Tag Archives: work smart

Dis-economies of centralization

While in a previous post I was arguing that we should handle industry models with care, because of very inconvenient side effects. This week I’ll blog in a similar way on centralization. Among the effects of centralization are often overlooked or neglected dis-economies of scale.

Dis-economies of scale

One of the main reasons for centralization is to gain economies of scale. Less known are the dis-economies of scale. I’ll give some examples in the paragraphs below.

The cost of communication between the central group and the rest of the organization. Although there are lots of tools that make communication easier. Distance in the physical sense or within an organization can create boundaries. These have to be dealt with and there are costs incurred for that. Besides that it has to be clear who to communicate for what matters. This, in my experience, is not always the case. With a greater (organizational) distance more effort has to be put into this.

There is a large possibility that top heavy management in a centralized department becomes isolated from the effects of their decisions. In other words the feedback loop is broken. Because the communication loop is broken, decision become more and more dysfunctional. This due to the lack of real world knowledge that should be incorporated in these decisions.

Centralization can lead to reduced agility. On one hand standardization is a great asset. The larger part of architecture, whether it is enterprise architecture, process architecture or infrastructure architecture, is about standards and reducing the “solution space”. This has several advantages, among which the reduction of software- and systems entropy. The downside of a centralized body that maintains standards is that it probably will lead to inertia and unwillingness to change.

I’m a big fan of (open) standards. They simplify life! However we should not neglect that standardization comes at a cost. There are the costs for implementing, adapting to and maintaining standards in our organization. Say for example that we use a canonical (data) model. There is are maintenance costs (at least some effort) while adopting to change outside and within our organization. These costs of standardization tend to be hidden.

What to do?

Bring the effects described before into the business case for centralization. You did make sure that there was some sort of trade off when you decided to centralize a certain part of your organization didn’t you?

Take measures to prevent these risks. It goes without saying that these measures will take effort, time and possibly money. Now you know you’re going to take measures don’t you?

Lean Integration Presentation

Just uploaded the presentation I gave at the Seminar “Lean & Agile IT: beter resultaat, betrokkenheid en IT volwassenheid” (Dutch) on Lean Integration. Besides the aspect of getting a lean process to create integrations we also focused on how integration is lean in the sense that it can create value.

It is about how you use technology

You might have read here or on other blogs that SOA isn’t a purpose. It is a means to an end. The same goes for all the technologies that we use when implementing a SOA, or an architecture, or an application in general. So I wanted to share the next video with you since I think that it – in an even broader perspective – shows this point. Technology itself is not good or bad. It all boils down to how we as people use it.


Source: RSA.org 21th century alignment.

Stop websites from tracking you

An earlier post on how cookies are used to track you, explained how tracking cookies work. This post will show you how to stop websites from tracking you using Firefox 4. This latest release has a Do-not-track feature that lets you tell websites you don’t want your browsing behavior tracked.

By turning on the Do-not-track feature, Firefox tells websites you visit that you don’t want your browsing behavior tracked. Please note that honoring this setting is voluntary. To put it differently websites are not required to respect it.

Turning on the Do-not-track feature in Firefox 4

  • Click the Firefox button at the top of your browser window and click options.
  • Make sure you’re on the Advanced panel.
  • Select the General tab.
  • In the browsing section check the Tell websites I do not want to be tracked.
  • Click OK to leave
Do-not-track feature

Check the Tell websites I do not want to be tracked option

Revoke Access to Twitter Account

There is a growing number of Twitter Apps that trick you into giving them access to your account and so enabling them to send spam on your behalf. Should you (like me at least once) fall for this trap, here is an easy way to prevent further damage. Use the following url: http://twitter.com/settings/connections or click the links that are highlighted in the screen shot on the right to manage your Twitter connections.

After that you just click Revoke Access below the Application that is using your account to spam others. An example is depicted in the screen shot below (for a non spamming App):

Whitehorses SOA Specialized Partner

Whitehorses a Gold level partner of OPN, has achieved the Specialized status for Oracle Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). Achieving this Whitehorses has been recognized by Oracle for its expertise in delivering services specifically around Oracle SOA Suite 11g through business results and proven success.

Frank Dorst, CTO of Whitehorses:

“We strongly believe in the power of IT. Information technology makes real change possible and that does not always have to mean huge investments. We distinguish ourselves by clearly defined improvement projects, with involvement of both IT and business in which collaboration with customers is essential. Achieving Specialization is our confirmation that we are doing well. It continues our long relationship with Oracle and gives our customers the confidence to work with a qualified party. ”

Bas Diepen, senior manager of Alliances and Channels at Oracle:

Whitehorses know how to keep changes small and simple, no matter how big projects are. We are pleased that the investment they have made in gaining knowledge and Oracle skills, is now reflected in achieving this Specialized status.”

Looking back on 100 blog posts

Not only is it the time of year to look back (and think about what the future might bring), I also noticed that deltalounge came to 100 blog posts. Further back in history and perspective my first post ever was on the IT-eye weblog together with people like Mike van Alst, Andrej Koelewijn, and Tom Hofte. Later on I moved to the Whitehorses blog where I joined guys like Edwin Biemond and where I’m still a regular blogger.

Some highlights

There were serial posts on ESB performance tuning, Oracle (Advanced) Queueing and on AIA 11g. There was probably the most extensive coverage of the SOA Symposium by a non-professional blog. However the most eye balls were for the (technical) posts:

and these non-technical posts:

Program SOA Symposium 2010 available

The agenda for the SOA Symposium 2010 has been posted. Again there are very interesting sessions during this 2 day conference. The largest and most comprehensive in the field of SOA and Cloud Computing. The Real World SOA Case Studies track offers a great opportunity to learn from the experience of others. In this track you will find:

Real-life accounts of successful and failed SOA projects discussed first-hand by those that experienced the project lifecycles and have a story to tell. These veteran practitioners will provide advice and insights regarding challenges, pitfalls, proven practices, and general project information that demonstrates the intricacies of implementing and governing service-oriented solutions in the real world.

I will be presenting the first session in this track on Using a Service Bus to Connect the Supply Chain. If you have any topics or questions in advance that you think I should address, please post them in the comments. Hope to meet you in Berlin.

Motivating without money

Some of the RSA talks are distilled by the folks at CognitiveMedia into abridged animated versions – RSAnimate. Here is one om motivation and drive:

There are loads of examples in litterature but also in more popular books like Freakonomics that:

People respond to incentives

In the animation you’ll see the kind of incentives that work well for tasks that go beyond mechanical skills and that require rudimentary cognitive skills (like conceptual and creative thinking). These incentives include the following aspects :

  • Autonomy – Which demands engagement instead of management and control.
  • Mastery – It is great fun to learn things and sometimes even be (really) good at something!
  • Purpose – Humans are purpose maximizers even more than money maximizers.

Please note that money isn’t one of them. So motivating without money should be possible. In short for organizations and managers it boils down to:

Treat people as people!

Let me know what you think on this subject in the comments….