The Blog of Maxim Porges

Archive for August, 2005

  • Fusebox/Frameworks Conference, Fusebox Class, New Presentation, Adalon mach-ii Skin

    I’ve got a ton of cool stuff going on at the moment, hence the lack of blog posts.

    1) I’ve been invited to hold two sessions this year at the 2005 Fusebox and Frameworks Conference. One of the sessions is brand new and covers using Java/J2EE/Spring with ColdFusion.

    2) I also might be teaching a class there. Keep your eyes peeled for more info as we work out the details…

    3) There seem to be some rumblings in the community surrounding the need for an Adalon skin for mach-ii, and another for model-glue. I’d be very interested in getting these projects off the ground and assisting with coding.

    4) I’m trying very hard to learn RUP as we evaluate Rational’s tools. There’s a lot of stuff there!

    5) We’re also getting a project plan together for our final Flex proof of concept. I met with Frank Masengil from Macromedia a few weeks back, and he offered us direct access to a Flex engineer to assist with the POC, which was awesome. I’ll post the results as soon as we have them, but right now everything looks set to go.

    So much to do, and so little time in which to do it…

    2005.08.18 / 1 response / Category: Uncategorized

  • Striking the Technology/Business Skill Balance

    Supposedly, the economy is picking up. I keep hearing on the news that companies are looking to increase I.T. spending, hire new talent, and make plans to retain key I.T. players in their organizations. A quick browse of the job listings on [insert favorite tech job web site name here] proves the case.

    But I also hear that it’s hard going for companies to find good I.T. resources at the architecture and management levels. This is a key area of interest now that service-oriented architecture dominates the horizon of so many I.T. strategies.

    As you’ll already know if you read my blog with any level of regularity, I manage a software development team. I started off as a software developer, and drove my career toward management over time. In the early years as a manager, my perception was that I would always be a developer at heart, first and foremost.

    What you might not know is how much time I spend working with our business. Over the years, I have forged close relationships with a wide variety of individuals at all levels throughout our organization. These days, I find myself spending the majority of my time working closely with senior management, helping them to determine effective strategy and prioritize their initiatives. (Of course, this leaves me keeping pace with technology and banging away at software in my “free time” outside of work.)

    The most interesting part of this is that I find myself being called in to projects that affect parts of the business beyond my sphere of responsibility. The reason that I find this is taking place is because the business managers holding the meetings value my combined knowledge of business and technology, regardless of whether or not the subject matter is related to my responsibilities.

    And so, I’ve been thinking about the marriage of business and technology, and the growth that has occured in the symbiotic relationship between these disciplines over the last ten years.

    For example, I don’t believe it’s possible for businesses to function effectively in this day and age without a technology plan to accompany their business plan. If you have smart business people, but a complete lack of technology direction given to those people by savvy I.T. personnel, then failure is bound to occur.

    Likewise, I.T. has to be mindful of business strategy in their internal decisions. Ineffective or incorrect decisions made at a technology level can seriously cripple a business – especially in an organization like Westgate, where we develop our software in-house. If I.T. can’t keep pace with the business, then the business will fail, or at the very least be less effective in the face of nimbler competition. Plain and simple.

    And then there is the shortage of remaining new ideas. Innovation still exists, but it’s becoming harder to come up with truly great new ideas, and harder still to properly bring those ideas to fruition. The Internet has become the Great Equalizer, with almost every concievable hair-brained scheme taking on a digital manifestation and carving out market share before the competition can even be invented. And so, it’s now more important than ever for I.T. managers to get their hands dirty in the businesses they support. It’s our responsibility to create efficiencies and innovations at the technology level that complement the ideas and innovations at the business level. It’s essential that I.T. professionals be as creative as their business partners, and that business ideas become richer and more comprehensive as a result of the technology (rather than in spite of it).

    So, where does that leave software engineering professionals at the architecture and management level? Well, I would say that it is no longer possible to be effective in these positions unless you have a strong handle on both the business and the technology. Unfortunately for both sides, these disciplines don’t tend to manifest themselves in the same individuals all that often. In many cases, you’re either a business minded I.T. guy or a techie, but rarely both.

    With this in mind, it’s easy to see why finding talent at the architecture and management levels is proving to be hard going, and could continue to be that way for the foreseeable future. Maybe you make it to a CIO or CTO position because you had the magic combination of business acumen and technological prowess, but where do you look for your replacement as you make the step up? You either have to cultivate it inside a resource already in your organization with one or the other of the skills (developing the weaker of the two), or hope you get lucky with a new hire.

    And with the job market the way it is, you’re going to have to snap up any potential matches without hesitation; if not, you may quickly find your luck in short supply.

    2005.08.01 / no responses / Category: Uncategorized