5 Questions To Ask About Mashups

In computing, a mashup integrates/combines data and/or functionality from multiple sources and presents it in a single view. In organizations, mashups are used every day in the form of business (accounting, administration, business development, customer service, engineering, finance, human resources, management, manufacturing, marketing, operations, production, research and development and sales) dashboards and Information Technology (IT) dashboards. These dashboards can ingest simple data and/or even Big Data and then show an overall summarized visualization of what is going on.

In order for mashups to work, there are business processes and data management procedures that need to be followed. By consistently providing relevant data, mashups can reveal great insights and also help in strategizing. At its core, mashups “gather” data from multiple sources where data might have been manually or automatically (e.g., IoT) entered. Since the data is being pulled from various sources, it can create issues in terms of provenance and governance.

Provenance of Mashups

For provenance, since the origin of the data is not always displayed, this can create problems in terms of:

  • The authenticity of the data
  • Copyright of the data
  • Misrepresentation of the data
  • Manipulation before displaying the data
  • Incorrect correlations of the data

Governance of Mashups

For governance, since policy, organization, and structuring of the data matters, this can create problems in terms of:

  • Timeliness of data
  • Unintentional avoidance of new data
  • Skewed conclusions due to duplication of data
  • Deciding if/when data governance should be done by Business or IT or both

In light of the above issues, let’s ask the following questions about mashups in your organization:

Today Tomorrow
1. Who is responsible for defining and managing data’s lifespan in mashups? Who should be responsible for defining and managing data’s lifespan in mashups?
2. What does your mashups data show you? What should your mashup data show you?
3. Where does the data come from in mashups? Where should the data come from in mashups?
4. When data is relevant? When should data become relevant?
5. Why mashups are used? Why mashups should be used?

It should be clear by now that the strength of a mashup is directly related to the weaknesses in the underlying data regardless of how pretty the picture of the mashup might look.

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How Mediocre Hiring Managers Hire Mediocre Employees

Once upon a time, there was a hiring manager who always worked with mediocre employees and had never worked with a great employee.

One day a great employee A from another organization decided to work for the organization of the hiring manager.

The hiring manager took a long, hard look at employee A’s resume and said, “Oh my, what funny mediocre employee you are!”

The hiring manager thought employee A was a mediocre employee because s/he had never worked with a great employee but had always worked with many mediocre employees.

“I am not a mediocre employee at all.” said employee A by explaining s/he goes above and beyond the basic expectations.

“Nonsense!” said the hiring manager. “I’ve worked with more mediocre employee than you have years of experience, and I know a mediocre employee when I see one.”

“If you’re so sure that I’m a mediocre employee,” said employee A, “then why do you say I am a funny mediocre employee?”

“Well, just look at the way you communicate,” said the hiring manager. “It’s all so refined. Mediocre employee don’t have good listening or extrapolating skills. And look at all those experiences and qualifications! Mediocre employee don’t have experience and qualifications like that. And look at the way you dress! It’s too refined and needs to come back to reality. Mediocre employees don’t dress nicely like that.”

And before employee A could reply, the hiring manager hired the great employee.  The hiring manager informed employee A that s/he doesn’t need to showcase/use their experience and skillsets in this position. The hiring manager informed employee A how s/he should communicate in the organization. And the hiring manager made the great employee go for an organizational orientation which emphasized organizational values and dressing sharp was not one of them.

As soon as the hiring manager was finished with the demands, it was lunchtime. So employee A met up with another great employee B from another organization.

“Well, well,” said employee B. “Aren’t you a funny great employee!”

“Well, at least you know I’m a great employee,” said employee A. “Thank goodness for that!”

“What happened to you?” asked employee B.

“Well,” said employee A, “A hiring manager thought I was a mediocre employee. And since mediocre employee don’t go above and beyond the basic expectations, s/he asked me to do the same. And since mediocre employee don’t have good communication skills, I was asked to communicate how the rest of the organization communicates. And since mediocre employee don’t dress sharp, I was asked to conform to the dress code of the organization.”

“The hiring manager must be very foolish, indeed,” said employee B. And with that, employee B told employee A about an organization where hiring managers used rewards and incentives and appreciated (1) how you communicate, (2) how you use your experiences and qualifications to go above and beyond and (3) how you dress.”

“Also remember this”, employee B continued, “there are a lot silly hiring managers in the world who think that mediocre employees are great employees, or that great employees and mediocre employees, or that all sorts of things are like other things without understanding context/nuance and are unable to extrapolate beyond the immediate needs. And when they are silly like that, they do very foolish things. We must be sure to stay away for that hiring manager and other hiring manager like her/him.”

