Pick the Integrator/Partner, then the Software

Posted by Robert Merrill on January 26, 2011 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Most firms buy (license, actually) most of their software. This is true even of software-intensive firms that can and do build software for their own use. This is common knowledge. If commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) or open source software does what you want, and the cost (direct or opportunity) of what it doesn’t do is small, it’s a much better value to buy than build.

The hard part is deciding what to buy. Firms spend a lot of time and money on software vendor selection, and software vendors and trade publications spend a lot of time and money informing (and hoping to influence) your decision. And no matter how long you take or how hard you work at it, there are always mistakes and surprises. It’s a draining, angst-ridden, process. Then we have to then choose a firm to help us get the software installed and working. Often we just go with the vendor’s recommended or local partner because now we’re feeling the pressure from above to get the software in service.

I think that’s backwards. Read more of this article »

Basketball, Horse, and Software Project Success

Posted by Robert Merrill on January 5, 2011 under Agile Methods, Software-Intensive Businesses | Be the First to Comment

I was a bad basketball player—pathetically bad. I was too bad even for scrub-team intramural basketball.

But I played a lot of “Horse” on the hoop on the garage.

(If you know Horse, skip this paragraph). In Horse, the first player calls a shot. If doesn’t make it, the next player calls a shot, and so on, until someone calls a shot and makes it. Then, everybody else in turn has to make the same shot. If they don’t, they get a letter, starting with H. When you’ve spelled HORSE, you’re out. The game continues until there’s only one player left.

The trick to Horse is calling shots that you can make and others can’t. Sometimes the shot-calling gets elaborate. Read more of this article »