Tuesday, July 19, 2016

An Old Trick From An Old Dog

Old dogs look you in the eye, they hold your heart, they never lie,
They bark at planes up in the sky and wish that they were fliers.
Old dogs dream about the past when they frolicked fields of golden grass,
And chased the icy winter's blast, to lie by home fires burning.
Old dogs wander off alone but old dogs know the way back home,
The slightest scent, the buried bone, the hunter home returning.
                                                   - From "Old Dogs" by Bill Staines

I was recently asked how I evaluate different enterprise applications systems.  In all honesty, it's pretty simple:  I use a conceptual chart.  Yeah, really, a single chart.  This is it:

So I look at three different layers of components:  business value, development and deployment.  And I consider the components listed above in each of those three layers.  

I may dig a little deeper in some areas.  And I may even get into some classic system engineering analysis, with figures of merit and all that, but this is the upshot of it.  No sales hooey, no trendy buzz terminology, no nothing.  This is it.  I also use it for solution evaluation:  it's a great little framework for peeling back the layers of the onion and exposing solution risks.

Been using this framework for around seven or eight years now, so I guess that it qualifies as an old trick from an old dog.  But it still works.

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