Lost Weekend: Troubleshooting a MySQL Installation

Spurred on by Blogger's decision to stop supporting FTP for publishing blogs, I have finally started the long process to implement a WordPress blog - hosted by myself, not Wordpress.com. To be fair, I am making this longer than it necessarily needs to be, but I am continuing my efforts to maintain a comprehensive Admin guide for all of my development efforts - configuring servers, installing software, etc. Needless to say, this adds overhead and time, but it's worth the…

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Hands-On Project: Offsite Strategy

When I talk about having an "offsite strategy" meeting, I'm looking to get out of the office and have some good, "strategic" conversation over a cup of coffee or a beer. Back when I worked for a software development company, we did our best design work at a hot dog stand in Des Plaines, IL; since then, I've always found it more fun to conduct some "bidness" in the proper atmosphere ... This was the germ of an idea that…

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Low Tech SharePoint Hack: Project Status Indicator

I'm doing a little hacking in SharePoint that is pulling together a few ideas from the past: Keeping my tech skills sharp Knowing when to search for the answer (vs. stubbornly sticking with DIY) Communicating status tersely but effectively Apparently, I'm also trying to answer a question that is meaningful to many others, as it is used as an example in the Help files for Microsoft's online SharePoint guides, the add-on Web Parts we use here, and many other places.…

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The Innovation Generation and User Interfaces

I don't intend for all my posts about Millennials joining the workforce to be anti-youth. There are some significantly good things this new generation can bring to established organizations - ways of thinking that foster innovation and forward-progress in how organizations use information. For example, let's talk about user interfaces (UI). I'm not an old man, but I remember the advent of IBM's Common User Access standard. DOS-based computers and early GUIs introduced UI variety, and the resulting lack of…

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Why are those Old Programmers so slow in picking up on the Intarweb?

A significant difference between us old-line IT coders and the new graduates is the variety of our platforms and tools. I'm not talking about the large number of languages and tools learned over the course of a career - we all have a healthy collection of certifications and acronyms peppering the bottoms of our resumes. I'm talking about the amazing array of stuff required to get development done on a single project, "right now". Over the past few weeks, I've…

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Optimizing the Wrong Part of Knowledge Management

I sat in on the report-out session from a kaizen event this week, and something occurred to me as I reviewed a ton of interesting findings in a very short time ... Best Practice Self-contained deliverables are the most powerful tools for knowledge knowledge transfer you can have in your organization. I'm talking about a document that stands on its own, and effectively communicates an idea without needing the author nearby to explain anything. The topic doesn't matter - conceptual…

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PM Anti-Patterns That Increase IT Project Cycle Time

Lots of conversation at work these days about PMO, resource prioritization, and reducing cycle time for IT projects. I feel a series of posts coming on ... IAPL, we launched a project to bring test discipline to our technology efforts. The team was writing standards and guidelines for test scripts, implementing integrated testing tools supplied by the ERP vendor, and adding steps to our project methodology requiring test scripts for all system changes. As the project dragged into a fourth…

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Driving to a Decision on your Projects

I've written about the basic project proposal (for consulting groups) or charter (for internal IT) in the past. The point of any project summary document is to tee up the what and the why, using an outline like this: Description: What are we trying to accomplish here? What is our ultimate goal? Objectives: These are project objectives, not business objectives. How will we know we are done? Benefits: Why should we consider doing this? What are we getting? Alternatives: Are…

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Strategies for Intellectual Property in Consulting Engagements

Previously, I wrote about Fee Structures in Consulting Engagements, which is the stuff that the consultants are primarily interested in. If the consultant / firm has any strategic skills,their next concerns will be about Intellectual Property (IP) rights. <aside> Not that IP, this IP </aside> Do you really think that they make it all up from scratch for each new customer? Of course not - like any other developer, they have a body of code (and/or project/process methodology) that has…

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