Thursday 6 October 2011

Master of the CONOPs

By now, news on the death of Steve Jobs has flooded the wires.

Steve was, without doubt, the Visionary. I'm not talking about the beautifully crafted products that have people queuing outside of Apple Stores from the early hours of the morning, but something more profound.

Steve was a master of the CONOPs - the Concept of Operations, and for offering "whole products".

For a product to be truly exceptional it has to fulfill the customers compelling reason to buy; this was called the "whole product" by Geoffrey Moore in his book Crossing the Chasm.

The iPod was not the first MP3 player to hit the market, Diamond Rio was considered the standard for a time - but there lies the difference, there were no associated CONOPs and users had to figure things out for themselves. It was the launch of iTunes and the App Store that opened up the possibilities by creating a Concept of Operations that completed the loop.

One great company that could benefit greatly from this concept would be Adobe.

Photoshop is considered to be a whole product, maintaining a clear leadership position with a wide variety of third party plugins that further extend the core capability. What is missing, however, is the CONOPs. Just a little more thought is required to get from camera to published magazine. Possibilities are endless here - why are they allowing Getty Images or Corbis to take all the profit while they do all the work ?

Monday 3 October 2011

Have faith in your process

It is vitally important to maintain robust Business Modeling and Requirements Engineering processes in your organization.

Why ? well Donald Rumsfeld said it best -
"There are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know."

With a trustworthy and proven process, you can be confident that you will uncover the known unknowns, and possibly bring to light some unknown unknowns into the discourse...

Sunday 18 September 2011

Vision, or lack thereof

Over recent weeks there has been a great deal of chatter about the future of Apple - now that their great visionary leader has called it a day, for his health reasons. It shall be interesting to see how Apple continues to innovate and delight users several years from now once Job's ideas-in-the-pipeline are all used up and they have to create their own.

In contrast, we have Hewlett-Packard announcing all sorts of departures - from the PC business, the Tablet business, and possibly the Hardware business, wanting to solely focus on financial software services. Good luck entering that uncrowded sector...

Back in my days as an engineering student, HP was to be seen everywhere - scientific calculators (together with Texas Instruments) and all their lab gear like oscilloscopes (as was Tektronix). HP was seen as an innovator, or should I say Bill and Dave were, not HP the company. Today, what does HP actually stand for ?

A lot has been said about Carly Fiona's poor decision for the purchase of Compaq - it was a reactionary buy rather than a visionary's. And when did a great instrument company become a computer company anyway ?

The tech industry loves heroes, and pretty much ignore faceless corporations. Rational's stuff was great to use while there were the "Three Amigos". These products are now buried deep within Big Blue's catalog. The trio have long gone as has market share in modeling tools.

What is your vision, HP ? What is your identity ? Leave out all that "Maximizing shareholder value" because you are being sued by your shareholders. Companies need to innovate now more than ever, and communicate those visions of the ideal future. Apple does this well - products are well designed, manufactured, and packaged - and a pleasure to use. HP needs to dream big and create a new category or it will not survive.

Two companies, on opposite sides of the spectrum, both requiring a Vision. One to maintain their leadership position, the other from irrelevance.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Recommended reading for your Requirements Practice

A number of books that I use and recommend each project team to have available:
There are also other books mentioned in older posts below.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Upcoming Event: Talk on Managing Innovation

Infowave shall be delivering a 3 hr talk on Managing Innovation at Chandrakasem Rajabhat University, on Saturday 30th April 2011. This talk shall include examples of innovation from the military domain.

Thursday 24 March 2011

Upcoming Event: Lecture Series on Software Architecture

Infowave presents a series on Software Architecture at Sripatum University, on Saturday 26th March and Saturday 2nd April 2011.