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HPMD Bullets


Information Technology is often too complicated and large to be useful, especially for the smaller enterprise. The reality of the Web-world is that you must be fast and pragmatic. The following are a collection of insights -- proverbs if you will -- about the business of IT gleaned from technology and business authors, and thirty years in the industry.
  1. The 50% rule: 50% of what you need to know will be discovered during the system development and implementation. Build a prototype or paper model you can show users early.
  2. 80% solutions: Build systems that meet 80% of the needs. The remaining 20% can wait, and often prove unnecessary.
  3. Don't pave the cow path: Automating an old, broken process only creates a broken system. Reengineer the process first. (from Michael Hammer)
  4. Cut the steps in half: When reengineering a business process, look to cut out at least half of the original steps.
  5. One approver: A process needs only one approver or sign-off. Everyone else can check the reports.
  6. Do the minimum for the maximum value: Put something small in users hands quickly that delivers meaningful value for them. (from Extreme Programming).
  7. Chunk it down: Break a project into smaller phases that still deliver value and can be done in 60 days or less.
  8. Off the shelf: Don't program a system you can buy. The vendor usually has more resources than you do to develop, maintain and enhance systems. Many customers usually means packaged systems that represent a collection of best practices.
  9. Custom applications eat more resources the older they get: 80% of IT time is usually spent maintaining old code. Get rid of it. (from Barry Boehme)
  10. Fail fast, fail cheap: Based on the principle that implies that innovation comes from many, small experiments, most of which fail. Better to fail with small, fast projects. (from Tom Peters)
  11. System integration over system building: invest in the integration of off-the-shelf systems rather than creating custom systems.
  12. Don't change core code: When implementing an off-the-shelf system, do not touch the core code. The costs of upgrades will kill you.
  13. Change the process not the code: For off-the-shelf systems, with many customers, the systems usually represents the best practices. Change the business processes to fit the systems rather than the other way around.
  14. Small is beautiful: Related to chunking down and 80% solutions, small systems, or phases, have less risk, deliver value sooner, and provide the learning necessary to do the next phase better

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