Six guidelines for making grounded money decisions

Here are six guidelines that will help you keep your limbic system and your money separate so that the lizard in you does not get to make your money decisions.

  1. Avoid making important money decisions when you are emotional. Heightened emotion –– good or bad — narrows your perspective, cuts you off from your sense of the big picture and makes it more difficult to logically see long-term consequences of your choices.
  2. Avoid making important money decisions under tension or fatigue. Increased tension produces emotional regression with increased tension and advanced conflict. The stress response reaction can move someone into a more emotional pattern characteristic of a much earlier age. The same holds true for fatigue. Take important decisions after tensions have calmed and you are rested.
  3. Be willing to sleep on it. There are few true emergencies in life. Investing isn’t one of them and neither is buying that plasma television. If it is a good decision today, it will be a good decision tomorrow after you’ve had the state change and perspective of sleeping on it.
  4. Have a well-informed and fully structured plan. Look at the big picture and your long-term objectives and create a strategy and game plan based on facts rather than on emotions or instinctive reactions.
  5. Stick to your plan especially in times of doing extremely well and feeling euphoric. Stick to the plan. Get your excitement and take your risks in areas other than finance.
  6. Worry about the right things. Decide what you can control (your plan, your actions, your decisions) and what you can’t (market conditions,external events) and put all your effort, energy
    and focus into those things you can affect. When things happen that are beyond your control and that you cannot determine, stick to the plan.

Source: BizSum’s Lite Summary of The Secret Language Of Money
How To Make Smarter Financial Decisions and Live A Richer Life

By By David Krueger, M.D. with John David Mann , McGraw Hill, 2009

——————————————-

I’d rather be a climbing ape than a falling angel. -Terry Pratchett, novelist (b. 1948).

ITIL – Service Strategy

An ITIL Foundation Certificate pin on a shirt.

Image via Wikipedia

The ITIL Service Lifecycle consists of 5 phases:

The first of which is Service Strategy i.e. the process of designing, developing and implementing service management as a strategic resource.

The Service Strategy is at the core of the Service Lifecycle ; the phases Service Design, Service Transition and Service Operation implement this strategy.

What is service strategy?

Strategy can have many definitions but its main goal is to identify the competition and to compete against it by differentiating oneself from the rest and delivering superior performance.

ITIL looks at the 4 Ps of strategy:

Perspective – clear vision & focus

Position – a stance that differentiates us from the competition

Plan – a notion or idea of how the organization should develop its competencies

Pattern – maintaining consistency in decisions and actions

A strategic perspective provides direction. A directionless strategy leads to a rudderless organization. Strategy needs to set a direction, a horizon to cross.

Positioning defines the organization; it is the defining characteristic; you cannot be all things to all people. Positioning narrows focus; it zones in on the factors that set the organization apart.

Positioning is the result of 3 broad inputs: market analysis, internal corporate analysis and competitor analysis.

Positioning is not static and evolves and changes over time.

Strategy as plan focuses on the steps to be taken to implement strategy.

Strategy is the procedures followed that lead to recurring successes.

Service Strategy is about answering hard questions as to what do we specialize in, what are our strategic assets, what are our competencies, what kind of services can we offer, how are we different?

Development and application of service strategy requires constant finessing; service strategy has to be forward looking.

Strategy is the cornerstone of  organizational success.

Have a great day!

Source: A Management Guide Service Strategy Based on ITIL V3

____________________________

Quote of the day:
The most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps. – Benjamin Disraeli

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Web Services, SOA, BPM, and Cloud Computing – VII

Outline of a cloud containing text 'The Cloud'

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What, in heaven, is cloud computing? If you think you already know what cloud computing is about, then this post is not for you. But you can choose to read on, if you like.

The understanding of cloud computing can be as hazy as the term itself.

It seems as though there’s this cloud into which your input disappears and you receive your output , again, via the cloud or that is what all those diagrams depicting cloud computing seem to imply.

