Intro - Randy Bear

IT Architecture (
Thu, 27 Oct 1994 14:45:34 +0059 (EDT)

I have no idea who has the talking stick at this point. I will assume
that I do and proceed.

I am an systems architect/consultant/systems analyst for a large
insurance company, USAA. L-O concepts are beginning to be discussed
around the company due to the proliferation of "The 5th Discipline".
It's almost like Air Jordans, once one kid gets a pair, everybody has to
have a pair. However, I'm not griping about the fad.

I have just moved into our Development Support group as a part of a new
concept being prototyped within Information Services. Traditionally this
group's function was to provide support for application development teams
in areas such as tools, methodologies, and project management
techniques. When teams were all developing mainframe applications, life
was wonderful with a small set of tools needed to build applications.
With the addition of client/server systems, the diversity of tools and
methods has geometrically increased. Now the group is strained in trying
to provide support for the variety of tools and combinations of solutions
that are possible. To complicate matters further, when a tool is
selected and accepted, it is difficult for the group to provide support
for tools and techniques we had no hand in selecting due to training and
experience. As a result we are starting to see areas selecting similar
tools to solve business problems, not realizing that someone may have
already crossed that particular bridge.

Now to my place in the story. In an effort to regain the support role
for IS, my group is adopting a consultant/partnering role with the
various development areas. We are spending more time with the
development teams, working with them to provide solutions and learning
with thems when products and services are acquired. This serves a
two-fold purpose. We help the teams find solutions that may already
exist in the company and when the solutions are acquired, we gain the
knowledge of the products to bring back for the rest of the company, so
the theory goes.

The discussions on L-O concepts are proving to be very helpful as we
continue to discover how teams and groups function with regards to this
new role of partner/facilitator. I will probably sit on the sidelines
for much of the discussion and join in when my own experiences my benefit
the dialogue. So far the information and interaction have been great as
we have used some of the mail messages to prompt dialogue between many of
my colleagues about several of the topics.

I now lay the stick back on the table.