a good person and good influence in this world. Would you be willing to share my blog with others? ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal and Colleague from Work)
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July 7, 2012

Hierarchy of Computing

One fundamental framework that I was always really impressed with and found basically true to life was Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs describes the stages of growth in human beings, and it portray's people focusing on their more primitive needs first and then progressing on to fulfilling higher order needs, as the lower ones are satisfied.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs--starts with addressing our basic Physiological needs for food, water, shelter, clothing and so on; then Safety covers our needs for safety and security; followed by social needs for love and companionship; next is Self-esteem which is our need for respect and value; and finally is Self-actualization where we actually fulfill our potential. 

What occurred to me is that computing is an aid for us to fulfill our human needs, and as such we can map a Hierarchy of Computing to the Hierarchy of Needs.

The result is a "Hierarchy of Computing," as follows:

- Automation--helps us produce the sustenance items that we need for our physiological needs and includes everything from agricultural plows and harvesters to production line automation and systems.

- Weaponization--this is the systemization of everything supporting our homeland security, military, and intelligence apparatus from nukes to drones, satellites, missile shields, cyber and bioweapons, and more.

- Social/Mobile--these are technologies and apps that help us communicate and interact with one another, whenever and wherever we are.

- Business Intelligence--addressing Big Data, this is the capability to capture, catalog, analyze, locate, and report information to drive value, power, and respect.

- Ethical--the use of technology to aid timely decision-making and meaningful, value-driven action--helps us choose and execute right from wrong and is the ultimate in progressing toward our self-actualization.

I struggled with where Robotics fits in this hierarchy and I decided that robotics is not a specific layer in the hierarchy of computing itself, but rather is a application of the technology that can be applied at every level. For example, robotics can aid automation on the assembly line or it can be used for safety to defuse roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan or they can be applied to social needs as nursing and home aids for the elderly and handicapped and so on. 

I am excited by this alignment of the Computing Hierarchy to the Needs Hierarchy in that it provides a framework for advances and application of technology to supporting our very humanity.

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 5, 2012

SDLC On Target

I found this great white paper by PM Solutions (2003) called "Selecting a Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Methodology."

The paper describes and nicely diagrams out the various SDLC frameworks:

- Waterfall
- Incremental
- Iterative
- Spiral
- RAD
- Agile


It also provides a chart of the advantages and disadvantages of each framework. 

Finally, there is a simple decision cube (D3) based on time horizon, budget, and functionality for selecting an SDLC framework. 

This is a very useful and practical analysis for implementing SDLC, and it aligns closely with the guidance from the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-64, "Security Considerations in the Systems Development Life Cycle" Appendix E that states:

"The expected size and complexity of the system, the development schedule, and the anticipated length of a system's life may affect the choice of which SDLC model to use."

While NIST focuses on the time horizon and complexity versus the PM Solutions Decision Cube that uses time horizon, budget, and functionality, the notion of tailoring SDLC to the project is both consistent and valuable. 

Just one more resource that I found particularly good is the Department of Labor IT Project Management guidance (2002)--it is a best practice from the Federal CIO website.

I like how it integrates SDLC, IT Project Management, IT Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC), and security and privacy into a cohesive guide. 

It also establishes project "thresholds" to differentiate larger or more significant projects with greater impact from others and calls these out for "more intensive review."

Even though these these resources are around a decade old, to me they are classic (in a good sense) and remain relevant and useful to developing systems that are on target.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 20, 2010

Selfishness and The Paradox of Emotional Intelligence



I was fortunate to be in a terrific leadership development class this week held in coordination with University of Virginia, and one of the instructors shared this interesting explanation about the four levels of emotional intelligence (EI), which I have put into the attached graphic (note: there are other variants of this).


Essentially there are three levels of EI that have to do with “me”:

1. Self-Awareness: Being cognizant of one’s own emotions, thinking and behaviors

2. Self-Management: Being able to control negative displays of emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

3. Self-Direction: Being able to positively choose emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

These three levels are steps and maturity in the development of a person’s emotional intelligence.

Then, for those that are able to “breakthrough” to the next and forth level having to do with “others” (instead of “me”), there is a fourth level called:

4. Empathy: Being able to understand, share, and identify with the emotions and thoughts of others.

The idea here, as another instructor stated, is that we close the [emotional] gap with others through empathy and disclosure.”
However, in order to get to the stage where we can genuinely connect and empathize with others, we must first work on ourselves.