Cloud computing seems to be a definitely cloudy term to define the ability to access your applications wherever you go. Cloud computing harnesses or leverages the power of the internet to give you distributed applications that can be accessed from multiple devices (note , it is devices and not multiple computers; multiple devices include multiple computers! Sorry if I sound pedantic!)

Cloud computing definitions include “wherever you go, your applications are”, “the big rental station in the sky.”

The latter because in a multi-tenant cloud computing system, you are in effect sharing resources with other entities or enterprises , all transparent to you and to each other. Hey, what am I saying? Cloud computing is inherently multi-tenant , ask any blogger! But maybe we’re just referring to virtualization, eh? But I am getting ahead of myself here and let’s just start with the definition of cloud computing.

I have defined Cloud Computing elsewhere as:

Cloud computing is outsourcing your computing requirements on demand allowing agile response to ever changing business needs.

Cloud computing is a service. It is usually classified into 3 kinds:

Software As A Service (SAAS)

Platform As A Service  (PAAS)

and Infrastructure As A Service (IAAS).

Wow, you might say, that’s just fine. You’ve simplified it further for me (sarcastically). Now I’m even more confused!

Software As A Service is exactly that; it is a service that fulfils a certain application need , not locally but in the cloud. To give you an example, WebMail services such as Yahoo! Mail, GMail & Windows Live Mail are the simplest form of software as a service. Yes, webmail has been around for quite some time, you may say. But then its the definitions that are new, not the service itself. You may not remember the term ASP (Application Service Provider). Well , SAAS is just a new term for ASP. At your workplace, you may encounter CRM services such as SalesForce.com and Zoho CRM. These are examples of  SAAS applications offered as cloud offerings. These are a boon to non-profit and SMEs to allow them to ramp up quickly without any major up-front capital expenditure. Another relevant example of SAAS is QuestionPro.com and SurveyMonkey. These are  internet based market research tools for individuals and corporates.

Cloud application services or "Software as a Service (SaaS)" deliver software as a service over the Internet, eliminating the need to install and run the application on the customer’s own computers and simplifying maintenance and support. (Sounds suspiciously like ASP!)

  • Network-based access to, and management of, commercially available (i.e., not custom) software
  • Activities that are managed from central locations rather than at each customer’s site, enabling customers to access applications remotely via the Web
  • Application delivery that typically is closer to a one-to-many model (single instance, multi-tenant architecture) than to a one-to-one model, including architecture, pricing, partnering, and management characteristics
  • Centralized feature updating, which obviates the need for downloadable patches and upgrades.

At the next level, is Platform As A Service, If you are a blogger and have your blogs hosted via a blogging service such as WordPress.com, then you are using a Platform As A Service. WordPress.com , in this case, is the platform provider for you to use the blogging service to create and post content.

Cloud platform services or "Platform as a Service (PaaS)" deliver a computing platform and/or solution stack as a service.It facilitates deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software layers.

Finally, there’s IAAS or Infrastructure As A Service. If you decide to host your own web-site or move your blog to a hosting service such as VSNL or Yahoo! Small Business, then you are accessing Infrastructure As A Service, You have access to the infrastructure provided by the hosting service provider and you can install your applications within the constraints of supported programming language, supported database  and storage space provided. Of course, there are the other IAAS providers such as Amazon EC2 and Google App Engine, that you may be more familiar with , if you are technically minded. I chose to give you examples that we are familiar with in our use of the internet.

Cloud infrastructure services or "Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)" delivers computer infrastructure, typically a platform virtualization environment, as a service. Rather than purchasing servers, software, data center space or network equipment, clients instead buy those resources as a fully outsourced service. The service is typically billed on a utility computing basis and amount of resources consumed (and therefore the cost) will typically reflect the level of activity. It is an evolution of web hosting and virtual private server offerings.[40

Other not so well-known cloud offerings include Network As A Service (NAAS), Storage As A Service and Security As A Service though the third may be considered a subset of Software As A Service.

