Saturday, January 12, 2002

Just got off the phone with an associate who is trying to get a handle on project management and ERP. This led to a bit of research, based on two books I read during the summer and personal experience, which led to CIBRES (Communicating Integrated Business Resource Enterprise Solutions). This site has an ERP Scorecard online survey that is a comprehensive interactive interviewing process that allows a company to input distinct characteristics of the ERP system. Upon completion of the ERP questions, you'll receive back a report card that scores the overall health of your ERP system. Registration, which is free, is required. The questions in the survey are also in the book titled Scorecard System For World Class Enterprise Resource Management by Travis Anderegg. I reviewed this book last summer, as well as another outstanding book by the same author titled ERP: A-Z Implementer's Guide For Success. If you're involved in ERP in any manner these books are worth a look.
I just updated a number of discussion topics in the Project Management Forum to get the ball rolling there. It's still somewhat dead, but has the potential to be useful if people start participating.
I did a little more digging into Jeneane Sessum's online resources and came up with a gem that any writer will love: Write Resources, which contains templates, tips and a link to her portfolio of documents that are among the best writing examples I've come across. Thank you Ms. Sessum for sharing such useful material with the world!
I have a close relationship with Thinking Minds, Inc., which is based in India and Rhode Island. I often use this blog to alert the wonderful people on both sides of the ocean to interesting articles, documents, and the such. Thinking Minds does two things: (1) off-shore software development and (2) system integration. The following resources are for my friends at Thinking Minds, but anyone who is interested in software engineering, integration and architcture will find them useful.

The first resource is Application Development Trends, which provides thorough coverage of integration, components, tools and technology, and data management. The opinions section is especially worth a look.

The Java Report Online is an essential resource form Java developers. A highlight is the interactive explorer that allows you to discover what's in the environments.

XML - The Site is a resource provided by Software AG that is one of the best repositories of everything XML you could possibly want. Among the highlights are PowerPoint presentations on various aspects of XML and its value, a comprehensive list of XML resources, XML applications in the real world, and much more. There are two resources that I highly recommend:

  1. XML Shockwave which is an executive summary of everything you need to know about XML from a business perspective. This book is in PDF format and is a wonderful free resource.
  2. XML Starter Kit, which includes Tamino XML Server 2.3 as well as a broad array of information about XML technology, with a comprehensive XML Education Library and a multilingual Web cast titled Demystifying XML.
The final resource is Earthweb's IT Industry Portal, which is more for IT management and operations types, but invaluable to development and integration consultants as well.

In parting, check out the object-oriented toaster for a smile and reminder that there is life after work. Now I'm definitely going to go outside and enjoy the sunshine. Honest ... really I am ...

I just checked out Jeneane Sessum's other blog called Gonzo--Engaged, which is, in Jeneane's words, "A Conversational Read of Christopher Locke's Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices." Two things:
  1. Jeneane's engaging insights and responses to the book's assertions, propositions and key points bring life and interactivity into what was heretofore a static medium (paper-based books).
  2. Her blog and its theme show one more innovative use of blogs - something I only discovered on 1 January. It's amazing how blogs have so quickly become an integral part of my daily life.
On the topic of something that has become integrated into our collective daily lives, I stumbled onto a bit of Internet history by accident last night.

Allow me to digress - I've been using the Internet for over 20 years; it was called ARPAnet and MILnet back when I was first using it. My view was a command-line on UNIX, and mail addressing was the old ! format (pronounced bang) wherein you had to know the path to whomever you were sending a message.

