Technical Debt and the Cost/Benefit of Knowledge Retention

A rather rigorous, Financial-sounding title for a high-concept line of thought ... Thanks to Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror, for calling my attention to this article by Martin Fowler on Technical Debt: Technical Debt is a wonderful metaphor developed by Ward Cunningham to help us think about this problem. In this metaphor, doing things the quick and dirty way sets us up with a technical debt, which is similar to a financial debt. Like a financial debt, the technical debt incurs…

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KM Overcomplicates: Heisenberg Impact on a VBA Quickie

Got a simple request from one of the folks in Operations; we're sending out Excel spreadsheets for some quick data gathering, might we do a little basic input validation before they send in garbage that needs to be scrubbed? This person is very sharp, knows a decent bit about what is possible, and this is definitely not something that is worth a major project engagement; "throwaway technology", a particular fave of mine. His request was simple - just want to…

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Best Practices for Process Documentation: Use Cases (3 of 3)

I've been writing about iterative documentation and checklists, and it's easy to see how these are applicable to a number of common IT processes ... Build a server Apply OS patches Move new code into production Initiate a project / programming request Unfortunately, there are plenty of other areas in IT that you think should / could have a definable process ... yet there is always some magic to them, a variable recipe that's difficult to capture in a cookbook…

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Best Practices for Process Documentation: Checklists (1 of 3)

I've written before about process documentation and the need for checklists - especially for repeatable and complex processes that you may not perform every single day. A written process solves a multitude of issues: Security: For complex processes with integrated platforms, a detailed list keeps you from forgetting key settings, switches, and process steps that you might forget Reality: No matter how "advanced" or "highly engineered" these systems are, there is always something that must be done in just the…

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Enterprise 2.1: Exiting the Trough of Disillusionment

"What will you do with that car if you actually catch it?" -- what the cat asked the dog (from the Chicago Reader, circa 1989) So you've gone all "Enterprise 2.0", spinning up a wiki, a blog, and a SharePoint or Drupal server inside your firewall. Now what happens? The groundswell of interest in "cool tools" brings a wave of users and a burst of feed reader activity - for a few weeks. Before long, however, the organization will get…

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iTunes Upgrade Freeze Resolved – and an Enterprise KM Observation

As many of you know, one downside of a career in IT is that we get pressed into [unpaid] service as tech support for the family's troubles with technology. My college-bound daughter has purchased her MacBook, and will soon find out (to her dismay) I have little hands-on experience with that platform. However, for many years both of my daughters have tethered their iPod to the family Windows desktop - I've done or thing or two over there. Fortunately (unfortunately?),…

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Desperately Needed Features for eMail Clients/Servers

Via Knowledge Jolt, here's an article from KM world with some interesting statistics about folks engaged in enterprise search - but it was a tangential quote from the author that caught my eye. When asking corporate knowledge workers about using public Internet search engines, she found that ... ... although only 2 percent [of corporate searchers] said they used the company intranet, 13 percent stated that they were looking for internal company information. That's puzzling. Not puzzling to me! They're…

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