Government Open Data

There are many sources available to gain access to governmental data.  Below are just a few:


Agile Software Development in a Nutshell

Agile methodology uses war room type collaboration and short iterations to produce incremental versions of software to meet the changing requirements of stakeholders.

  • Working software is key measurement
  • Requirements are done in iterations
  • A War Room type collaboration
  • Minimal documentation –  Just enough documentation is created and maintained

Basic principles

  • Customer satisfaction by rapid, continuous delivery of useful software
  • Welcome changing requirements
  • Working software is delivered frequently
  • Working software is the principal measure of progress
  • Close, daily collaboration between business and IT
  • Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication
  • Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  • Self-organizing teams
  • Regular adaptation to changing circumstances

To Make it Work

  1. Adopt short iterations no more than four weeks in length
  2. Focus on the delivery of working software,  as a general rule, an iteration should be seen as a failure if all it produces is documentation
  3. Promote quality oriented techniques such as test first development, coding conventions and refactoring
  4. Remove as many barriers to communication and collaboration as you possibly can by making it as easy as possible for people to work together.
  5. Make sure that everyone involved, including business stakeholders, data professionals and quality assurance professionals work in an evolutionary if not Agile manner
  6. Streamline RUP as much as possible, less is definitely more

From: Overcoming the Myths of IBM Rational Unified Process (RUP) and Agile Development


  • No documentation
  • Undisciplined
  • Not scalable to large, complex projects
  • No traceability
  • Issues and risk management is not done


Overcoming the Myths of IBM Rational Unified Process (RUP) and Agile Development -IBM
Manifesto for Agile Software Development – Agile Manifesto
The Experts’ Take on Business Analysis and Agile – Modern Analyst
RUP and Agile Development Overcoming Myths – IBM
Agile software development – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The IT Value Stack

In The IT Value Stack, Ade McCormack looks to bridge the gap between IT and business.  Using his “IT Value Stack” Ade teaches us how to get these two groups to work together.  I believe every company runs into this issue.  The IT group believes they need to have the latest and greatest technologies to get things done and the business side wants to know what they are getting for their dollars.  Below are the seven steps to get these two groups to mesh.

Strategy entwinement

“Involve IT experts in strategy design”

Your business depends on IT to get through the day, you have computers, networks and the information stored on this equipment.   If you try to implement a strategy without the IT group, then you could be looking at serious delays and even costly mistakes.

The business side and the IT side may seem to speak different languages, but both can learn to translate one another’s message into actual English.  Work together.

Process entwinement

“IT personal should be business process consultants”

The business side needs to identify and document all their business processes and the IT side needs to use this information to build reliable and stable procedures for supporting the process.  It’s not just hardware and software.

People entwinement

“Link IT personal with users, collaborate”

Collaboration between IT and non-IT areas is a crucial step toward turning people into advocates instead of protesters of technology.  If your employees are unwilling to collaborate, then find employees that are willing to work together.  Employees that have business and technology abilities is a plus.

Technology management

“Manage IT so it works for your company”

Have a management team that is technology savvy. If you don’t, have a CIO that has the communication skills to get upper management up to speed.

Hire IT personnel that have both technical expertise and people skills.  Instill in your employees that collaboration is a very important objective.

Service management

“Include service level agreements on all projects”

IT goes beyond problem solving, it must provide excellent service.  Clearly define your service levels to your users and have well trained support personnel to handle issues that arise.  Reward exceptional service, because good service will build bonds between your IT staff and users, and it will reflect on your bottom line.

Circulation management

“Make information accessible to all”

Your data is your business.  IT needs to transform that data into information, which will become knowledge, and eventually wisdom!  To provide information properly and to all who need to know is not a cut and dry process.  Many variables can impede the process like politics, poor management, and short sidedness.   Strong approaches must be defined to circulate data throughout your business and managing the flow of data is critical.

Value creation

“IT needs to show executives how they help the bottom line”

The actual value from IT investment lies with everyone in the company, from users to the company’s board.

Ade’s tips on creating technological value:

  • Make sure IT decisions are technically sound and solid for the business as a whole
  • Teach non-IT personnel to become technology savvy
  • Run the IT department as a business with high standards
  • Make sure information circulates and builds wisdom
  • Measure and identify your IT value
  • Control supplies
  • Be a leader