Back then if you could get to ihnp4, run by AT&T in Illinois, you could get to just about anyone. I remember one commercial system I was using called crash that was operated by Bill Blue in Santee, CA talked to a system called, of all things, bang, which talked to nosc, which knew about ihnp4. The path you gave the mailer was separated by the ! character, and since it was UNIX and "!" meant to invoke a shell command, you had to escape the ! with the UNIX metacharacter that told the system to take the next character as literal - the escape character was a \. Therefore, if I wanted to send a message to someone named fburton at cnsl I would do the following:

mail bang\!nosc\!ihnp4\!cnsl\!fburton
By now you're probably asking yourself if there is a point to this. Indeed there is. I didn't know until last night that the @ addressing that we use today was first conceived in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson, who is the inventor of e-mail. While I knew that ARPAnet was invented in 1969 and BBN was a key contributor (contrary to Bill Clinton's claim that former VP Gore invented the Internet), I didn't know the historical details. If you're a longtime Internet veteran and feel like a stroll down memory lane, or relatively new and want to get a sense of the history of the Internet, here are some interesting facts: how it all started, the first router (yes, there were routers before cicso), the first e-mail system and the first use of the @ sign.

Before going outside and enjoying a beautiful, sunny Southern California day I'll give a more up-to-date resource that net researchers will find useful: e-volve magazine, which is a quarterly publication that covers the full spectrum of networked economy issues. Finding it last night was another serendipity.

Friday, January 11, 2002

JPL has an outstanding online risk management guide that any project manager or business planner will find useful. The Project Management Institute's SIG on Risk Management has a collection of articles and a risk management lexicon that PMs, and especially PMP candidates, should read. Also worth visiting is NASA's Software Assurance Technology Center's page that provides a comprehensive list of their Continuous Risk Management publications.

Lest I forget, a favorite site is Software Program Manager's Network, which provides a wealth of material on software acquisition, project management and some tools in their download area. You have to register (free) to download the tools, but they are worth the time it takes to fill out a simple online form. Some specific downloads are guidebooks and software. The 16-tools graphic is an example of the resources available from this site.

There is also a Delphi forum dedicated to risk theory. This particular forum is more slanted towards financial and investment risk, but the principles and techniques are the same as for project risk. I've included it for a special friend, Muthukumar U, who is working in Dubai. If you're not a Delphi member you'll have to register (free) to post messages.

I just got back from the CES show in Las Vegas, what a blast I had in the electronics gadget industry. Stay tuned for a full report!
Web development done right - Unmesh Laddha sent me to a site of a company that does open source community site integration and the business model is thought-provoking. Check out ybos Community Web Site Developers - look at their brief piece titled, How to plan a successful website, as well as a quick discussion titled, Is the ArsDigita Community System right for you?.
I'm waiting for Linda's report on the CES (Consumer Electronics Show), which she attended in Las Vegas. She was raving about PDAs and TVs ... Linda? Tell the world, girl!
Today's hot topic and focus of my research is component-based software engineering (CBSE). I came across conference proceedings that are rich in content, ideas and techniques, including: 1998 International Workshop on Component-Based Software Engineering Papers and Presentations; the 1999 International Workshop on Component-Based Software Engineering papers and CBSE Handbook Outline; and, EUROMICRO 2001 CBSE workshop presentations.

Component Based Development has downloads, links and discussion forums that are a wonderful resource for anyone who is interested in CBSE.

There are a two PDF documents that are worth downloading:

  1. Component-Based Software Engineering in a Pervasive Environment
  2. Component-based software engineering (CBSE) from an organizational point of view
There are also some worthwhile PowerPoint presentations that I liked:I also found Software Cost Estimation (in PowerPoint format) to be a good addition to CBSE research. This presentation addresses components and should be read by all project planners, architects and developers.
More resources I had tucked away and should be sharing:
Here is a cool site dedicated to how not to do interfaces. I love stumbling across these little treasures.
My friend and colleague, Unmesh Laddha, recommended that I check out Data Model Patterns: Conventions of Thought. The table of contents, reviews on Amazon and author's approach earn this book next buy status. The author of the book, David Hay, has a great web site that is a treasure trove for data architects, DBAs and enterprise architects. The book and the web site are highly recommended.
More Oracle questions came out of the virtual woodwork today, so I dug deep into my collection of artifacts to see if I had anything I could make available to those hitchhikers and passersby who might appreciate some of my dusty files. Here's what I managed to find (pardon the dust - they've been on an old network server for over a year):

Thursday, January 10, 2002

Deja Vu - I was asked some Oracle questions, which triggered memories of past projects, which set me to poking into corners of the net for information.

