Excellence and Remarkable

Tom Peters and Bob Lewis call it “Excellence.” Seth Godin calls it “Remarkable.”

Both terms refer to work or art that are beyond simple quality and typical commodity.

Quality used to be the main differentiator amongst the competitors. People seek out quality products/services and talk about them.

These days, with plenty of choices available in any given product/service category, the quality is now considered given. Lack or no quality is the easy route to put yourself out of the game.

When everyone can offer quality, commodity sets in and the price gets driven down. The race to the bottom begins.

The other option is to deliver excellence and remarkability. Give something for people to talk or remark about.

By being excellent and remarkable, it enables the race to the top.

Fresh Links Sundae – December 7, 2014 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image28379626Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Having a functional architecture is a key to deriving IT values for any organization, and architecture calls for sound design principles. Bob Lewis recommends at least five areas to consider when putting together the design principles for your architecture. Ben Franklin, turkeys, and design principles (IS Survivor Publishing)

As we jump from one data analytics problem to another, we often need to get up to speed on a new dataset quickly. A classical and under-utilized approach for becoming familiar with the new data problem is Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA). Jason Brownlee explains the EDA techniques and tactics that you can use. Understand Your Problem and Get Better Results Using Exploratory Data Analysis (Machine Learning Mastery)

Verified inventory is one of the several key elements of IT assets management success. Martin Thompson shares techniques he has used in the past to verify hardware inventory. Verifying Asset Accuracy (The ITAM Review)

As business analysts, there will always be value in getting more done well and in less time. Laura Brandenburg talks about some of the most common time wasters she sees in business analysis. 5 Business Analyst Time-Wasters (Bridging the Gap)

For many organizations, an ITSM initiative often represents a major change, and Organizational Change Management (OCM) is the centerpiece to success. Mike DePolis discusses some of the most important aspects and actions to consider for an OCM effort in your organization. Project success with Organizational Change Management (OCR) (The ITSM Review)

Many organizations still perceive data quality projects to be a technical endeavor, but data quality requires an on-going, consistent change management effort. Such changes can often result in fear and resistance. Dylan Jones discusses ways to combat the fear and resistance to changes. Data quality mastery depends on change management essentials (The Data Roundtable)

Data or information Management within an organization can be at risk when data are in bad shape. Strong governance practices and stewardship can minimize risks and improve productivity. Pearl Zhu outlines the signals we should pay attention to when handling data governance within your organization. How to Capture the Signals of Data Governance Issues (Future of CIO)

Marshall Goldsmith believes how you define yourself will impact how successful you are at your job and even how happy you will be in life. He outlines four sources from which we can define our identity and encourages us to think about the considerations that go into how we define ourselves. Why You Should Get a Handle on Your Identity (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – November 23, 2014 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image17149277Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

A baseline is necessary to gauge and to validate the results produced by machine learning algorithms. Jason Brownlee describes why we create a baseline prediction result and how to create a baseline in general and for specific problem types. How To Get Baseline Results And Why They Matter (Machine Learning Mastery)

From KDNuggets, Burtch Works details the top 9 data science skills that potential data scientists must have to be competitive in this growing marketplace from the perspective of a recruiter. 9 Must-Have Skills You Need to Become a Data Scientist (KDNuggets)

Accurate asset tracking and management can be an enormous task for any IT organization. In a four-part series, Marcel Shaw describes a three-tiered approach to assets management. IT Asset Management, a three-tiered approach  IT Asset Management, a Three-Tiered Approach (Part 2 of 4)  IT Asset Management, a Three Tiered Approach (Part 3 of 4)  IT Asset Management, a Three-Tiered Approach (Part 4 of 4) (LANDESK Blog)

Bob Lewis points out many enterprise technical architecture management (ETAM) efforts suffer from the pitfall where it cannot keep up with the changes within the organization. He further suggests that perhaps an agile approach to ETAM will be necessary. Technical architecture’s irreducible core (IS Survivor Publishing)

A well-known problem troubleshooting and root-cause analysis technique has been the Five Why’s. John Allspaw argues that, for maximum learning effectiveness, we also need to ask more questions about the How’s. The infinite hows (O’Reilly Radar)