When cloud computing is mentioned , the related words we hear are cost savings, the ability to provide for dynamic computing needs (via hybrid clouds and/or public clouds) and the efficiencies gained at being able to reallocate vital resources to more productive uses. Cloud computing is also referred to as utility computing since resources in the cloud can now be turned on or off as dictated by our requirements. IT has become a commodity. So how elastic are its demand & supply curves? And I’m not being laconic!

But besides big dollar savings for large firms, it is also about how small firms can gain a competitive edge by being able to focus on delivering value and not worry about large infrastructural investments; applications can be sourced from cloud computing providers – leased may be the term more familiar to cloud computing advocates. The option to bring these applications in-house to private or internal clouds resides with the enterprise depending upon how their funding and inferentially ramp-up progresses. The economics of cloud computing, for SMEs and non-profits, is very compelling indeed.

That’s all for now! You can keep your head in the clouds! And don’t sport a clouded countenance! Just kidding!

Have a great day!

E-readers – schooling the future!

Textbook

Image via Wikipedia

Governor Schwarzenegger has announced plans for California high schools to start ditching textbooks in favor of digital media, starting with math and science books. The claim is that with so much information available in digital format, why waste precious little budget money on textbooks that just get outdated and tossed?

Similarly Taiwan plans to roll out e-readers in classrooms this year. This is part of their efforts to further digitize schools and promote reading.

E-readers are definitely cooler than reading PDF files on the laptop and/or computer. The reader is light-weight and easy to carry. In fact, it may not be just an e-reader. Some of the Sony mobile phones have e-reader software installed ; convergence makes for carrying fewer devices.

With e-readers, you probably do not have bother about outdated curriculum. In addition, rolling them out to schools promotes volumes and some form of subsidies.

And there’s always the green argument. E-books are so much greener than paper ones. More green gold!

For the next generation, at least, books in paper form may just become an anachronism.

But for me and others from my generation , until we are convinced that reading off a tiny screen is more convenient and not so much of a strain on our sensitive eyes , the switchover will have to wait. This is not that much of an argument against e-readers – most of us already access our email and the internet on our mobile phones. Also, there is the affordability issue. Books in India , especially ones printed by Indian publishers, cost a tiny fraction of what they cost in the developed world. Would we get the same kind of prices for the e-books? Would this make a case for discounted later editions of books? I have argued for this elsewhere; something like software versions available at discounted rates to existing users. And why not? It is about customer loyalty , after all. Though a more cynical reader may term it more of a lock-in. 🙂 And believe me , no-one likes that word or its connotations. Ha!

What about libraries? How would they make the transition to a digitized world?

Some libraries such as the British Council Library have decided to provide some of their collection of books as e-books to their patrons.

Here are some articles and posts related to schools and e-readers.

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/06/whats-the-eco-impact-of-californias-plan-to-ditch-school-textbooks-for-ebooks.php

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9141560/Taiwan_plans_to_roll_out_e_readers_in_schools

http://collegetou.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/ebook-readers-into-schools/

http://buyetextbooks.com/tag/california-schools

http://technological-teaching-aids.suite101.com/article.cfm/advantages_of_ereaders

http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/2009/1221/The-e-reader-generation-speaks-about-e-books

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Updated for British Council Library.

Getting it out there

In an earlier post, I mentioned not writing about blogging!

Well, this post is about just that!

Obviously I would like more people to read my posts, increase my sphere of influence that is!

And how do I get the message out there?

Rely on social networking sites, simple isn’t it?

But then all the people I know do not log on to the same networking sites. Quite similar to how it works in real life, we don’t all go around in the same circles, do we? Not all the time, that is. Would we want to? Don’t we price heterogeneity? If we were all the same, would we network? There is a price to pay for homogeneity, but that is not the theme of this post.

There is also a place and time for homogeneity, as there is a place and time for heterogeneity.

So how do I get my post out to the other networking sites?

For me, LinkedIn, Facebook and more recently Twitter are the 3 main sites to target.

LinkedIn for my professional needs.

Facebook because it has become the most popular social networking site

and Twitter because I believe that it has become the biggest killer app on mobile phones. I do not have the stats to back up that claim though!

