Who, Why, What? Communicate clearly

In order for an organization to be successful and achieve its mandate, what do you think are the fundamental things that everyone involved in an organization needs to clearly understand? Three questions initially came to my mind:

  • WHO we are?
  • WHY we exist?
  • WHAT we do?

There are few variations and opinions you will encounter when reading through articles on this topic. However, the following are the common themes in a simplified form and we needs a bird’s eye view of an organization to be able to answer these questions.

  • Motivation: WHY does the organization work the way it does?
  • Function: HOW does the organization carry out its work to deliver the value?
  • People: WHO does what?
  • Network: WHERE is the work conducted?
  • Data: WHAT things are needed – i.e., resources and information?
  • Time: WHEN does work need to happen?

The discipline of holistically looking at an organization and conducting it’s analysis, design, planning and development is called “Enterprise Architecture“. Refer to Zachman Framework and The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) if you are interested in learning more about widely used Enterprise Architecture frameworks.

Enterprise Architecture Domains

Well defined Business Architecture Artifacts such as below can help providing answers and bringing clarity to those questions.

Please remember when creating artifacts:

  • Use simple language and diagrams as appropriate to convey the message.
    • Your goal should be to create things that can easily be understood by everyone at every level of the organization. If it’s complicated and hard to understand, no one will reference and use them.
  • Simplify Simplify Simplify… and Simplify!
    • Break down existing complexity – prioritize and focus on creating things that will help simplifying complexity, and support establishing a foundation to keep your organization moving efficiently, enable to respond quickly and adopt to ever changing environment.

Let’s keep things simpleBe logical, prioritize and focus on things that are important, communicate clearly using plain language to get everyone on the same page, foster collaboration to channel energy of your organization… and take your organization to the next level one step at a time!

Techie Princesa at Signiel Seoul.View of Seoul, Korea from Signiel, Seoul Hotel

View of Han River from 92nd floor at Signiel Seoul, October 2018

My ideal workplace is…

  • A place that treats people as its most valuable asset
  • A place that provides me opportunities to challenge myself, learn new things and grow not only professionally but personally
  • A place that allows me to have a work and life balance
  • A place that encourages open communications
  • A place that see failure as an opportunity for teams to learn and grow from
  • A place that recognize and appreciate good people and good work
  • A place where there is team spirit

What’s your ideal work environment? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below. 🙂

A photo taken in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Know your business needs first!

Are you looking to retire your legacy applications or invest in new technology platforms to serve the need of your business better?

It’s important to remember that Technology is a Business Enabler

  • Buying a new technology will not fix your broken and/or inefficient business processes.
  • Do not choose and invest in new technologies unless you clearly understand the business problems you are trying to solve.
  • Technology will drive process improvements and transform the way business function if and only if it’s carefully chosen based on the business needs and used to support optimized business processes.

Here are some questions that will help you when formulating the migration strategy for your legacy applications:

  1. What are the purpose of your applications?
  2. What business processes do your applications support?
  3. If you have multiple applications in scope for the migration, are there any commonalities between them?
    • Important! Do you see an opportunity to consolidate them into a comprehensive, integrated enterprise system to reduce technology footprints and improve business processes?
  4. Are your applications integrated with each other? If so, what are the integration points?
  5. How large, complex your applications are?
    • # of forms, screens, menus, # of reports, complexity of reports…etc
    • # of databases and database tables, and its association to applications/forms/screen
    • Any plugins?
  6. Are they all internal applications (i.e. internal corporate use only)?
  7. Are they external facing applications (i.e. external users/stakeholders involved)
    • What are external users’ impact?
    • What are the risks involved?
  8. How authentication and authorization are handled?
  9. Is database migration also in scope along with the applications?
    • Is there a central database that your applications are currently interacting with?
    • If so, what are the integration points?
  10. Can each of the application be broken into individual modules (or group of functionalities) to migrate them in groups/phases?
    • You can use this as an indicator for determining how you can run the project in agile way.
  11. How well your applications are documented (i.e. business rules)?
    • Is there any tools that you can use to scan existing code to extract business rules?
  12. Are all functionalities exists currently being used and that they all need to be migrated over to new platform?
    • Any unused functionalities that you can retire?
  13. Can you determine the migration priorities?
    • If you have a limited resource capacity, priority must be determined.
    • Which application will provide the most business value when migrated over?
    • Which application will be most simple to migrate over?
    • Which business groups are most open for changes and new technology adoptions?
  14. Any enhancements that must be considered?
    • Are there any pain points raised by the stakeholders that you would like to address right away as part of the migration?

Once you define the strategy, a key to succeed in any migration project is planning, with an understanding that each migration project is different.

