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2007 – Year in Review

Posted by archworx on November 26, 2007

Year In Review – & Plans for Future 

Hello again everyone. It’s been a long time since we published our last communiqué – and it is high time the Architecture Group (AG) touches base with insite readers.

Summary of Events

This year has witnessed a great deal of news and many events. Let me highlight the following for you very quickly:

  • We’ve started publishing a monthly newsletter that includes the most relevant announcements we believe are good to know for people in the company. We’ve published two so far, and hopefully will continue at a regular rhythm. We encourage you to check it out every month and see if it includes anything useful for you.

  • The AG has recently expanded to host members in an exciting new Service Offering that ITWorx has started working on this year – Business Intelligence! Our consultants were busy at the start of the year trying to get a business pipeline – and their efforts were luckily met with so much success that they are so swamped now they can hardly handle all the flooding through the gates!

  • The Configuration & Release Management Team have been experimenting with penetrating other accounts to expand beyond their stalwart account, UTC. On the other hand, growth in UTC projects working on vignette has meant that a lot work is still not getting the full treatment.

  • The TA Team has spawned off an enormous number of initiatives that are so numerous I am not even going to try to enumerate them. I’ll just highlight for example the IdeaQueue, which is an idea incubator for good ideas that we launched in our October Newsletter. “Totem”, one of the first Ideas executed in the IdeaQueue is an exciting Enterprise Service Bus implemented natively for ITWorx, keep your eyes open for this in the future as it is bound to spawn further exciting ideas (which we’re keeping under wraps for now). The CodeGen team has finally published “Koala”, which was their code name for The ITWorx Code Generator version 2.0; now it supports extensible classes and a new UI component on steroids. No Java support yet, and still much more exciting stuff we’re trying to include in 2008, which we’re re-factoring the code now in order to get ready for.

  • The CuttingEdge Club has now grown beyond the TA team and become a company-wide group. As of November, we’re also experimenting with growing beyond ITWorx and including members of our community at large. Thanks to your continuous support – just by attending the seminars and arriving on time, you encourage us to keep arranging more and more seminars!

  • AcademiaBridge is also growing up to become an organization wide initiative which includes more effort from more and more people, and is promising to conquer new ground in new universities with more students as it does so.

Listening to You: Surveying your opinions for the year ahead

After having done all that we wanted to touch base with the rest of the company to find out if what we were doing added any value to your work. So we conducted our feedback survey a couple of months ago. We never expected the amount of feedback we got, and in fact it was quite an honour to feel that so many people wanted to share their thoughts with us. Thank you so much for having taken the time, we feel very privileged for all the feedback you gave us.

The results are still published online for all to see, but a few themes prevailed that are going to define the way we plan our work for 2008. The main words we heard you say were along the lines of “Focus”, “Reuse”, and “Reach Out”. Many people thought we were doing so much stuff that it was spreading us too thin. Others thought they knew very little about us and wanted us to become more visible in the way we impact their day-to-day work. Many people stressed that while we finally have a growing reuse library in ITWorx, they want to see much more reuse happening in more places.

Focus on 2008

We want to take your advice and consequently will focus a great deal next year on our “Productivity & Efficiency” program, which includes, Code Generation and Service Engineering. Most people don’t know what Service Engineering is yet – it is basically the mother of all reuse possible. This is the umbrella project that includes Code Reuse, The Software License Tool Box (How many licenses of TOAD or Ants Profiler do we have?), Stencils Development (Such as the SharePoint-specific design and requirements stencils in use by eGov & Education), Custom-Tool Development (for example, the IMT and PortalInfoCenter in UTC), and Training Capabilities (CBT Summaries or Nuggets about market verticals, client information, platform & process specifics and so on).

One of our Targets is to encourage and catalyze reusable asset development by simply jumping on the bandwagon and helping teams to deliver such capabilities until they do so themselves. The problem is, reuse is something that should inherently come from the authors themselves, instead of someone who sweeps behind them every so often. But it’s a chicken and egg situation when authors are not encouraged to deliver assets when they have not yet seen the value of the library to which they are expected to contribute. So we want to jump-start this process by doing things like salvaging potential assets developed by other teams, until the library reaches a critical mass, then encouraging people to continue the momentum by showing them statistics that prove how great an impact their assets are making on the organization (these stats exist today already and prove that the library is expanding in a slow but positive direction, ask us about “Initiative Tracking” on for more info).

As for being more popular and “famous” around the company, we admit we have been keeping a low profile most of this last year, but that is because we had to build a lot of our internal team structure first before being able to make a loud noise. We are in a position now that will allow us to leverage some of our assets developed throughout this time to serve you in a better and more efficient manner. So we are going to do a great deal of work on our “Outreach” program, which includes this communiqué, our blog, our newsletter, illumination sparks, and two exciting new projects coming out next year!

From a BSC perspective, we are working to define “penetration targets” on all other fronts. These targets stipulate that we should cover new territory in ITWorx accounts with a certain quality of service throughout the year. This is in addition to continuously refining our tools and processes in order to make sure we can reach our goal… 

We Need You!

Our goal is to enhance the quality of our company’s deliverables in every way technically possible. We can’t do this without you. We’ll need your help, on more than one front – here are some ideas:

1.       Join in the fun with us! Stay tuned to our news and announcements – please read our blog, read our company wide newsletter or please, please join our illuminate mailing list, which we promise to reveal interesting details on every now and then.

2.       Commit to Excellence. Foster a passion for pragmatism with perfection. Encourage your team and your architects to come up with great solutions which deliver efficiently. Trust industry best-practices to lead you to results. If in doubt, have the courage to try once in a while. For example, don’t be afraid to normalize your database and see if impacts your overall project positively or negatively. Build better from the inside, even if no one is looking! J

3.       Obviously we’re still a relatively new team, and we’re bound to experience growing pains, so please bear with us. Don’t lose hope if we skip a beat once, and do come back again. But by all means give us your feedback so we know what to improve the next time around.

-mmk, ag.


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