Structure in Threes: Capacity Planning and Security Models

Started researching capacity planning materials to develop an approach towards enterprise capacity planning.  Neither IT nor Manufacturing/Supply Chain models seem adequate for the job.  Also started researching security/threat models: Microsoft’s STRIDE and old work from years ago on DoD Spectrum Series (Orange Book).  Have several books on order to read during my traditional morning ritual at COFES: early to rise, coffee, and reading an hour or so before conference breakfast starts.  There is some comfort in rituals and traditions.

Structure in Threes: Building vs Planning

One of the problems systemic to the design and planning world is the often famous quote:  “Its done its just a small matter or implementation or programming or etc.”  All too often I’ve seen designers or planner consider the job done once the design is finished.  However, there is often a lot of work to get it accomplished; even it there are not changes to the design.  This got me thinking about the terminology used in regard to projects.  To me implementation take is a larger concept than just deployment which seems to be the typical thoughts around projects, especially in IT.  “The application has been installed we’re done”.  True implementation carries with it both deployment and adoption, anything less is just dumping.

The proposed remedy to this is to have adoption KPIs included in project metrics, not just development cost and schedule.  This would foster a greater concern that what is built is actually used.

Today’s Applied Research Agenda

Today’s agenda: R&D around Capacity Management for Services and Processes.  My presentation on metrics and measurement for processes went well, but I know risk and capacity management are a significant lack in this field.  Somehow everyone has gotten the opinion that Moore’s Law will bail them out…that hope is what the other engineering disciplines know now leads to unsustainability.  Received old book I ordered from Amazon Market [Computer Systems Performance Modeling, 1981 --Sauer]   that covered some of this in regards to computer systems.  Coupled with Meadows Limits to Growth (Systems Dynamics that Forrester introduced) I believe I can develop an approach to monitor, measure, and manage processes in more than a reactive way currently the industry norm.  While it will not likely be Nobel Prize winning stuff, I think it will help make Microsoft more competitive and responsive to customer needs     

Working Insights: Process Analysis presentation creation and the movies

Finished my presentation deck for Wednesday’s Business Architect call, sent it out to my manager & colleague, and other friends for comments.  The topic is business process analysis methods.  Its a short 20 minute presentation on the benefits and some methods of value for analyzing processes.  During developing I rediscovered what I already knew: Difficult to compress 2 hours of material into less than 20 minutes.  Makes me truly appreciate movie editors and directors…it take a lot of skill to cut things down to the bare minimum and no more.

Which has me reconsider my thoughts around BPR/M compliments I get in the form: “I’ve never seen anyone but you be able to diagram a process on the fly while we’re discussing it” or “How can you trim these processes down so well that there are minimum steps and each one contributes real value so easily?”  Often I just smile and say thank you, but really don’t think much of it its just what I do.  But I guess its because I’ve spent years honing my craft like editors and movie directors learning how to cut away what’s non necessary to the accomplish the job; in once case telling a story and in mine making a highly efficient and effective process for an enterprise.  I’m sure by now my colleague Sarah is smiling, nodding her head, and saying of course.

Structure in Threes: Process Analytics Methods

Been too long since last post.  Been obsessed with latest BPR/M project at work –some things are too much fun to work on– to sit back and thing of lessons learned.  This week was no different: on boarding in new role; getting new laptop configured and connected to corporate systems; helping a contractor get on boarded to project.  Hopefully, I’ll have time to reflect on the past few weeks this weekend while I’m working in the woodshop.  The one insight that has come to mind are several methods of process analysis.  I expect to build an EXCEL spreadsheet to share with my team this weekend time permitting.  In the meantime The two analytic methods I’ve documented so far are:

  1. Complexity – a measure of how complex a process is based upon number of participants, number of decision points and activities
  2. Efficiency/Effectiveness – this is based upon the ratio of value added activities (VAA) to non value added activities (NVAA).   The classification of VAA and NVAA is from the primitive activity taxonomy I’ve mentioned prior.  [Make/Transform, Move, Store, and Validate]