From a leadership perspective, I think this model of emotional intelligence is very valuable, because it provide us the framework for maturing our emotional self-development starting with basic awareness and advancing toward gaining control over ourselves and ultimately being able to have meaningful understanding for others.

It is only with such understanding of and connection with others that we can create the foundation for successful teamwork, innovation, and improved performance.
Where are we failing on EI?
  • Being so busy with “the daily grind” that we don’t have the time, energy, or capacity to do justice to the relationships in our lives.
  • Lack of mastery of the “me”—we lack self-awareness and are not in control of ourselves.
  • Narcissism that leads us to ignore the others around us and therefore leads us to have difficulty relating to them.

All of these, in a sense, represent a huge life paradox. We are taught that to succeed we must work on ourselves, and in turn we have become a self-focused society.


We have learned that success means being perfectly educated, thin, fit, married, earning a huge salary, and so on. But we are so busy thinking about these goals and looking at them as pure achievements to be marked off on a list that we lose sight of the process. And in doing so we actually become less effective at the things we are trying to do.


The process is about becoming emotionally intelligent—about learning the skills of self-control, self-management, self-direction, and ultimately empathy.


In fact, to succeed—and to find meaning in that success—we must give meaningfully to others in time and energy, rather than just taking for ourselves.


Ultimately, it doesn’t have to be a “breakthrough” event to empathize, give, and build healthy and productive relationships. Regardless of how much money or prestige we achieve in life, I believe that achieving the “us” rather than only focusing on the “me” is truly where the biggest payoff is at in life.

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October 30, 2010

The Coloring Book of Leadership


In a leadership course this week, I was introduced to the “Insights Wheel of Color Energies,” a framework for understanding people’s personalities and leadership styles.

In the Color Energies framework, there are four types of personalities/styles:

  • “Fiery Red”—The Director—competitive, demanding, determined, strong-willed, purposeful, and driving— they seek to “do it NOW.”
  • “Cool Blue”—The Observer—cautious, precise, deliberate, questioning, formal, and analytical—they seek to “do it right.”
  • “Sunshine Yellow”—The Inspirer—sociable, dynamic, demonstrative, enthusiastic, persuasive, and expressive. They seek to “do it together.”
  • “Earth Green”—The Supporter—caring, encouraging, sharing, patient, relaxed, and amiable—they seek to “do it in a caring way.”

There is no one best type—each is simply a personal preference. And further, each of us is “incomplete and imperfect”.
  • The one who seeks to “do it right” may miss the point with their “analysis paralysis” when something needs to be done in a time-critical fashion.
  • Similarly, the leader that’s focused on “just getting it done now” may be insensitive to providing adequate support for their people, or collaboration with others in the organization.

We saw this clearly in the class. After each person was asked to self-identify which color they were most closely aligned to, it was clear that people were oriented toward one or maybe two types, and that they did have an individual preference.

While no framework is 100% accurate, I like this one as it seems to capture key distinctions between personalities and also helped to make me more self-aware. (I am Cool Blue and Fiery Red, in case you ever decide to “tangle” with me :-).

Combining Color Energies with other personality assessment frameworks, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI), can help us to understand both ourselves and others.

With that knowledge we can work together more productively and more pleasantly, as we empathize with others rather than puzzling about why they act the way they do.

Once we start to identify the “color personalities” of others whom we know and work with, we can better leverage our combined strengths.

To me, therefore, leaders have to surround themselves with other excellent people, who can complement their personality and leadership styles so as to fill in the natural gaps that we each possess.

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July 12, 2009

Information Management Framework

The Information Management Framework (IMF) provides a holistic view of the categories and components of effective information architecture.

These categories include the following:

Information-sharing--Enable information sharing by ensuring that information is visible, accessible, understandable, and interoperable throughout the enterprise and with external partners.

Efficiency--Improve mission efficiency by ensuring that information is requirements-based, non-duplicative, timely, and trusted.

Quality--Promote information quality, making certain that information provided to users is valid, consistent, and comprehensive.

Compliance--Achieve compliance with legislation and policy providing for privacy, freedom of information, and records management.