This blog is hosted on WordPress and WordPress is a PAAS i.e. Platform As A Service for non-technical (and technical) persona to avoid the hassle of setting up their own blogging web-site. It works like a charm!

But then there’s also Yahoo! 360 , Windows Live, Ning and Orkut , these cannot be ignored either!

Obviously hand-coding links for these sites is a painful and tedious process.

Here’s where technology comes to my aid!

If you sign on your WordPress admin console and go to my the Tab My Blogs , there you can enable feeds for Yahoo! Updates and Twitter using the instructions given. You would of course need to have a Yahoo! and Twitter a/c respectively.

http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/publicize-twitter/

For Facebook, the procedure is slightly different. Facebook features a micro-blogging facility called Notes (Facebook’s answer to Twitter). This allows you to host a blog on Facebook itself or import your existing blog. I chose to do the latter. You may do the same. This automates your posts to Facebook , admittedly with a tolerable lag.

WordPress has now introduced support for Facebook’s Publicize feature. Log in to your WordPress admin , select tab My Blogs and check Facebook to activate publication of posts to your Facebook profile. This automates publicizing posts to your Facebook a/c as well.

You may choose to use Windows LiveWriter , (like I do) to write and post your articles. If you go to Blog –> Edit Blog Settings , you can set up Live Writer to post to Windows Live an update each time you post to your blog. That takes care of your Windows Live updates. Funny how Microsoft integrates so well with its own products. I’m not complaining though!

For LinkedIn, there are a couple of apps, namely the Twitter status imports and a WordPress app, These can be featured on your profile. So LinkedIn is now clued in as well.

Ning has another 3rd party app for WordPress, that allows imports from your specified blog. This will do the trick if you have a profile on Ning.

Orkut has no direct way of inserting your posts. Here, again Twitter comes to the rescue with a 3rd party app that pulls in your Twitter feeds. 3rd party apps are great, aren’t they?

Now with Google Buzz, which integrates directly with your Gmail account and contacts, all you need to do is click on connected sites, enter your user details for your WordPress and Twitter a/cs , and voila!, your posts and tweets are now being buzzed on Google.

I haven’t considered MySpace, Friendster (is it still around?) and WAYN in this post simply because I have discontinued my a/cs on these social networking sites.

So now you know how to! I just love automation!

Have a good day!

This post updated for Ning, Google Buzz and Facebook Publicize.

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On Waiting

Ten Propositions On The Psychology Of Waiting

  1. Unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time.
  2. Pre- and post process waits feel longer than in-process waits.
  3. Anxiety makes waits seem longer.
  4. Uncertain waits are longer than certain, finite waits.
  5. Unexplained waits are longer than explained waits.
  6. Unfair waits are longer than equitable waits.
  7. The more valuable the service, the longer people will wait.
  8. Solo waits feel longer than group waits.
  9. Physically uncomfortable waits feel longer than comfortable waits.
  10. Unfamiliar waits feel longer than familiar ones.

Source: Services Marketing – People, Technology, Strategy by Lovelock,Wirtz & Chatterjee.

War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can’t smile, grin. If you can’t grin, keep out of the way till you can.

Winston Churchill

Source: http://quotes4all.net/quote_680.html

[Powered by QuotesPlugin v1.0 for Windows Live Writer]

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Architecture – Understanding The Criteria – III

{{tr|1=Depiction of layers of the Service-orie...

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This is the 3rd post in this series Architecture – Understanding The Criteria.

Here we will look at the following aspects of an enterprise architecture:

Interoperability, Configurability,Portability, Resilience and Fault-Tolerance.

Interoperability :

Wikipedia defines interoperability or interoperable as a property referring to the ability of diverse systems and organizations to work together (inter-operate). When we talk about software and interoperability, what we refer to is the ability of different systems to talk to or communicate with each other , in a meaningful manner, thus allowing businesses to unlock value from their existing systems. Interoperability could be within the enterprise allowing departmental systems to integrate their processes or it could be collaboration with their suppliers and/or customers systems, thus integrating the information systems in the extended supply chain.