First stop was the Underground Oracle FAQ, which is comprehensive. I wandered off course a bit and found Balanced Scorecard software free for downloading, then proceeded on my quest. Speaking of Quest, I was unable to find a non-crippled verion of TOAD - a wonderful tool from days gone by, but did find Benthic Software from which I purchased Golden and GoldView in 1999 when I was doing a lot of Oracle work

Overwhelmed by nostalgia I decided to look up an old friend, OraXcel, only to find that it has been renamed to SQL*XL Lite ... but, unlike TOAD, it's still free and available. To be fair to Quest Software they do make available an impressive list of useful whitepapers that offset my disappointment over TOAD's plight.

I hit a few more places as my journey wound down, including Oriole's outstanding free script and tools collection (the spirit of sharing lives here - and shows that warty amphibians may sell out, but birds soar). I checked out Peter and Mag's collection of Oracle-related links, paid my respects to TUSC, and ended my trek and the evening at The Data Administration Newsletter (TDAN for short), which I read every month. The latest issue celebrates TDAN's fourth year, and contains two outstanding articles: Architecting for CRM and A Repository Model - Business Rules (Structural Assertions & Derivations) ... among others that I haven't yet read.

On that note, it's goodnight from Tustin, CA.

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

Telecommunications Software and Systems Group is a source of documents and descriptions of research in telecommunications and emerging architectures for managment of complex telecommunications systems. A focus is distributed object technologies and web-based solutions. The site is worth going through if you have telecom interests.
I've been researching various analysis techniques. One interesting paper worth a look is Goal-Driven Task Analysis: Improving Situation Awareness For Complex Problem-Solving. I've also collected a few links to Goal-Question-Metric (GQM), which is similar to the objective-critical success factor-key performance indicator approach common in business strategy planning. Among the best GQM links are: Introduction to GQM, NASA's Software Engineering Laboratory's documented Experiences Using the Goal Guestion Metric Paradigm (in Acrobat format), The Goal Question Metric Approach, a two-page GQM tutorial (PDF), and a case study titled Applying GQM to Assess Configuration Management Practices for Better Interbank Services (PDF format).
Other resources that I found interesting include: Requirements & Specifications, Discovering System Requirements, Decoding Business Needs, and the University of Sheffield's Quality Function Deployment Resources Page.
Although it doesn't quite fit the topic the conference presentations from the The 1997 Rational Software User Conference were interesting and as valid today as when they were written - unless you're an XP or Agile Methods fan :-)
A good collection of XP (eXtreme Programming) and Agile methods I've uncovered in my surfing is:
For anyone who wants to quickly get up-to-speed in e-commerce and business/IT alignment issues I've found a nice set of PowerPoint presentations at the Bus 240: Electronic Commerce MBA/MSE Program course at the College of Business, San Jose State University:

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

I found a repository of security- and cyber-related documents at M. E. Kabay's site. The site is hosted at Norwich University, Northfield VT where he is an Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems. I came across his work in his column titled NETWORK WORLD NEWSLETTER: M. E. KABAY on SECURITY to which I subscribe.
Here is some lunacy from Redmond:
[From] the license for FrontPage 2002: `You may not use the Software in connection with any site that disparages Microsoft, MSN, MSNBC, Expedia, or their products or services... Source: Ed Foster's InfoWorld column Gripeline dated 8 Jan 2002.
There are many good reasons why I don't use any more Microsoft products than clients force on me. It's also no coincidence that this system ( has a ton of problems and is running on Microsoft IIS. One only has to look at the system status log to conclude that the availability and reliability problems here are caused by both process and technology. is one of the worst run blog hosts on the planet in my opinion. Whoever is managing this system apparently knows nothing about operations management, change management, QA and release management. On the other hand, it is free - you get what you pay for. I'm actively investigating other blog providers.
Posted an initial wish list of functions and features I'd like to see in ThinkingWare in the IT Operations Management Forum. See message 34.1 for details if interested. I also gave the start page a facelift.
Our joint Project Management Discussion Forum is also up and running. Between starting this weblog and two new discussion groups, plus that thing called real life that keeps getting in the way, it's been a busy few days.
My Women in IT forum is slowly taking shape. It's now ready for some kind soul to post something and boost my ego.