Every organization needs to assess its information security readiness from time to time and implement improvements or remediation when necessary. Chris Sell walks through the four steps that are critical for every information security gap analysis. How To Conduct An Information Security Gap Analysis (SunGard)

Although analytics projects are often at the top agenda for organizations these days, many of those organizations are still struggling to identify the business problems where analytics could generate measurable ROI. Pearl Zhu suggests the ways organizations can use to improve their analytics ROI. How can Organizations Improve their Analytics ROI (Future of CIO)

For most of us, it is easier to see our behavioral challenges in others than to see them in ourselves. From his own experience, Marshall Goldsmith discusses two important life lessons he had learned about addressing those challenges from within. 2 Life-Changing Lessons No One Ever Taught You (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – November 2, 2014 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image14628852Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Thomas Redman believes that managers should rarely take an important analysis at face value. He explains how data can be interpreted to tell one story but still fail to present the whole picture. When It Comes to Data, Skepticism Matters (Harvard Business Review)

Like all technology implementation efforts, cost benefits analysis should be part of a NoSQL implementation. William Vorhie explains what the two categories of benefit in NoSQL are and how to quantify them. Quantifying the Value of a NoSQL Project (Data Science Central)

Most of us think of taking meeting notes as merely a mundane transcription exercise. Bob Lewis would argue that taking and publishing the meeting notes is one of the most important jobs in a meeting. Notes about notes (IS Survivor Publishing)

Glen Alleman would advocate that, in order to make good decisions, we require good estimates. He explains five decision-making processes and how to incorporate sound estimating effort into those processes. Decision Making Without Estimates? (Herding Cats)

Understand the algorithm is a critical element of leveraging machine learning techniques effectively. Jason Brownlee outlines five ways to study and learn about machine learning algorithms. How to Study Machine Learning Algorithms (Machine Learning Mastery)

Many organizations do not have an organized approach to handling major IT incidents, and, as a result, they compromise their abilities to capture valuable lessons. Ryan Ogilvie discusses the four stages of a major incident handling and what challenges we need to overcome. Not Doing Proper Post Incident Reviews Could Haunt You (Service Management Journey)

Many organizations spend a great deal of effort on IT benchmarking but often get back the results that have little impact. Pearl Zhu discusses how to do benchmarking effectively in order to get the most impactful results from the effort. Is IT Benchmarking valuable or a Waste? (Future of CIO)

With the current and future landscape of tools, technologies, and processes, the IT environment has been changing in a fast and dramatic pace. Chris Riley discusses the challenges IT and Operations will face now and into 2015 and how to address those challenges. 6 Challenges Facing DevOps and Operations Teams in 2015 (logentries)

Fresh Links Sundae – September 21, 2014 Edition

Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

In a 9-part series, William Vorhies discusses the important considerations that can help you determine which NoSQL technology is appropriate for your project. Parts one through five are listed here to start things out. 9 Lessons: Picking the Right NoSQL Tools  Lesson 2: NoSQL Databases are Good for Everything – Except Maybe this One Thing  Lesson 3: Open Source, Distribution, or Suite  Lesson 4: Features Common to (Most) NoSQL/NewSQL Databases  Lesson 5: Key Value Stores (AKA ‘Tuple’ Stores) (Data Science Central)

Cloud computing is here to stay, and many organizations have begun implementing their private clouds. Thomas Bittman talks about ten reasons why most organization fails to get the most out of their private cloud efforts. Why Are Private Clouds Failing? (Gartner Blogs)

Many organizations hire for skills and aptitude, but are there other elements that play an even more critical role in the organization’s success? Stephen Mann suggests that the attitude of the IT staff can go a long way in shaping and promoting their organization’s chance to succeed. Working In IT: Does Your Attitude Determine You… (ServiceNow)

Effective software asset management (SAM) is a crucial component of any IT operation, but the scope of SAM needs to be well-defined and precise, or it could become unmanageable quickly. Brent Jarnell talks about what to consider when designing your SAM practice. Setting the scope in SAM design (The ITAM Review)