What do you think happened next? Did employee A leave the organization or remain in the organization to be forced to become mediocre.

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Top 5 Team Lessons From The World Cup

The 2018 FIFA World Cup began in Russia on June 14, 2018, and ends on July 15, 2018. It is the largest sporting event in the world that happens every 4 years. This year’s FIFA World Cup brings together the men’s national football (aka soccer) teams from 32 countries. It is projected that almost half of the entire world’s population would be watching one of the national teams lift the FIFA World Cup Trophy and be crowned the best football team in the world.

Here are the top 5 team lessons that organizations can learn from the FIFA World Cup:

  • Strategy – Have a game plan but adapt when ground realities change
  • Politics – Select team members based on expertise and not biases (stardom)
  • Innovation – Be open to different ways of accomplishing the same goal
  • Culture – Create an environment that rewards both individual and collective wins
  • Execution – Have a clear mission, train rigorously and regroup often to assess
Team.png

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How to Map a Process Using Free Tools

Processes (or procedures) are a series of steps taken to accomplish a specific end. They can be standalone, interconnected or be part of something bigger (e.g., governance). They can be Business Processes, Information Technology (IT) processes, Systems Processes and Business Processes within IT. In organizations, there are many processes that happen sequentially and/or in parallel with other processes.

Basically, the idea of representing a process (or procedure) through a map (or diagram) is so that people can visually see what is happening. This visual representation also helps in identifying what can be improved within (and sometimes outside) the organization. Since the purpose of these maps is to convey what is going, you have to be cognizant that these maps should (1) be simple to understand, (2) help your audience connect with what they do daily to the big picture of the organization and (3) serve as a guide to what is (currently) happening and what would happen (tomorrow).

There are many ways and tools to depict a process but I have found that for most audiences the basic form of Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) works best to just get the conversation started. In regards to a free tool to draw a process, draw.io can be used which saves your process maps in your google drive or any other location that you specify.

The following is just a simplified example to illustrate how a customer may interact with Amazon.com and how this customer interaction is handled. As you would see that visually representing this process can open up a door to start a discussion for improvements. If this whole process was written and not visually represented then it would require a lot of wording and the danger that the audience might get bored or would lose interest.

Amazon Customer Process
Amazon Customer Process

Note that the process map:

  1. Has numbered rectangular activity boxes so that your audience can easily follow
  2. Numbered rectangular activity boxed need does not need to be in sequence
  3. Is a hybrid which shows the interaction between a human (customer) and Amazon.com (online system)
  4. Uses BPMN basics to convey a story

To start the process of creating a process map, it would be prudent to ask these questions. Keep in mind that the purpose of mapping a process is not to show how talented you are in creating complex process maps but rather as a starting point and even a collaboration point where you can actually provide these maps to the audience to “fix”. Lastly, have a repository to save these process maps so that they can be used a reference of (1) what is happening, (2) what should not happen and (3) what could happen.

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The Very Eager Executive

In the meeting an executive expresses his realization that the organization needs to change.
 
During month one, the executive starts a listening tour across the organization to understand what is going on.
 
This listening tour entails asking what is working, what is not working and what can be improved.
 

 

Listening
Listening
 
During month two, the executive tries to determine how strategy is interpreted and implemented across the various functional areas of the organization.
 
The functional areas include Accounting, Administration, Business Development, Customer Service, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Management, Manufacturing, Marketing, Operations, Production, Research and Development Sales and others.
 
But the executive wants to find out more.
 

 

Strategy
Strategy
 
During month three, the executive tries to determine how political influences result in decisions that can be useful or harmful to the entire organization.
 
The executive does this by finding out which people are the power players in the organization based on revenue generation, number of direct reports and expertise.
 
But the executive wants to find out more.
 

 

Politics
Politics
 
During month four, the executive tries to determine how innovation happens in the organization.
 
The executive does this by understanding the relationship between organizational innovation and individual innovation.
 
But the executive wants to find out more.
 

 

Innovation
Innovation
 
During month five, the executive tries to determine the role of culture and cultural influences across the organization.
 
The executive does this by understanding that culture is not only about people but it is also about processes and procedures that are put in place across the organization.
 
But the executive wants to find out more.
 

 

Culture
Culture
 
During month six, the executive tries to connect all the dots in terms of execution.
 
The executive does this by assessing the linkage between leadership communications, policy and implementation across human resources, operations and Information Technology with the ultimate goal of understanding what good or bad experiences the internal and external customers have.
 

 

Execution
Execution
 
Now the executive has a lot information. Since this information was not created/gathered in isolation, great working relationships have been developed and change agents have been activated that can make the organization a better place for everyone.
 

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