Interoperability has everything to do with standards; it is about executing software projects using defined communication protocols and file formats.

I have also talked about interoperability specifically with reference to web services and SOA , in my series on Web Services,SOA, Cloud Computing and BPM here.

You can read more about achieving software interoperability here.

 Configurability or configurable systems:

Is your system configurable? Can it be configured to meet my specific requirements? That is the question from the customer. What do you answer?

Most modern systems are configurable. That is, you can either turn on or turn off certain features of the software system using parameter values that are either stored in a system file or a database. The configuration features are usually accessible to the system administrator or a manager role in an enterprise system.[ Before you get too confused, for the layperson, the simplest configurable system that you should think of is a software program that you install on your machine. The program might be a shareware program that has some limited features; after purchasing the system for a small fee, you can unlock all its features by keying in or cutting and pasting the license key.]

For more savvy users, especially those who are more familiar with web browsers, the ability to configure your privacy levels for browsing habits, is another example of a configurable software system.

This is extended to large enterprise solutions, built using decoupled modules. The modularity allows certain modules to be turned on or off depending on what the user requirements are. Configurable systems are more prevalent in packaged software systems, but any good software architect/engineer  worth his salt, will include these practices while building custom-built software as well.

Configurable systems are not limited to the domain of software systems. When you buy a car or a computer, there too you specify the specific configuration or requirements you have in mind, as per your needs and/or as per what you can afford.

Configurability , like portability, provides flexibility.

Portability:

Portability is the art of writing software so that it can run on different operating systems and/or hardware architecture.

Most technical personnel understand portability in terms of porting an application to a different operating system and/or system architecture. This is a task to be performed by versatile programmers who are familiar with the architecture being ported from and the architecture being ported to. There are many reasons why this should happen; one of the principal causes is the upgrading of the hardware the software is being run on; another reason could be migration from one operating system to the other but the enterprise would like to retain the applications in its IT portfolio, if possible.

Web applications and Java technology applications avoid this dilemma ( and now .NET) because in the case of web applications, all you need is a browser; the operating system you are running the system on is irrelevant. As for Java and .NET, as long as the operating system you are running the system on has a JVM or CLR, your system should be able to function w/o any modifications.

In brief, portability is about being able to move your applications to another platform with ease.

More about data portability here.

Resilience:

The dictionary defines resilience as the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity or the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.

When we talk about resilient systems, what we refer to is the ability of software systems to recover gracefully or degrade gracefully w/o sudden loss of functionality. Resilient software systems is by itself a generic term. This includes the ability to be fault-tolerant and reliable. In today’s world, an enterprise is only as resilient as its IT systems. This especially holds true for financial institutions where IT forms the backbone of their daily business use and transactions.

 Fault-tolerant :

When we refer to fault-tolerance, we are referring to software systems that are able to degrade gracefully. At no point, are we referring to people though there is definitely scope for fault-tolerance in human beings as well, especially project managers!

The ability to recover from errors and continue functioning, albeit at a decreased level of functionality or performance level characterizes a fault-tolerant system. Fault-tolerant systems originated with software written for the NASA space program, where it was critical that software should continue to function even if a critical error occurred.

Fault-tolerant systems strive to catch errors where they occur but like human beings, fault-tolerant systems may not be infallible, and thus a certain amount of redundancy may be built to help cope with unanticipated failure.

The basic characteristics of fault tolerance require:

  1. No single point of failure
  2. No single point of repair
  3. Fault isolation to the failing component
  4. Fault containment to prevent propagation of the failure
  5. Availability of reversion modes

 

Anticipating for failure is key to building a good fault-tolerant system. In this case, failure is truly an option and providing for it is key to building a fault-tolerant architecture.

Other key features of fault-tolerant systems is replication and modularity. The separation of concerns helps to simplify system design and decouple and localize system failures.

To be continued….

Have a great day!

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Architecture – Understanding the criteria – II

Principle of a public key infrastructure. Roug...

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Continuing with Understanding the criteria….