When operating a complex system, it is often difficult to grasp the potential connections between many data sources which are part of the system. Rita McGrath explains how predictive analytics can now help organizations gain more insights into their business by bringing more disparate data stores together. To Make Better Decisions, Combine Datasets (Harvard Business Review)

When adopting a non-waterfall project management practice, some organizations had to face the decision of whether to adopt Scrum or Kanban. Simon Morris discusses the similarities and differences of those two approaches and how to be successful with either. Scrum vs. Kanban (The ITSM Review)

Many IT organizations have a significant portion of their budget goes into maintaining operations and application portfolio. Pearl Zhu gives suggestions on managing a balanced IT portfolio and how to run IT more effectively. IT Portfolio Management (Future of CIO)

Conducting proof-of-concept (POC) projects to test out a new idea is a popular approach, but many POC efforts fall into the traps of wasted valuable time and resources. Bob Lewis talks about how to avoid those traps when conducting POCs. How to prove a proof of concept (IS Survivor Publishing)

Fresh Links Sundae – September 14, 2014 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-sundae-image13526471Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Most IT organizations have a set of IT and ITSM metrics, and those metrics have a direct impact on the organization’s ability to deliver value-add services to the business. Stephen Mann discusses the pitfalls we need to overcome and the good practices we should implement when designing ITSM metrics. 14 Common ITSM Metrics Pitfalls & 13 ITSM Metrics Best Practices (ServiceNow)

Large infrastructure functions have traditionally been organized in “technology domains,” but that model seems to be hitting its limits as businesses become more global and require more agility. A “plan-build-run” organizational model can help to break down silos and facilitate performance-improvement and transformation objectives. Himanshu Agarwal, Nagendra Bommadevara, and Allen Weinberg discuss how leading IT infrastructure organizations are increasingly adopting plan-build-run models. Using a plan-build-run organizational model to drive IT infrastructure objectives (McKinsey & Company)

Many predictive analytics efforts fail to produce expected result because they focus more on the end predictions, rather than grasping the analytic “hows” and “whys.” Michael Schrage explains why humbly learning from your mistakes can quickly and cost-effectively turn predictive failures into analytic successes. Learn from Your Analytics Failures (Harvard Business Review)

With the current focus on big data and analytics, enterprise data strategy is becoming an increasingly critical part of a portfolio planning process. Stephen Lahanas outlines the top seven considerations when crafting an enterprise data strategy. How to Create an Enterprise Data Strategy (Technovation Talks)

While all projects focus on delivering the value for the businesses, many of those projects had a hard time defining what constitutes value for their projects. Glen Alleman discusses that there is another equally critical element with which we must factor into the overall ROI calculation. Focus on Value is Only ½ The Equation (Herding Cats)

An effective IT service costing process can be a solution to the pressing need for tighter technology budget and better business/IT alignment. Khalid Hakim discusses the steps for setting up a better service costing process. How to Create a More Accurate, Useful, and Equitable Service Costing Process (VMware CloudOps)

Organizations deal with a variety of hardware and devices both at the end-user and in the data center environments. Accurate asset tracking is critical for all environments within an enterprise. David Foxen discusses the key approaches and considerations to asset tagging, along with strengths and weaknesses of each methodology. Quick guide to Hardware Asset Tagging (ITAM Review)

Many organizations use proof-of-concept exercise to validate the use of certain technologies or systems. Many of those technologies or systems later failed to produce the expected results or benefits in production. Bob Lewis cautions us to be skeptical when a proof-of-concept is showcased to be an absolute proof of something working. Proofs of concept usually aren’t (IS Survivor Publishing)

Fresh Links Sundae – September 7, 2014 Edition

Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

The quality of the service catalog has a key, direct impact on IT’s ability to deliver value-add services to the organization. Stephen Mann discusses the barriers we need to overcome and the good practices we should implement for Service Catalog Management. 6 Barriers To Service Catalog Success & 13 Service Catalog Best Practices (ServiceNow)

