If Carpenters Were Hired Like Programmers

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Programmers often experience a high degree of frustration during the interview process. The thing I’ve always found funny about job interviews is that they’re always “looking for candidates who can hit the ground running,” so they’ll reject anyone missing one out of the ten required buzzwords.

I recently stumbled on two articles with an identical theme; “If Carpenters Were Hired Like Programmers” and “What If Cars Were Rented Like We Hire Programmers”.  The tl;dr of these posts is essentially that programmers being interviewed are asked incredibly esoteric questions or are grilled about experience with irrelevant topics (wood color for carpenters, car wiring for car renters).  The comments sections on Reddit (link below)  and Hacker News(links below) are a mix of agreement, criticism, and various anecdotes about interviews that reflected the articles’ theme.  No analogy is perfect.

Programming is a business, technical and specialist skill, it’s perfectly normal to expect senior roles to have previous specialist experience in a particular framework or tool. And it’s important for us as a tech community to recognize that, and understand how that will affect our projects and our businesses.

It’s generally true that a good developer’s main skill is problem-solving, and a good developer will generally be able to pick up a new framework or language fairly easily. But a good developer in framework X will probably not be able to join a project and hit the ground running in framework Y. They will usually need support, co-workers who are more knowledgeable in that framework, and time. How much time? Six months to a year isn’t an unreasonably short time, even for an otherwise expert developer.

There are naturally exceptions. If a company is recruiting for a junior role, specialist knowledge probably matters a lot less. If a company is recruiting for a long-term permanent position, they can often afford the time for a great developer to learn a new specialty. So for some roles, it’s unimportant, but it’s not an unreasonable point to discuss. And technical development is neither carpentry, nor hiring a car, nor any of the other many flawed analogies.

Related links:

 

Internet Debate: Box, Dropbox not a real ECM

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I was very upset to read following tweet from @Contentverse:

The tweet is basically related to this article, again published on Contentverse Blog, which claims that the Box and Dropbox are not document management system. Go ahead and click here and read the article first before proceeding further.

The views expressed in this article are very much anti cloud. Chris Walker (@chris_p_walker) wrote an excellent reply to this post. Click here to read his reply, it’s an interesting read.

ECM being shredded by cloud storage by ThinkstockECM being shredded by cloud storage Credit: Thinkstock [4]

As per a recent article on CIO.com, companies are opting for smaller, more specialized and customized solutions as opposed to bigger, more well-known brands. This is partially the result of digital disruption; business is moving faster than ever and competitors are cropping up where companies least expected them. You need to be able to move quickly and move according to the specs your organization needs, not the specs that an enterprise giant assigns to most of its customers. ECM isn’t dying at all. It’s living a renewed life of specialization and customization.

Is the future of ECM software in the cloud?

SearchContentManagement did a two part series on future of ECM in Cloud, you ca read it here (part 1 and part 2). As per this article it’s clear that despite many challenges, growing adoption suggests that ECM in the cloud has a future, many vendors have already started to offer hybrid model.

 

Mercedes Congratulates BMW on 100 Years

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Not too sure how many of you know this but automobile giants BMW turned 100 last week. I came across this newspaper cut out just last night while browsing the net. This is an advertisement from Mercedes congratulating BMW for their feat.

Mercedes is a 130 year old company, and been in the industry 30 years longer than BMW.

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The translation from German reads:

“Thank you for 100 years of competition.
The earlier 30 years have been relatively dull.”

I couldn’t agree more. There’s certainly no love lost between the German rivals, but at least they know how to have some fun.

Business isn’t about eliminating your rivals, its about appreciating the work done by your competitors and maintaining healthy competition while striving for excellence.

Brilliant business ethics shown by Mercedes here.

Great job Mercedes and congratulations BMW.

Mercedes Congratulates BMW on 100 Years via Interesting Engineering

 

Dropbox’s Exodus from the Cloud

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Moving to cloud has been the talk of the boardrooms for a long time. Many startups have launched their products using different cloud providers and few have been moving on an off cloud. One example I particularly remember is when when San Francisco based social gaming company Zynga reached its own hyper growth phase, the company moved off of the cloud and into its own data centers. But then its business imploded, and it was left with infrastructure it didn’t really need. It’s now back on Amazon. (Read full story here)

While the companies are busy planning their migrations to cloud, but at the same time we should plan for the moving between the clouds, to avoid vendor lock.

