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Showing posts from June, 2010

Be Careful What You Ask For

Software projects are inherently risky, and the ways to run astray begin even before the project begins. The quality of a procurement solicitation governs the results of a project, laying a solid foundation for success or creating unnecessary problems that doom a project.

Since the negative examples are often more illustrative, here are a few pitfalls to avoid:

1. There is no such thing as etcetera in a specification. Over the past few weeks I have reviewed requests for proposals that list open-ended requirements for integration, mentioning one or two specifics and then the dreaded "etc." rears its head. The result is that vendors either decide not to bid or pad the price to cover the risk of the unnamed integration.

2. Fixed price requires fixed specifications. If you choose a fixed price contract, vendors cannot determine a price without complete and detailed specifications. Fixed price combined with vagueness can result in a game of change orders where bidders pr…

Why Information Technology is Like Exercise

I must confess that I don't like to exercise, especially when it's purely for health reasons. I haven't run far and long enough to become addicted to the runner's high. I feel better after I run for the rest of the day, but it still takes effort to get up early and get out there. For me, exercise is best in retrospect.

On the other hand, I am a huge gearhead. I like researching the latest camping equipment, golf clubs, fishing lures, backpacks and even running shoes and socks. It feels great to gear up to be ready for fitness. Sports Authority can testify to my optimism for fitness.

At the end of the day, though, the gear doesn't make you fit. You have to get out there and run, bike, swim, hike, or hit that ball or puck to stay in shape.

Information technology is similar, in that it takes more than gear and software to improve business processes. The most important ingredient is the will to change and openness to assess the way an organization works and…