A number of organizations have begun making use of predictive analytics techniques to interpret business results and make better decisions. Tom Davenport discusses the basics about predictive analytics that every manager should know for his/her organization. A Predictive Analytics Primer (Harvard Business Review)

There are many reasons why data governance projects fall short of expectations. In a three-part series, Bryan Finnegan shares his thoughts on achieving persistent data governance and recommendations for avoiding pitfalls in data governance projects. Achieving persistent data governance, pt.1: link your teams  Achieving persistent data governance, pt. 2: focus on trouble areas  Achieving persistent data governance, pt. 3: find a visionary (The Data Roundtable)

Stuart Rance believes it is a good idea to document improvements you want to make in the register and let it evolve as we discover new things we want to record. For those organizations that want to keep formal documentation on improvements, he gives a list of recommendations on how to make a register and populate the information. Managing a continual service improvement register (Optimal Service Management)

Many IT managers understand the importance of the Knowledge Management process but are unsure of how to get started. Simon Morris talks about the key elements of the knowledge management process and ways to use KM to strengthen your incident management practice. The Avocado of Knowledge Management (The ITSM Review)

People have different opinions about shadow IT efforts and how best to deal with them. Rob England gives his recommendations on working with Shadow IT within your organization. How to deal with Shadow IT (The IT Skeptic)

Overwhelming evidence points to a tendency toward cost and effort overruns due to poor estimation for many software projects. Magne Jorgensen summarizes some of the knowledge he believes we have learned about effort estimation over the years. What We Do and Don’t Know about Software Development Effort Estimation (InfoQ)

Bob Lewis believes that you can draw strong parallels between conducting covert operations and managing typical corporate projects. He outlines a list of the factors without which projects are bound to fail. Spycraft, project-craft … what’s the difference? (IS Survivor Publishing)

Fresh Links Sundae – August 31, 2014 Edition

dreamstime_xs_32609411-240x178Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

A majority of organizations implement only reactive problem management; however, it is the proactive problem management practices that bring even more value. Stephen Mann discusses the barriers we need to overcome and the good practices we should implement for proactive problem management. 6 Barriers To Proactive Problem Management and 6 Problem Management Best Practices (ServiceNow)

A number of organizations are experimenting with predictive analytics and exploring its business value. James Taylor explains how to avoid common mistakes of predictive analytics. The Four Traps of Predictive Analytics (MIT Sloan Management Review)

Working in the field of IT Service Management, vendor management needs to be one of the high competency areas. Morgan Hunter talks about the considerations you should be aware of before signing a contract and recommends a nice checklist. Contract Negotiation Checklist – Don’t forget Your Pre-Nup (Intréis)

Predictive analytics is an increasingly mature technology, but many organizations still are not aware of the opportunities it presents. William Vorhies discusses the paths that a business leader can follow to discover more opportunities from leveraging predictive analytics. From Data Analyst to Predictive Modelers to Data Scientists (Data Science Central)

Many would believe that exercising technology leadership is all about achieving a successful implementation. Bob Lewis believes that the most important goal for technology leadership is to build a reusable organizational capability. Organizing for technology leadership (IS Survivor Publishing)

While the DevOps movement is evolving into a culture for continuous delivery of IT services, many organizations are still trying to find a balance between the human collaboration aspect and the tools/technologies. Mark Burgess uses the Promise Theory to explain how DevOps should work and why having a functional IT is a business imperative. The Promises of DevOps (Mark Burgess Website)

Analysts need to know the business rules which influence their database designs in order to ensure data operations make sense and results can be interpreted correctly. Fabian Pascal advises data analysts on the types of business rules for which they should be familiar with. Data Analysts: Know Your Business Rules (AllAnalytics)

Many believe that you cannot achieve value from your investment in ITSM without a fully functional and integrated CMDB. Oded Moshe explains why that is not necessarily true and recommends a list of advices to implement CMDB. Clearing Up the Myths of CMDB (SysAid Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – August 24, 2014 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image24270014Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

To compete these days, Martha Bennett believes that it is essential to make the most of the data you have. She outlines five areas where the business leaders need to tackle. Planning Your Big Data Strategy: Five Keys To Success (Forrester Blogs)

