Monday, February 1, 2021

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing provides a simple way to access servers, storage, databases and a broad set of application services over the internet. Services are offered via a subscription instead of via a purchase or lease. Here's why you would be wise to consider a cloud computing model when you need to replace or upgrade your technology.
The technology is offered as a subscribed service. The subscription cost is often offered on a monthly basis and covers all use, hosting, maintenance and support, as well as technology upgrades. Therefore, you do not have a large upfront (or recurring) capital expense. Because the technology is typically installed and running at the technology provider's data center, you will not have to maintain a large data center facility and staff. Instead, you have a recurring operating expense which can often be more cost effective than a purchase/lease and support model.

Your primarily access cloud technology services via the internet. The connectivity access methods and security are provided with your subscription. Your access to those services can be from virtually anywhere you have an internet connection. Therefore, you can securely access your technology from your office, a client site, hotel or even when you are at home. Your user experience is the same from all locations.

As your needs change, your use of technology will change. In a service offering model, you contract for what you need when you need it. When you add staff, you add software licenses at that time. When you take on that big project, you subscribe for short-term use software licenses, servers and infrastructure for use through the project life-cycle. Then, eliminate that short-term cost from your subscription at the completion of the project.

One of the best ways to accelerate innovation is to invite a new technology into your organization. For some, this could be a new way for teams to work. Teams that reside in several locations can easily communicate and collaborate as if they are in the same office. For others, cloud computing will allow your organization to prototype new technologies. Without a big cost commitment, you can effectively find the best technology to give your organization a competitive advantage

With a cloud computing implementation, you will see that you will always contract for the optimal amount of needed technology and support. You will no longer have under utilized servers and an excess of purchased licensing. Your IT assets are utilized at a level that will yield the greatest effect for your organization, while your IT staff are able to focus on key business initiatives.

Because of the benefits stated above, cloud computing has the ability for organizations to innovate new products, services and business models that decrease time to market, create operational efficiencies and engage customers in new ways. The cloud can impact your entire enterprise: strategy, finance, operations, governance, culture and technology.

Cloud-based services are ideal for businesses with growing or fluctuating demands. If your needs increase, it’s easy to scale up your capacity. As you need to scale down again, the flexibility is included in your subscription. This level of flexibility, along with the efficiencies and potential cost savings, can give your business a real advantage over your competitors.

I encourage you to leave a comment by clicking on "...comments" below...
David Schuchman

Friday, January 1, 2021

Debrief at the End of Each Project

Making mistakes during a project, although sometimes painful, can be valuable as long as we learn from them. The same can be said for the project successes. More than a casual conversation about what did and didn’t work, a debriefing digs into why things happened, and can help accelerate progress on future projects.
Not all failures are bad. Some of them are actually good because of the valuable learning opportunities they present. Dividing your project's failures into categories will help you distinguish the good, useful failures from the bad, useless ones. In turn, you can be prepared to deal with them and learn from them:
  • Preventable failures. These are caused by inadequate training, inattention to task details, or lack of skills and ability. They’re typically easy to diagnose and fix. Using a robust checklist at the very beginning of a project is a good tool to identify potential points of failure.
  • Unavoidable failures. Every project has built-in uncertainty of tasks and work effort. Projects that are very complex, have tight timelines or involve high risk will have an increased opportunity for unavoidable failures. Good project due diligence at the start of a project will mitigate most failures. Have a plan to triage such events, and even add some time into your project plan to deal with these should they arise. However, accept that some failure is possible and may not be avoided.

What is a Debriefing?
Start by talking with your team about why a debriefing is important. Maybe you want to improve for the next time, or you want to analyze a unique situation that arose. Perhaps you hope to capitalize on your strengths or learn from mistakes. Others may want to continuously learn and improve.

What to Ask When You Debrief
  • What were we trying to accomplish? Every debriefing should start by restating the objectives you were trying to hit. The project team should have agreed on clear objectives prior to taking action in the first place. If the objectives were not clear, the rest of the debriefing will be of little value because you won’t know how to judge your success.
  • Where did we hit and miss our objectives? With clear objectives, you can clearly identify if you did or didn’t hit them. Review your results, and ensure the group is aligned.
  • What caused our results? This is the "root-cause analysis" step for your successes and failures. It should go deeper than obvious, first-level answers to missed objectives. Don’t be satisfied with answers like, "We needed more time". Keep digging and ask why you needed more time. For example, it may be the time was adequate if the project team had a different skill set.
  • What should we start, stop, or continue doing? Given you uncover the root causes, determine what you should do next now that you know what you know.
Make sure you capture lessons learned in a usable format for later use. At a minimum, take notes and distribute them to the project team members. In addition, make the information readily available to other project teams or even to a broader organizational audience. In the end, you may find the most successful process changes are the easiest to implement.

I encourage you to leave a comment by clicking on "...comments" below...
David Schuchman