Friday, January 23, 2009

SES becomes eTechSuccess

When I restarted Software Engineering Strategies last year I had planned to incorporate as an LLC at the beginning of 2009. I submitted all my paperwork and then was told by the North Carolina Secretary of State that the word “engineering” is reserved for those companies licensed by the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors. They in turn required the company to have 2/3 ownership by certified professional engineers.  My options were to request a letter of non-objection to using the E word, to become certified and then licensed, or to change the identity of my company. I chose the latter. So what to name my new and improved company?… I had not been 100% satisfied with the SES name because I was doing a lot more then offering strategies on software engineering. So I went back to my web site and read the opening sentence “My passion has been the application of emerging technologies to successfully solve real world business problems.”  The first rename was to call it Emerging Technology Services but while the LLC was not in use in NC the domain names were hard to come by. Finding a good domain name these days is a struggle. So the next variation was Emerging Technology Success because I thought a key experience I had was the successful application of an emerging technology. The statistics I quoted on my website are “Over a period of nine years while I was the practice executive we had approximately 2000 engagements with customers. These could range from small two day workshops up to multi-year development projects. Of these 2000 engagements approximately 100 were considered "Troubled". This meant that the project had slipped and the contract profitability was at risk and/or customer satisfaction was bad. Of these 100 Troubled projects all were eventually resolved. We never had a contract canceled due to our failure to perform. “ So a key idea was taking an inherently risky technology and being able to successfully deliver an application that provided business value. So Emerging Technology Success it was. But the words just did not trip off the tongue and I imagined people trying to type   so I contracted it to eTechSuccess and it sounds pretty cool. I also added the little wave logo to the business card and website to symbolize waves of technology. It reminded me of the times when I was a young boy on vacation in Florida. We stayed on the Atlantic side and I really liked playing in the surf. But when the surf was high it felt like the waves would keep crashing on me and I would barely recover from one when the next would try to topple me over. Eventually I learned a strategy for coping with the surf just like over many years of working with emerging technologies I have learned how to successfully ride a new wave of technology.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Failure to Launch

When I attended the Cloud Camp last November I had run a session called "Failure to Launch" which was members of the audience talking about their early experiences with Cloud Computing. I was looking for some lessons learned and possibly some unique risk factors associated with Cloud Computing. What I heard was that projects in the cloud are influenced by factors common to most other emerging technology projects. The best example was given by Uri Budnik of RightScale. He had to keep the customer anonymous but did share the following:

Name of Project - Planned Major News Event for major news media 

Project Dates - Project began three weeks before hard news deadline

What happend? - The system was unacceptably slow in early versions and could not be improved. Some of the content would not load. The customer introduced a last minute architectural change the morning of the event that required rollback in order to launch. 

Lessons Learned - Need more through testing.

I heard some similar profiles from other participants about classic software engineering problems...  scope creep, lack of testing, lack of communication with stakeholders, unrealistic schedule expectations.