Data migration is a particular problem because a cloud storage service is often seen as the ultimate data archive and the capacities an organization will try to transfer can be very large — petabytes instead of terabytes. Migrating large data sets is always a challenge, but public clouds have the additional issues of limited bandwidth and potential download fees.

Wired magazine recently published the story on Dropbox’s Exodus From the Amazon Cloud, following is an extract:

“Just getting the bits out of Amazon and into other data centers was an epic task. Digitally moving petabytes of data from one machine to another isn’t exactly on the same scale as downloading a few songs for your laptop. Even the fattest Internet pipes only have so much bandwidth.”

Read full story here: The Epic Story of Dropbox’s Exodus From the Amazon Cloud Empire via WIRED

Moving those bytes around is a huge task. Even small and middle size companies will have to face this challenge in due time.

Are you prepared?

 

ECM in 2020: Entering the sixth era

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Information – an asset you can no longer afford to ignore.

“[By 2020], ECM as we know it will be gone, but content will be more important than ever,” — John Mancini (@jmancini77)

We have spent years focusing on the ‘T’ part of the IT equation. Now we are moving into an era in which we really need skills to help manage the ‘I’ part – the information that actually flows through those pipes that we have created.

The year 2020 should be on the calendars of business leaders. Why? Because everything will have changed by then.

AIIM published this report, Content Management 2020: Thinking Beyond ECM, stating that we are entering a sixth era of content management:

  • Pre-1960s: Paper content
  • 1960s-1970s: Micrographic content
  • 1980s: Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  • 1990s: Document management (DM) and workflow
  • 2000s: Enterprise content management (ECM)
  • 2020 onwards: ???

Whatever the new era brings, the common business drivers we see today – managing people, processes and information – will remain the same. Preparation should be made by taking a business-wide approach to managing data.

The John Mancini’s advice is clear: “New best practices are desperately needed.” Or, for businesses tempted to ignore the warning signs in the face of a quickly changing corporate environment: “When riding a dead horse, dismount!”

Ten commandments for ECM

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writing-on-a-stoneClaudio Salvador wrote this interesting article about ECM 10 Commandments, please go ahead and read it and don’t miss the comments.

In this article he asked:

If you could make a list of the 10 commandments for ECM should be, which ones would make into your list?

Therefore as a response to his article, here are my attempt to write 10 commandments for ECM, feel free to disagree:

  1. Enterprise Content Management is a verb, not a noun.
  2. ECM is a strategy, not a product.
  3. ECM is evolving, it will live as long as there is information to be managed; probably it will be known with a different name.
  4. Managing information is at the heart of doing business. Therefore treat information as an asset.
  5. Information drives decisions, and whether these decisions are good or bad often depends upon the quality of the information at hand.
  6. Automating a mess will create an automated mess. It’s pointless take a bad process and automate it.
  7. Process without content serves no purpose; content without process goes nowhere. Process needs to be considered when changing the way content is managed and vice versa. (BobLarrivee @BobLarrivee)
  8. You cannot migrate information without migrating the people and their processes, too.(Kevin J. Parker @JKevinParker)
  9. cloud and mobile have altered everything, not least information management.
  10. [By 2020], ECM as we know it will be gone, but content will be more important than ever,” John Mancini @jmancini77)

Please note that these are not my personal views, I have read about those things from different source and wherever possible I have mentioned the source.

The NextGen Information Professional

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“Skills have become the currency of 21st Century economies.” — Andreas Schleicher, OECD Education Vice President

I remember reading this blog by David Ferriero on how to prepare the next generation of information professionals. In this blog posting, David summarizes a keynote presentation, he gave at Association of Library and Information School Education (ALISE) meeting. He also included a link to the full text of his talk.

In this talk he mentioned the skills following skills for next generation information professionals: the ability to deliver results, to communicate with impact, to influence others, project management.

Here’s my favorite part from his speech:

The ability to demonstrate business savvy. Applying business principles, methods, and processes (e.g., ROI, cost-benefit analysis) to solve problems. Driving business results by planning and prioritizing activities consistent with organizational goals, using data and evaluating the costs, benefits, and impact on others when making business decisions.

The above mentioned blog is three years old, which begs the question what skills are required to be an information professional in 2016?

Following slide share from AIIM outlines what you need to know and the skills you need to learn to become a NextGen InfoPro and remain relevant in information management:

What will it take to be a NextGen InfoPro? | Iron Mountain