Security-- Protect information assets and ensure their confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

All areas of the framework must be managed as part of effective information architecture.

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July 4, 2009

CIO Support Services Framework

The CIO Support Service Framework (CSSF) has 5 major components:
  1. Enterprise Architecture--for strategic, tactical, and operational planning
  2. Capital Planning & Investment Control (or IT governance)--for managing the IT investment decision process (i.e. "putting those plans to work")
  3. Project Management (or a project management office)--to effectively execute on the programs and projects in the transition strategy
  4. Customer Relationship Management (or IT service management)--for managing service and support to our customer (i.e. with a single--belly button; one call does it all)
  5. Business Performance Management--how we measure & drive performance (like with an IT executive dashboard--so we know whether we are hitting the target or not!)
Together these five areas make up a holistic and synergistic set of CIO support functions.

So that we move the mindset of the CIO from fighting day to day operational problems to instead strategically managing IT service provision through:
  • Planning
  • Investing
  • Executing
  • Servicing
  • Measuring
This is how we are going to achieve genuine success for the CIO in the 21st century and beyond.


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May 23, 2008

Frameworks and Enterprise Architecture

One of the issues facing IT professionals these days isn’t a scarcity of IT frameworks, but rather many good frameworks that can be in conflict if we do not sort them out.

Usually each framework is focused on a certain lifecycle, which on one hand helps align it to a certain view on things, but on the other hand complicates things further, because each framework attempts to be all things to all people, by covering an entire lifecycle.

Here are some examples of the frameworks and their associated lifecycles:

  • Enterprise architecture – the IT investment life cycle (Capital Planning and Investment Control, CPIC)
  • SDLC—the Systems Development Life Cycle
  • ITIL –the service lifecycle
  • PMBOK—the project lifecycle
  • CMMi—the process lifecycle
  • Configuration Management—the asset lifecycle

Each framework has plans that need to be developed, processes to be followed, reviews that get conducted, and go/no-go decisions issued.

If an organization attempts to introduce and utilize all these frameworks then there can result a major overlap of structures, processes, and reviews that can literally drive a project manager or program sponsor nuts!

The organization could grind to a standstill trying to comply with all these frameworks.

I believe that each framework has useful information and guidance for the organization to follow and that the key to implementing these is to determine which is the PRIMARY framework at various stages of IT. The other frameworks may overlap in the stages, but it is the primary framework that guides that each stage.

Here’s an example using a few of these:

  1. Enterprise architecture is the decision making framework for IT systems. It has a core function in influencing IT investment decisions based on the target architecture and transition plan and EA reviews of proposed new IT projects, products, and standards. Therefore, EA is the primary or dominant framework in the planning stage of IT (up to the IT investment decision).
  2. SDLC is the development framework for IT systems. SDLC has a core function is guiding the software development process. As such, SDLC is the primary framework for the development phase of the system (which comes after the IT investment decision and before operations and maintenance). Of course, SDLC has planning phases and O&M and disposition phases as well, but SDLC is the primary framework only in the development stage.
  3. ITIL is the service framework. It has a core function in determining how service will be delivered and supported. ITIL is the primary framework for the O&M stage of the system (this comes after the development and before the disposition of the system), since that is when the system needs service delivery and support. Again, ITIL has other stages that overlap with other frameworks, for example planning and configuration management, but ITIL is the dominant framework only in the O&M phase.

The other frameworks should conceptually also assume a primary role for specific phases of IT and then pass off that role to the next framework that is dominant in that particular area.

4. For example, maybe PMBOK would have a dominant framework role also in the planning phase, looking at cost, schedule, performance, resources, risks, and so on (this would be after the IT investment decision of EA and before the development or acquisition phases). Again that is not to say that PMBOK doesn’t shed light and provide requirements for other stages of IT—it does—but it just is not the primary framework for those other stages.

I believe it is only by developing a unified lifecycle and assigning primary framework “ownership” to each stage will we be able to develop a truly workable IT structure and process for our organizations. As the saying goes: ”Two kings cannot sit on one throne.” So too, two frameworks cannot be simultaneously guiding our project managers and program sponsors nor taking up valuable IT resources.

The end goal is a single, simple, step-by-step process for our projects to follow with clear actions, milestones, and reviews, rather than a web of confusion and siloed, redundant governance processes in play.


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