Remember:

  • Set a clear migration vision, goals, expectations
  • Not one approach fit all, spend adequate time on planning really goes a long way.
  • Use agile approach as appropriate for executing development work (see a diagram below for one of the potential agile approach you can take when migrating legacy application)

Database Application Migration

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Throughout my career, I’ve been involved in various digital transformation and migration projects as Applications Architect, Developer, Quality Assurance, Technical Team Lead, Business Systems Analyst, Business Analyst, Project Manager and Scrum Master. To name a few:

  • Website platform migration
    • Oracle WebCenter Interaction > Oracle WebCenter Portal
    • Oracle WebCenter Portal > WordPress
  • Enterprise search platform migration
    • Oracle Secure Enterprise Search > ElasticSearch
  • Enterprise Identity Management platform migration
    • Oracle Identity Management > EmpowerID
  • Online collaboration spaces, Intranet & Records Management platform migration
    • Oracle WebCenter Spaces > Igloo Collaboration platform
    • Oracle Universal Content Management > Igloo Collaboration platform
  • Database Application migration
    • PostgreSQL/Java Application to > MariaDB/Custom PHP Application
  • Enterprise E-learning platform migration
    • WebCT/Blackboard > Moodle
  • Enterprise In-house Legacy Applications (analysis only)
    • Custom Visual Basic applications > Java application

Let’s connect on LinkedIn. linkedin logo

 

What “Agile” means to me

I was introduced to the terminology back in 2009. The team I was part of adopted agile practices and followed Scrum process for delivering quality web applications. Process made sense and we delivered great results every month (developed and released new production ready functionalities that addressed our clients’ needs). Since then I had countless conversation around “Agile” with many people in various positions and here is my two cents on what “Agile” means to me in a simplest form.

agile

It’s about finding ways to reduce the distance between the point (A) & (B). Along the way we build great relationship by working closely together towards common goals, and as a result we deliver values to our clients.

Continuous learning and collaboration to find ways to quickly adopt to ever changing environment, and deliver quality results that satisfies our clients’ needs in the shortest time possible.

Make sense? 🙂 What does “Agile” means to you? I would love to hear from you, please leave me your thoughts in comments box below.

If you would like to check out my full presentation on Agile Principles and Scrum, please check out my previous posting on Agile Principles & Scrum Framework (version 5.0).

mural tiger exhibition at Toronto Zoo

Amur tiger exhibit is open at The Toronto Zoo. If you are in Toronto area, go check out these magnificent tigers!

Me, Myself and My Beliefs

Think Why first then How
I clarify and analyze the cause behind the problems before I start thinking about the solutions. I believe that clearly understanding the problem is the first and most important step in finding the right solution.

Analyze before Act
I don’t react to issues. I gather facts, analyze and develop most sensible and appropriate action plan based on analysis, knowledge and experience.

Value Quality than Quantity
I value the quality of work more than the volume of work. I want to feel proud in what I do and put my name on, rather than just getting the work done as much as possible. 

Own Mistakes and Learn
I take responsibilities for my mistakes and learn from it. I don’t just sit back and not bother trying because of fear of making mistakes. Nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. I believe that making mistakes is just part of learning. We will fall in our journey but will get up together much stronger each time.

Think, Plan and Do!
I am a thinker and planner but more importantly I am a doer who is ready to get hands dirty and work together with the team to get the job done. I enjoy walking with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the doers and the problem solvers who are honest, open minded and believe in “We are in it together, let’s work together to make it happen!”. 

Believe in Simplicity
I believe in beauty of simplicity. Breaking down the complexity, making things clear and simple allows us to identify what is necessary and important, and focus our energy on those important things to get the job done.

Build the Trust and Respect
I believe that there is no ‘team’ without trust and respect. I work on building trust and respect by being honest, doing my best and listening to others. I believe that collaboration happens naturally when the team build the trust and respect for each other.

Night at the ROM, Spider Exhibition
Photo taken at the ROM in Toronto (Spider exhibition)

Connect with me on LinkedIn.

SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something with my techie hat on, so I decided to share couple diagrams I’ve created to explain how SAML works for those who may not know what SAML is and are wondering. 🙂 Hope you find it useful.

SAML, Single Sign On

What is SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language)?

  • It’s an XML-based, open-standard data format for exchanging authentication and authorization data between parties, in particular, between an identity provider and a service provider.
  • Wikipedia: SAML

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Enterprise Architecture: Business Event, Use Cases, Use Case Diagram

Business Scenario given
Sarah, Sammi, Doori are students at University of Toronto. They have received permission from the Administration to run a consultancy Tutorial Service for the students of Systems Analysis Design course. They called themselves the “A” Team. They offer a wide range of services including in-class group tutorials, 1-1 coaching as well as Project Assistance work.They help students to manage and complete their project given in class. In compensation for their work, they can ask for a flat fee of $ 2.00 for each half an hour of consultation and a flat fee of $5.00 for attending the group tutorial. The “A” Team accepts cash payment only. A receipt is printed when payment is made. Any student who has a disability can access the services for free. The School Administration coordinator has also assigned a faculty member to assist the “A” Team should they require subject matter expert advice.

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