The danger of data-driven decisions: Avoid “the hot shower effect”

Picture of a shower dialI travel a lot with my work.  One of the challenges of staying in a hotel for the first time is getting the shower to work.  Certainly here in the UK, there is no universal shower fitting – sometimes there can be an assortment of taps, dials and plungers and getting the water to flow out of the shower hose can be a challenge at what I call “06:00 BC” (the “BC” stands for “before caffeine”).

 

Having got the water flowing, the next challenge is getting it to the right temperature.  I’m sure we’ve all had experiences where it takes a few seconds for any adjustments to the temperature dial to affect the temperature of the water coming through the pipes.  This often leads to a reinforcing and amplifying feedback loop:  The water isn’t hot enough, so you turn the dial towards the “hot” side.  Nothing seems to happen, so you turn the dial a little further… then a few seconds later the water is much too hot so you turn it back down.  But then a few seconds later the water is ice-cold again, so the process repeats.  This leads to an oscillation whereby you’re turning the shower controls backwards and forwards, never quite settling on the “perfect” temperature.

Continue reading The danger of data-driven decisions: Avoid “the hot shower effect”

Avoiding the Security Black Hole with Non-Functional Requirements

I’m pleased to say that one of my recent blog articles has been published on “Techwell.com”, where I have contributed as a guest author. I’d love to hear what you think, so please take a look and add a comment on the site.

A short excerpt is shown below.

Excerpt:

Image of a man walking a tightrope in a circular blackhole
Avoid the black hole…

As an avid Skype user, I couldn’t believe it when I read that Microsoft (Skype’s new owner) temporarily suspended the software’s password reset function to avoid falling foul of an alleged security vulnerability. I immediately felt at risk. How could such a useful and ubiquitous service, and one that I use every day, be vulnerable to such a seemingly simple shortcoming?

Of course, security vulnerabilities aren’t limited to Skype. I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories and read news articles about security hazards in the software and hardware we use every day. What is equally worrying is that there appears to be an emerging marketplace where details of security vulnerabilities are disclosed for cold, hard cash…

 

Read the rest of the article by clicking below:

http://www.techwell.com/2013/01/avoiding-security-black-hole-non-functional-requirements

 

The creativity myth

A picture of a man in a pinstripe suit contrasted against a man drawing on glassI recently read an excellent and though provoking article entitled Essential and creative advice from Joss Whedon, Carrie Brownstein, Jim Stengel and 13 others.  The article cites some really creative tidbits and describes the content as providing “some useful insight into being creative in whatever realm you work in”.

 

I was really pleased to see that this article indirectly promoted the use of creative thinking in any industry.  My view is that every job or business should (or could) involve creativity, yet often pre-conceptions blinker us from the opportunities.  People talk about “The creative industries” as if these are the “owners” of creative thinking, ideation and fun.  This implies that everyone else has to come to work in pinstripe suits carrying a briefcase and wearing a bowler hat.  OK, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but I’m sure you understand my point!

 

Perception really matters – I’ll give you an example.  A few years ago I was working as a “Lead Business Analyst” in the Financial Services industry in the UK.  I’ll let you into a secret — when people hear the term “business analyst”, their eyes glaze over.  Even more so because it’s in Financial Services (which sounds dry, boring and dull at the best of times) so by the time I’d said “Business Analyst in the Financial Services Industry” people were generally either asleep or looking for an opportunity to get out of the conversation.

Continue reading The creativity myth

Using Your BA Skills to Set Career Development Goals

I’m pleased to say that one of my recent blog articles has been published on “Techwell.com”, where I have contributed as a guest author. I’d love to hear what you think, so please take a look and add a comment on the site.

A short excerpt is shown below.  The article relates to setting career goals–so if you’re considering setting your goals for 2013, it could be a timely article! Enjoy.

Excerpt:

How do you set your goals?

“… I found an interesting discussion in the IIBA LinkedIn discussion forum that asks an important, but often forgotten question: What are your career goals for the new year? Do you have any—and if so, have you written them down?

As change professionals, it’s so easy to neglect our career development in the rush to finish projects and “get stuff done.” However, here’s an interesting twist: Why not use the business analysis tools and techniques that you use on projects to help plan your career and development? This probably sounds a little bizarre, so I’ll explain.”

 

Read the rest of the article by clicking below:

http://www.techwell.com/2012/12/using-your-ba-skills-set-career-development-goals

 

Avoiding Elitism in Your Business Analysis Templates and Techniques

I’m pleased to say that my most recent blog article has been published on “Bridging-the-gap.com”, where I have contributed as a guest author. I’d love to hear what you think, so please take a look and add a comment on the site.

 

Hard of playing cardsExcerpt:

A few weeks ago, I was travelling home from London on a rush hour train.  The train journey was scheduled to last a good couple of hours, so I took my seat, booted up my laptop and prepared to use the time productively.

I was getting into “the zone” and was really making progress when suddenly I was distracted from my rather mundane Word document by a strange and intriguing sound.  I could hear the sound of playing cards being constantly dealt, shuffled and dealt again.  For a rush-hour train, that is highly unusual….

 

Click on the link below to read more. Enjoy!

http://www.bridging-the-gap.com/avoiding-elitism-in-your-business-analysis-templates-and-techniques/