Thursday, January 17, 2002
This brings me to a few observations about the state of IT as a profession:
- IT has no business leading web projects. I came to this conclusion years ago, after watching one disaster unfold after another. The reasons are simple: there is a vast difference between the way IT views the world and the way business process areas view it.
- IT, as a rule, shys away from techniques that their business counterparts routinely use. Among the techniques are quantitative analysis, decision methodologies, and sound project management approaches.
- The common IT solution to almost any problem is technology. This, in my experience and opinion, only exacerbates the problem (not to mention squandering shareholder value).
- A Cost Performance Model for Assessing WWW Service Investments and Making Smart IT Choices. Both of these will augment Chapter 9, Risk Management, as well as give the IT side of projects some business-oriented tools that will bridge the gap between IT and business.
- Scaling for E-Business: Technologies, Models, Performance, and Capacity Planning augments Doug's Chapter 11, Traffic Models, as does Capacity Planning for Web Performance: Metrics, Models, and Methods. Note: Both of these books are written by the same authors. Each book has an accompanying web page that provides spreadsheets and other tools cited in the book. Scaling for E-Business spreadsheets and supporting information for Capacity Plannig for Web Performance are worth visiting. Also worth reading is a presentation given by one of the authors (Daniel A. Menascé) titled Challenges in Scaling E-Business Sites.
- Modeling the Real World for Load Testing Web Sites by Steve Splaine. This article from Stickyminds fully supports Chapter 9, Risk Management, in that somebody needs to think about testing and QA both in the site planning stage and after the site is in production. Again, who is managing the site is moot - due diligence dictates that load testing be performed to establish a baseline, as well as to model changes to production sites. The author of this article has also written, in my opinion, one of the best books on web testing and QA titled The Web Testing Handbook.
- For the business and IT members of a web project I highly recommend Internet Commerce Metrics and Models, which will get both factions to speak the same language and approach estimating using the same assumptions and techniques. Had the stakeholders in Doug's case study been familiar with this book perhaps their initial outlandish requirements for credit card transactions would have been more reasonable. After a web system is implemented (again, without regard for whether or not it's oursourced or run in-house), I highly recommend Measuring the Impact of Your Web Site. This book addresses technical and business issues. On the topic of metrics and testing, Mining Gold from Server Logs Using Existing Site Data to Improve Web Testing By Karen Johnson is an interesting look at how the web is changing the testing and QA profession.
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