Monday, January 07, 2002

Just created a Delphi forum titled Women in IT that should be set up and customized in a day or so.
RLR Management Consulting has some interesting document outlines available for download in Word format. These are mostly tables of contents for vendor management documents, but also some Excel workbooks on risk management. I also came across an article about monitoring your provider's disaster recovery plans that is worth reading. Another worthwhile document (in Adobe PDF format) is Staging Your Disaster Recovery Plan. Interesting, but marginally related, is Internet Banking: A Risk Management Primer for Directors (also in PDF format). The State of Washington Department of Information Services has a valuable guide, in PDF format, titled Customer Guide to Data Center Disaster Recovery. I also liked Security Requirements for Outsourcing Electronic Commerce Applications and Administration.
What's so bad about Microsoft? ... let me count the ways ...UNIX strengths and weaknesses is a balanced view. However, the security flaws in Microsoft products are so many that you have to wonder why Microsoft hasn't been sued out of existence by class actions arising from product liability and corporate downtime. The probable reason, in my opinion, is because there are too many corporate decision makers who are too embarrassed to admit how easily led they were by marketing hype and empty promises. I guess that's what MS solutions providers and their corporate sales force mean by "strategic relationships". MS and its minions, and the client decision makers, have too much to lose by a suit. It reminds me of a Quentin Tarantino movie, which almost always ends with a stand-off. Art imitating life or life imitating art?
My surfing today is eclectic. First stop was Planning for Information Technology and Systems, which is from the Northern Arizona University College of Business Administration. Short, but informative. Next stop on my ricocheting about the web was a page on Management Information Value Chains, which somehow led me to A Rigorous Framework for Software Measurement. I also made a few side trips to some interesting places, like the The Uptime Institute and In particular, the MS Word document titled, Site Uptime - Procedures and Guidelines for Safely Performing Work in an Active Data Center is a valuable gem worth downloading. The stuff you find when you aren't looking for anything in particular! I also found a collection of Service Level Management documents and a great page on Info Systems Balanced Scorecards. All in all, this was a fruitful morning.
I am a metrics fanatic. Quantification leads to understanding, and it also leads to repeatability - which is a key element of quality. Here are some top metrics links that so impressed me that I have to share them: Developing a Successful Metrics Program, SWEE '98 Conference Documents, Estimating Software Test Cases and Defects with Function Points and Practical Software Measurement (this is the home of PSM Insight and all of the tools and documents associated with the PSM initiative).
Must see:: The Register, an IT site that proclaims itself to be biting the hand that feeds IT. If you're an IT professional, and especially an IT operations professional, this site is worth bookmarking.
Components of service level management include security, disaster recovery and business continuity planning. A few gems from the web include: NIST's page on role-based access control, a complete security manual that can be read online, a list of documents on cyber crime (many in Word and PowerPoint formats) and an excellent article titled, Disaster Recovery Planning Without Destroying Your Budget.

Sunday, January 06, 2002

Great discovery! David Weinberger's Weblog is a treat. I am becoming a believer in weblogs and David's weblog is one of the reasons why. Not to be missed is his book, Small Pieces Loosely Joined: Unified Theory of the Web that is available for reading in its unedited and evolving form online. The book is scheduled to be published in the Spring of 2002 by Perseus Books.
Here are some nuggets from my own surfing (not to be outdone by Mike):
While doing a little aimless wandering on the net this morning I stumbled upon a few nuggets:

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