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Leverage these 7 things to strengthen yourself in 2020

A list of 7 things to focus upon daily. Stoic in nature, and useful to help you build your affirmation for 2020.

A 15 min empty mind guided meditation

The “Mind is the key to relaxation. To relax the mind is to simply let go, and letting go of the body is relaxation.

Stop blaming enterprise frameworks and focus on business alignment

Enterprise Architecture helps an organization
realize its competitive advantage.

“The entire purpose of enterprise architecture frameworks is that they’re supposed to let you accurately and consistently describe architectures. If they can’t do that — if they can’t describe how SharePoint and your ERP suite fit together with everything else you’re running or will want to run — then what value do they provide?” Bob Lewis commented in his CIO magazine article, “The dark secrets of enterprise architecture.”

Bob Lewis continues with what he calls secrets, but they seem to be more opinions. Expressing that “One reason EA frameworks and methodologies fail so often is that they are, in the end, waterfall in nature.” Many of today’s frameworks did begin in the 1980s where software delivery was waterfall and the TOGAF architectural development method (ADM) at first glance may appear waterfall; however, the ADM process is a guide and TOGAF recommends leveraging the steps as they work best
for the organization. ADM is not an immutable process that an organization must follow exactly as documented.

The frameworks are not ‘broken.’ The difficulties that enterprise architecture (EA) is facing are not from the tools and methodologies, but with its alignment with the organization. Still seen as an IT role, enterprise architects are continually left out of key business strategy and planning sessions. The perception of the role needs to change.

Diann Daniel defines EA in her CIO Magazine Article, “The Rising Importance of the Enterprise Architect” as “the process of aligning a business’s strategic vision with its information technology. It connects different business units for synergistic communication and collaboration, creating a more seamless customer (or end-user) experience, “

One tool for this alignment is capability mapping; which provides a view of the enterprise that both business analysts, and IT architects could use to design current and future systems. It defines ‘what’ the business does, it does not try to explain the where, why, or how it is accomplished. It is not focused on architecting the solution as the article is trying to tell us, but aligning the organization and IT.

Retain more from your reading

How to implement a systematic note-taking habit or process that effectively supports knowledge retention when I am reading. This is the question I continue to try and answer, as I imagine so many others do as well. Not a simple problem, but also not impossible, 

Useful Technical Magazines & Blogs

As a technical professional we are expected to keep up with the trends in our industry. The internet provides free access to several sources. The question, which resources are best for you?  Magazines Wired  PCMag  ComputerWorld MIT Technical Review American Scientist Fast Company Blogs Tech 

Not failing at DevOps!

In a recent ZDNet article,  “DevOps may finally help deliver the software automation we’ve been waiting for,” Joe McKendrick has a conversation with Sacha Labourey from Cloudbees and it caught my attention, Sacha said:

 “within larger organizations, “it’s just harder — size is in itself a factor of inertia,” he says. “Silos are much stronger.. so even if there is a mandate from the top down to change, it just takes a lot of energy and time to fight all of those headwinds.”

Sacha Labourey from Cloudbees

Silo’s, politics, and legacy systems do make the transition difficult, but not impossible. Focus on breaking the habits and start small. Gene Kim, Jez humble, et al.. in “The DevOps Handbook,” asserts that:

an organization needs to create a dedicated transformation team. Make them accountable, provide clear goals, and allow them to work autonomous from the current organization. Demonstrate real value through the new processes. 

Jez humble

The goal is to move away from the ingrained habits and politics. If you cannot — you will fail!

Are you monitoring?

Continuous Monitoring is not an afterthought; however, it is for most. Monitoring through each phase (concept to cash) provides transparency to how the systems is acting and reacting.   This transparency helps you troubleshoot issues and identify risks in the process and system. Get a baseline 

Leverage Automated Delivery to have Frictionless Software Delivery

The goal of CD is to be able to release software frequently,and reliably, in a frictionless manner. By Daniel Horton “By now it should be clear that the only way to create value is to release. Testing your products against the marketplace is crucial for 

Gain Clarity with the Feynman Technique

“I learned very early the difference between knowing
the name of something and knowing something.”
Richard Feynman


Do you say “I read it in a book” or do you really know how it works? So many people learn the buzzwords and really don’t understand the underlying concepts. Which comes out when you start having a detailed conversation on the topic. I’ve had this happen and I feel embarrassed that I do not know enough and also frustrated because there is never enough time to learn everything. Then there is the fact that we only retain about 10% of what we read. According to the learning pyramid, from the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science, we retain 10% from reading, 20% from audio/visual, 30% from demonstrations, and 90% from teaching others what we have learned.

The moral of the story – begin teaching others to become smarter! Seriously, you will retain more of what you learned if you prepare and hopefully teach others the techniques you’ve learned. It is called the Feynman Technique and it defines how to quickly learn pretty much anything. The concept breaks a topic down into its core and then explains it a 5 year old.

There are several variations on the web, but the technique may be defined as:

  1. Choose a Concept
  2. Explain it to a 5 year old
  3. Understand your knowledge gap
  4. Simplify as much as possible
    1. Use Analogies, stories, etc..

In the Real-World

The process really is straightforward. We want to write an explanation that is simple, not stupid and unintelligent, but simple, clear, and concise. Here are the steps:

  1. Get out a piece of paper (or word, etc.)
  2. At the top write the topic or subject you want to clarify and teach to another
  3. Begin explaining the topic in your writing on the paper.
    1. Use simple language
    2. Use Diagrams
    3. Use Analogies and stories
  4. Review the draft for lack of clarity or missing content.
    1. Go back and research
    2. Update the document and continue the loop reviewed in #3 above
  5. Final review is looking to see that we’ve obtained clarity.
    1. Look for any technical jargon, etc..
    2. Update the document to provide additional clarity


Record Yourself

Another technique I recommend is recording yourself. With today’s technology you can easily record and review your progress. Check if you are clear and concise when teaching the topic or are you pausing, skipping, or just lost on the details? Do this until you are able to explain the topic clearly. The camera will help you with presentation skills as well.


Good Video