Security:

When we refer to IT security, we usually look at access management i.e. authentication and authorization.

Authentication simply means you are who you say you are. It is also referred to as identity management.

Authorization means are you authorized to use the given service / application / system i.e. are you allowed access? Do you have the rights to use the resource? Authorization is usually a group / role specific policy. Rarely is authorization set at the individual level. Authorization can be also implemented , in a charging system, as do you have credits to be allowed to use the resource? This, of course, would be at the level of the individual or an entity such as an organization. Examples of this would be encountered in a utility computing model say cloud computing or even for mobile phone services. In the latter, the services are degraded once the credit limit is reached and are restored once the customer tops up his account with the required minimum amount. Authorization is also referred to as access management.

A robust access management system includes verifying identity and entitlement, granting access to services, logging and tracking access, and removing or modifying rights when status or roles change.

ITIL talks about information security as being effectively managed if

  • information is available and usable when required (availability)
  • information is observed by or disclosed to only those who have a right to know (confidentiality)
  • information is complete, accurate and protected against unauthorized modification (integrity)
  • business transactions, as well as information exchanges, can be trusted (authenticity and non-repudiation).

In cases where information is to be protected , use of cryptography and methods such as symmetric encryption, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) (asymmetric encryption algorithms) and digital signatures (ensures non-repudiation). For more, read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_key_encryption

A strategy referred to as ‘defense in depth’ is used to secure computer systems from outsider attack. Here, the premise is that even if the outer wall is breached, the inner sanctum is still secure and it is also time-consuming for the attacker, by which time, a breach may be detected and flagged by a good audit trail system.

You may be more familiar with this when building systems that access the internet and are accessible from it. Here, a De-militiarized Zone (DMZ) adds another layer of security to the firm’s LAN. For more see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMZ_(computing)

 Usability:

This is the most overlooked aspect of a solution / application. However clever your system may be, however ingenious the engineers developing the system, if the user does not find the application easy to use, then you have a hit a brick wall. Resistance from the users can sound the death knell of any application. A good application should be intuitive to use and leverage existing habits of users. Forcing users to change their ingrained habits is always difficult. Especially with reference to transactional systems and customer facing applications, where responsiveness is key, a non-intuitive interface coupled with inadequate training on a new system can lead to frustrated users. In my experience, at British Telecom, when a GUI was introduced to the customer service representatives replacing the old mainframe UI, the sluggish responsiveness of the new UI led to experienced users switching over to the old system so that they could finish their quota of calls to be attended to. CSRs are very stressed individuals and you do not want a system to add to their discomfort.

These , in my opinion , are the most relevant criterion in evaluating an architecture. Their importance may vary from system to system. But a good and simple way of evaluating a software architecture to assign weights to each criteria and a range of values from 1 – 10 for each criteria. This will give you a rough and ready estimate as to how well your architecture stands up to scrutiny.

Have a good day!

To be continued ……

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Architecture – Understanding The Criteria – IV

Eclipse 3.3 in Ubuntu 7.

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This is the 4th post in the series Architecture – Understanding The Criteria

Agile or Agility:

Is your architecture agile? Yes, it is, it can do sit-ups, bend-downs, push-ups and cartwheels. Is that agile enough for you? Oops, that sounds like its flexible!

What does agility really mean, in this context? Agility implies meeting today’s requirements and being ready or able to take on tomorrow’s requirements i.e. being able to respond quickly to unexpected and/or unknown change.

What are the components that make up an agile architecture?

Process and data modeling

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Flexibility:

Flexibility is key to being agile. The ability to plug and play components as features can be classified as being part of an agile architecture. The ability to generically interface with components and features and extend the existing functionality is being flexible.

Extensibility:

The ability to extend the current functionality of the system either through plug and play features that cater to users who might want to use your system, in unanticipated and unforeseen ways and applications is definitely a must requirement for an agile architecture. The Eclipse platform is built on such an architecture.

Reusability:

The ability to not have to reinvent the wheel every time your customer comes up with new requirements and reuse existing components and/or code is at the core of reusability.

