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Wow. That one direct quote is the most stunningly naive statement I’ve read from a NoEstimates advocate in at least, well, a week: “don't give promise to a client with a deadline when you are uncertain. Establish certainty first.” It encapsulates quite nicely how this is a futile conversation.
Toggle Commented Dec 28, 2017 on Fallacy of the Day at Herding Cats
1 reply
Excellent start of a thorough review of this book. Everything about Duarte's book and the NE movement raises red flags for any rational thinker, unfortunately: 1) A reliance on cherry-picked data, as you aptly show in the above; 2) Heavy-handed marketing (one commonly posted hype page for the book has no fewer than SEVEN "buy now"-like calls to action); 3) A complete refusal to weigh or discuss counterarguments; 4) Indeed, a refusal to even engage with anyone who might possibly present such counterarguments (e.g., chronic blocking of any persistent NE critic); 5) A tendency to label with insults anyone who disagrees ("troll" is the go-to NE epithet, trotted out at the slightest question/criticism). Most people who champion a controversial idea do so by collecting and carefully refuting the specific counterarguments that have been raised. NE doesn't do that; it just markets. This gap demonstrates the fundamental weakness of their ideas. In the presence of incontrovertible counterarguments, NE puts its fingers in its ears, shouts "troll" at all opponents, and repeats the same old marketing tweets week after week.
Toggle Commented Jun 24, 2016 on #NoEstimates Book Review - Part 1 at Herding Cats
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Excellent and thoughtful post, Scott. I'm in agreement (it'd be hard not to be) that CMOs and other execs are constantly moving up the ladder on tech awareness and involvement. And that's a good thing. And the disruptive innovation you describe certainly is a common pattern we see, particularly with respect to technologies (e.g., mainframe to PCs, etc). But here's where I differ: I don't agree that disruptive innovation necessarily applies to organizations in the manner you describe. An equally good case, in fact, could be made for other executive roles that are also constantly acquiring new technical savvy (Finance, Sales, even HR, etc.). It doesn't make sense to me, in short, to extrapolate further and envision a situation, a kind of general convergence, where a key role (CIO) can be viably eliminated (combined with another role in the manner you describe, where the CMO morphs into a CIO) simply because the CMO now possesses a heightened understanding and/or involvement with its domain. Areas of specialization still apply and are valuable. As my recent post ( ) pointed out, quoting Marc J. Schiller, tech-savvy business users ”don’t have the time or the inclination to work through all of the nitty-gritty details that are required to ensure that the systems they are putting in place do, in fact, collect and integrate data with other corporate resources. They don’t have the time or the expertise to evaluate the information integration and interface requirements a particular system may create. And they certainly don’t want to be on the hook for all of the data security and regulatory compliance issues that are growing by the day.” Perhaps you and others will argue that the tech-infused new breed of CMO will in fact take on all those aspects, and will do so cheerfully, but very little in my experience has indicated to me that this is the case. Rather, they focus chiefly on the advantages that new tech capabilities can bring them, and rightly so. Yet there had better continue to be someone out there who deals with a lot of the messiness behind the scenes. In short: it's fine (but also a fine foreshadowing) when other execs "know enough to be dangerous" about technology, as long as they recognize that such dangers actually do exist and do matter. Far too many of this new breed of CMO, excited by the possibilities and what they can accomplish, gloss over those dangers, to everyone's detriment. As in a baseball team, different positions exist for different reasons and focus. Awareness and overlap can of course be good, but deciding that a given key position has simply become extraneous makes no sense to me.
I think that's far too simplistic, Vinnie, although I certainly understand where you're coming from. I'm very much of an advocate of the customer side of things (always having BEEN on that side, frankly), but I've also seen people simply blame the vendor, despite the incredible roadblocks that they themselves placed in the vendor's path at every turn. Again, I advocate turning away from a focus on blame, and very much towards a focus on specific initiatives to mitigate the multiple root causes of IT systems failure.
Toggle Commented Mar 12, 2010 on The IT Industry's Shame at deal architect
Just to reiterate what Michael said above: saying that the blame must be shared is NOT equivalent to pushing for "shared blame without root cause analysis". Michael's regular blog, in fact, routinely delves into root causes. Yes, blame goes all around: I've seen vendors completely misuse their position for their own gain and their customers' loss; I've seen customers (my CEO in one case) completely dismiss recommended best practice and insist on a major enterprise software rollout without adequate preparation or training. "Why don't we just start using it right now?" he wanted to know. Everyone's consciousness on these matters needs to be raised. I've written a lot about IT failure too, particularly on the customer side. See my article, "Complexity isn’t simple: multiple causes of IT failure" at’t-simple-multiple-causes-of-it-failure/
Toggle Commented Mar 10, 2010 on The IT Industry's Shame at deal architect
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Mar 10, 2010