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Showing posts from October, 2016

It's not about winning the debate...

Despite its "Trump" headline, this article from the Harvard Business Review is a good guide on how to encourage someone to change their mind about something. The suggestions would be useful for all sorts of arguments - whether Trump or Clinton now, or closer to home the Brexit controversy or more mundanely for issues in any office or workplace.
Calling people names, pretty obviously, doesn't work. It may vent our frustration, or reaffirm our affinity to our group, or even stake a moral claim (e.g. calling someone a bigot is also claiming that we're better than them); what it won't do is get the victim of the name-calling to change their mind . f anything, it will strengthen their resolve.

Arguing through logic sounds more reasonable, but often doesn't work. This is partly because people don't work 100% on logic, and partly because a debate becomes a contest in which we want to win (and, possibly, be seen to win). Losing a contest isn't a good motiva…

Not so simple...

A common approach to explaining the benefits of Enterprise Architecture is to draw two diagrams: one that shows a complicated mess of interconnections, and one that shows a nicely layered set of blocks. Something like this one, which came from some consultants:


I've never felt entirely happy with this approach.  Yes, we do want to remove as much of the needless complexity and ad-hoc design that litters the existing architecture.  Yes, we do want to simplify the architecture and make it more consistent and intelligible.  But the simplicity of the block diagram shown here is unobtainable in the vast majority of real enterprises.  We have a mixture of in-house development and different third-party systems, some hosted in-house, some on cloud infrastructure and some accessed as software-as-a-service.  For all the talk of standards, vendors use different authentication systems, different integration systems, and different user interfaces.

So the simple block diagram is, basically, a l…

Presentation: Putting IT all together

This is a presentation I gave to an audience of University staff: 

In this seminar, I invite you to consider what the University’s online services would be like, if we worked together to design them from the perspective of the student or member of staff who will use them, instead of designing them around the organisational units that provide them. I’ll start with how the services might appear to that student or member of staff, then work back from there to show what this implies for how we work, how we manage our data, and how we integrate our IT systems. It might even lead to changes in our organisational structure.

Our online services make a vital and valued contribution to the work of our students and staff. I argue that with better integration, more consistent user interfaces, and shared data, this contribution could be significantly enhanced.

This practice is called “Enterprise Architecture”. I’ll describe how it consults multiple organisational units and defines a framework …