Coffee

Over Engineered – Cost of Bells, Don’t Need Whistles

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ClockWorkI have been busy exploring the varied and wonderful world of legacy solutions and modernisation compatibility.  My role has been listening, understanding and exploring business critical requirements and looking for solutions and scope from which to devise a way forward for transformation and improved efficient business practices. All at a cost! Are you willing to pay? Can you afford not to? Do you actual know what you want, what you need?

Now I really feel for the teams who after years of blood, sweat and tears and loyalty to an organisation have had to come to terms with seeing their “labour of love” criticised, or analysed as to what the future shouldn’t be like.  I hear statements like “we want to simplify”, “this is far too complex and can’t adapt”, “we over engineered this” . . . .

Having to make business wheels turn under business as usual pressures, the constant demand of changes and having to lovingly safeguarded  doing business using is a champions job and no small feat! However too often I am seeing this endeavour become a thankless task when modernisation comes into play.   I’ve been here!

We should thank these teams for the hours of devotion as it is their past innovation, solution engineering and practices that has helped a whole software consulting industry  learn what, why and the many “how” that helped develop new solutions, technologies and paradigms (Cloud/SaaS).

Decisions are made for the circumstance of the day.  Solutions built to support the needs of that era weren’t meant to last a life time and be infinitely flexible and accommodating.  At some point they will just not be able to cut the mustard any more. They will be no longer fit for purpose.  The world matched on . . .

Business moves on, commerce and industry devise new needs and opportunities, models and processes develop, opportunities demand new support models, and yet sometime the infrastructure that is built to support the legacy business model is forced under pressure to perform above and beyond in the new world model!

B-W-1I recall in another life where the development of the solution had to address the most bizarre requirements at the edge of every possible combination of circumstance and possibilities.  This is often termed “future proofing”.  Tell me who has the crystal ball and have really ever seen “that” coming”?

This leads to the classic costly over engineering and the long haul cost of ownership and maintenance change, fix and repair cycles, let alone integration, scaling and portability challenges.

I came across this coffee machine at a wonderful facilities provided by a very well established consultancy. It caught my attention in relation to this topic over engineering, bells and whistle and then the cost of ownership and maintenances. It got me thinking while waiting for my coffee.  Will it ever be able to make a good cup of tea? Was it ever meant to?

Too many moving part, accommodating people interaction experience verse their responsibility to (place the cup under the tap head), compensating for people effort and generally build complexity for more vulnerability and cost of ownership. How many times have you designed a solution around people capability over what would work simplest?

Kiss

Easier said than done when there is more than one engineer having fun!

UK Institutions, Coffee, Books and an Internet Social Media Generation

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I don’t normally blog about pseudo political agenda but being a parent and a social media adventures this item of book notoriety  brought my Coffee and Socialfingers to my keyboard.

As a parent I take an active interest in my children’s line of study (when they allow me). I recently took a look at a secondary school media study curriculum and discussed a piece of homework with my daughter she was undertaking for this subject. I was disappointed as she is already publishing in a medium and platform way advanced, more fantastic and with great outreach than the detail she was been asked to learn here!

What was being learnt was a skill and a mindset that would be long dead as an industry by the time my child would be in any job that would reference anything close to the techniques being studied. A redundant, pointless and irrelevant educational investment.

Desired Jobs in UKA few days later this table was brought to my attention by a social media post. Having visited the site that produced the survey and read some of the media coverage and comments I felt frustrated and worried for a generation.  My findings further underpinned my angst for the future of the UK competing in the digital, social, internet of things connected, collaborative world that my children will undoubtedly live and work in.

Why didn’t “Internet Entrepreneur” or “App Designer”, “Game Designer”, or “Social Media Engineer” (now there’s a title) appear in this list? Let alone “Computer Scientist”. I guess the wrong demographic was asked and the right one never is.  The survey was directed by the current generation of politicians and media pundits that will disadvantage the next generation because that’s how we hang on to power!

Don’t get me wrong, I love learning. Books “were” imperative to awareness of our developing world. However, Libraries and the art/role of a Librarian is now so last century.  Projects like the “Google Books Library” is how our information future will be brought to life and the the history of books be preservers (as they should be) forever as our past.

Schools media studies should reap the free world of the Internet and be based upon the students creating a blog, a web-site, even a Facebook community page or learn to broadcast as a YouTube channel. Most of this is free. They should learn an understanding of media management through SEO and Google Analytics. They should study how to measure the impact of social media interaction and data mining.

If I had my way, every library would become an Information Coffee Points. Yes that’s right, a coffee and a good digital book! The role of “Internet Barista” would be taught in high school and apprenticeships as a “Social Media Internet Barista” would be sponsored by Starbucks and Google. Come to think of it, do our children really need to be educated in the Internet of Things, Social Media, the Digital Information Age?

No. They are living it in spite of a generation of policy makers and historians controlling their education. In fact, with the amount of blogs and posting, the management of information, and the constant learning of new wonderful Internet things, the top 3 roles called out in this survey are inherent in this generation but the adoption of the Internet. Maybe this post will give you cause to bookmark it.

My thanks goes to my daughter and Gavin at House Pesso for the inspiration behind this post.