Integrable:

Components , whether COTS components or custom-built to specifications have to be integrable. The ability to integrate and integrate quickly, is what can give a firm its competitive edge.

Subsetability:

Much as we would like to see the Big Bang theory at work i.e. at first there was nothing and there is this huge humongous piece of software that is the silver bullet that all software firms have been dreaming of, the truth is that the ability to break software into smaller pieces that both users and developers can wrap their intellect around makes for simpler development practices. It also allows for visibility into the progress of software development with users and customers having a chance to interact with the subset of product features developed. This also ensures continuous feedback and reduces the risk of the software being discarded as being unusable. This also makes for a reduced need for training on the system , with expert users coming from the user interaction team. In addition, for riskier projects, where new technology is being explored, this brings to the fore exploring of real options (ROV) where make or discard decisions are made at every stage of the development process. Also, EVA (Economic Value Added)  can be distributed over components and stages thus providing financial numbers to the fiscally inclined namely the project sponsors.

Three software development patterns mashed tog...

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Modifiability:

The ability to modify code or a system is usually confined to the implementation of the modules. The interfaces are changed less frequently (because of the high impact on testing especially integration testing) thus demanding rigor while defining them. But the modifiability of a system has a direct impact on its maintainability. This is especially important since most of IT spend i.e. 75-80% is towards maintenance of existing IT systems and just 20-25% is for new development. New development is where you create value for the enterprise.The ability of take byte-sized chunks out of maintenance costs will have the CFO kissing you rapturously, given you can demonstrate the value unlocked in cost savings. Anything that reduces TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) will get you a thumbs up from your CFO!

Decoupled or Loosely Coupled:

The ability to reduce dependencies between different components or systems is what makes for a loosely coupled system or decoupled architecture. Decoupling is achieved by parameterization and/or configuration either through files or database parameters. Definition of generic interfaces is also another way of achieving decoupling. Asynchronous systems built using message based architectures and/or a simulated messaging system using database tables is also another standard way of decoupling your system architecture. This also contributes to reliability.

That’s all for now, folks!

Have a great day!

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Leader As Follower

Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854

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Some excerpts on a paper on Leadership for my MBA at CIIM. I’ll admit I decided to try an au contraire approach!

Leadership As A Course
To be taught leadership as part of an MBA curriculum seems to be one of those new-fangled management fads.Especially to be taught as a theoretical course when I believe it should warrant more of a hands-on practical workshop. Those were my conclusions at the end of this class and I believe that apart from the delegation case-study and the Carter Racing case study,the class, as a whole, did not benefit. Now , I may be wrong and this report-writing exercise will enlighten me and the rest of the class as to how leadership works for us in our personal lives and in our workplace.

Situational Leadership
Different situations call for different leadership characteristics. Different people ,Different strokes. A situational leader adjusts his/her leadership style as the situation evolves, also to the kind of persons being dealt with and is able to get them to agree to the kind of leadership to be provided.
The 4 kinds of situational leadership styles are:
1> Directing – to be provided to an enthusiastic beginner with low expertise
2> Coaching – to be provided to a learner who’s low on enthusiasm and skill
3> Supportive – to be provided to a person who’s knowledge and enthusiasm has improved
4> Delegation – to be provided to a person who’s self-reliant and has oodles of enthusiasm

Beyond Work Context
Learning new skills, hobbies is an aspect of my life that I wish to explore to unleash the creativity within myself. Learning a new language , trying out adventure sports and traveling are other ways for me to grow personally.

The Leader as Follower
Is a leader also a follower? If yes, then whom does he/she follow? Does he look at leaders in the past and their leadership styles? Perhaps, he has modeled himself on a leader and has followed his characteristics? Or does he pick specific traits of inspiring leaders and use them as guides for his decisions? Or does he go by his experience, his morals, his religious beliefs? Who is his beacon? God? It’s been said that all you need to learn about human behavior is in the Bible. After all, Jesus Christ is the greatest leader of all time. So, a prayer for all time, “Teach our leaders to be humble.”

 

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