With the digital business trend, many organizations look to their CIO to lead by demonstrating technology leadership. Bob Lewis discusses a list of what’s required for technology leadership to be possible. More technology leadership prerequisites (IS Survivor Publishing)

In military, tactics and strategy are both necessary elements, and they complement each other in achieving the objective. In a three-part series, Stephen Lahanas discusses the building blocks and the steps for building an effective IT strategy. Building Effective IT Strategy – part 1  Building Effective IT Strategy – part 2  Building Effective IT Strategy – part 3 (Technovation Talks)

Stuart Rance often gets asked how long should an ITSM project take. He offers his opinions and suggestions on how implement ITSM to obtain value in the shortest time possible. How Long Should an ITSM Project Take? (SysAid)

Some IT organizations prefer to implement IT assets and configuration management as a single practice together while some keep those processes separate. Derek Lonsdale discusses the factors that can help determine the best approach for your IT organization? The synergies and duplications of IT Asset and Configuration management (ITSM Portal)

The Business Relationship Manager (BRM) team often acts as a bridge between the IT organization and their business partners. Vaughan Merlyn discusses the signs of an ineffective BRM practice which does not add value. When Business Relationship Managers Collude with Dysfunctional Behavior (IT Organization Circa 2017)

The US Government recently published a list of good practices for building effective digital services. Mike Loukides explains why private enterprises should also consider adopting these practices for their operations. Not just the government’s playbook (O’Reilly Radar)

There are a number of service providers who can lend their expertise to help completing an ITSM effort. Amy DeMartine makes some suggestions for how to pick your next ITSM implementation services provider. How to Find the right provider to complete your ITSM project (Computerworld UK)

Fresh Links Sundae – August 17, 2014 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image5686314Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Many organizations look to their CIO to lead by demonstrating technology leadership, but many CIOs view doing things new and different can be risky. Bob Lewis reminds us that technology leadership is hard to do but very necessary. What technology leadership takes (IS Survivor Publishing)

According to William Vorhies, there are two broad categories of analytics. The first includes reports, visualizations, and dashboards, and the second is predictive analytics. He explains what predictive analytics is and what benefits and promise predictive analytics may present. Types and Uses of Predictive Analytics, What they are and Where You Can Put Them to Work (Data Science Central)

Delivering a faster user experience to your customers online is no longer optional but a necessity. Tammy Everts discusses what we can learn from the most high-performing sites for improving web performance. What the 10 fastest ecommerce sites can teach us about web performance (Web Performance Today)

As more business functions join the digital trend, more marketing and IT leaders are taking actions to build trust and to improve alignment. Mike Sutcliff recommends the steps that CMOs and CIOs can take to make progress toward working together productively. CMOs and CIOs Increasingly See Eye to Eye (Harvard Business Review)

If you were asked by your organization to lay out the necessary steps to build an analytics capability, will you know exactly what to do? For most us, asking the right questions is the first step and the key to getting the right answers. Bryan Beverly discusses the questions that aimed at helping your organization move from concept to reality. What to Ask When Setting Up an Analytics Shop (AllAnalytics)

Each organization is facing the challenge of making use of the large amount of data it collects on a daily basis. In a two-part series, Lee Feigenbaum discusses the challenges and the practices for turning big data into smart data to surmount these challenges and to drive business value. Turning Big Data into Smart Data (Part 1 of 2)  5 Steps to Turning Big Data into Smart Data (Part 2 of 2) (The Data Warehousing Institute)

More and more organizations are beginning to understand the significance that IT Risk & Compliance has in the success of their business. Morgan Hunter talks about the benefits a robust IT Risk & Compliance function can add to the business and what to expect in the future. Intreis COO Sheds Light On IT Risk & Compliance (Intreis Blog)

If your organization is just starting to implement ISO 27001, you are probably in a dilemma as to what and how many documents you need to have. Dejan Kosutic outlines the criteria for deciding what to document. ISO27001 documents – Eight criteria to decide which ones to write (27001Academy)