I’m seeing a correlation between these means of analytics and the FAST methodology of Bytheway for product value analysis.  I plant to couple these with the advanced enterprise portfolio management methodology I’ve been working on the past several years.  I expect to do a bench check of the complete methodology on the current services project I’m working on.  The results of which will likely be an internal publication and potentially a redacted public paper.  As mentioned the new role and project I’m on is just awesome: the right mixture of hands-on to theoretical, block & tackle to new design.  Only drawback -not enough time in the day to get it all out of my head or time to gather it all into my head :-)

My Review of Accusquare Table Saw Fence, 50″ Right Rip, No. M1050

Basic Block and Tackle

By BrianS from Eatonville, Wa on 3/5/2014


4out of 5

Pros: Easy To Use, Good Safety Features, Durable, Clean Design

Cons: Flexibility

Best Uses: In The Workshop

Describe Yourself: Avid Do-It-Yourselfer

After months of trying to decide which fence to purchase to upgrade my Craftsman Contractor Table Saw I purchased 15+ years ago I decided to buy this basic no frills fence. It arrived a little late due to weather conditions back East. The mounting instructions could be a little clearer but overall installation was simple.

My first use of the fence confirmed I made the right choice. Its a basic block and tackle model, well build and expect it to outlast me. The only issues I have with it are those previous noted in other reviews which are minor nits:

1) Removal of the fence requires sliding it to the ends of the rails. Since its a long set of rails I just slide the fence out of the way rather than removing

2) Locking the fence is place is by tightening a screw handle rather than a level. Actually I think that’s a plus as I can control the about of pressure on the rails

Table Saw upgrade: Accusquare M1050 Fence


Tags: Picture of Product


Structure in Threes: IT Business Models


Yesterday on the way back from client’s site I started pondering the intersection of Service Quality, Brand Value, and Business Models with regard to Information Technology.  Traditionally, IT functions had been focused around a product development model with operations being dragged in tow as a little more than after market support.  The only difference was that IT had a captive market or so the unconscious bias appears to be within these organizations.  As the IT industry has aged, other goal expectations were placed upon these organizations.  These ranged from being the gatekeeper to precious information, the controller for allocating technology & resources, and the integrating force between other parts of the organization. Whether it is possible for one function to successfully execute on all three missions is a topic for another post.

These expectations struck a nerve with me as I was reading Step Guide for Building a Great Company .  I have been researching business strategy, models and processes for most of my career.  As I read through the first few pages I wondered if IT Functions were not using the wrong business model.  In the past decade many IT functions are desperately trying to change their culture to a service oriented business.  Initiatives such as ITIL, COBIT, and SOA seek to inject a service mindset.  I think the objective is a laudable.  Having experienced a slightly less than customer / service oriented environment decades ago (a story for another time over a beer).

However, the typical service model that is put in place is one for a stabilized or mature business.  A business that has a standardized set of services that are being optimized, not a service that is constantly evolving which has been the nature of the IT function over the past several decades: Mainframes, PC/Workstations, Network, Internet, and now Cloud and BYOD.  This would not be considered a stable and mature industry as the technology keeps changing.  The  consider as the technology keeps changing new services are being either asked for or developed constantly.

With that fact I wonder if the business model IT functions should use is that of a Startup or possibly a bifurcated model that has service groups start out in incubators and move into optimization models as the service matures.  This is very similar to the extension’s I developed for another employer with regard to managing business portfolios.  I had based much of the initial work on The Alchemy of Growth: Practical Insights for Building the Enduring Enterprise adding another horizon and much more recently figuring out how to tie each horizon portfolio together using Real Options and Cluster Analysis.

In this recent expansion new services in ideation are considered a new business opportunity or new technology opportunity.  This determines if they are a Horizon 3 or Horizon 4 portfolio member.  As the internal market/business develops or the technology becomes understandable and stable enough to pilot these opportunities move onto the next portfolio where different operating rules and metrics are applied to manage these.

The result of using such a model makes the IT Function vertically integrated business incubator going from Founder & Angel Investor, to Startup & Venture Capitalist, to an stabilized operating line of business.   Which leads to yet another simulation model to build for my clients and possible discussion at next April’s Engineering Conference.


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