For our purposes, SALSA is not a specialized form of dance or a delicious side dish. That said, it is true that allusions to these other senses are frequently hard to resist. For our purposes, SALSA is a way for a group of people to see, and I mean really see, the situation they are in and to see a path forward that they all want to explore. It is a way for different people to come together to make some magic and for different ingredients to come together in an impactful, even delicious, way. It seems that the allusions... Read more →

My candidate for word of the year, or perhaps decade, is FAAAY. It echoes the word "fey" which means slightly touched and vaguely otherworldly. It connects, at least in my mind, to fairy "a class of supernatural beings of diminutive size" (OED). It also typifies an all-too-common disposition where people's motivations start, and end, with feeling good about themselves. I will be brief. As will be observed, I have not been applying any effort to my blog of late. And as this will be slightly provocative, I will post and run. Basically, FAAAY is a name that I now apply... Read more →

People have questions. Sometimes they find answers. More often than not they construct answers from what they find. More frequently still they construct provisional answers and muddle along. This has always been the case. But as with so many things, what we have always done is being thrown into a new digital light as we grapple with a landscape filled with new technologies and novel techniques. One thing we can say with confidence is that, relative to the past, we have managed to stir up even more questions and simultaneously we have made it more difficult to find or construct... Read more →

Prologue I have a bad habit of tackling unnecessarily big topics at inopportune times. After a year of near-complete silence, I will make a gesture in that direction once more. As this is a particularly bodacious topic, I suspect that I will be coming back to it several times both with revisions to this post and with follow-on posts. But in just the same way as applies whenever you are confronted with seemingly overwhelming challenges, the best way to start is to start. One of my less welcome aphorisms goes something like this: Think about something long enough and you... Read more →

What better way to emerge from a year of distractions than to tackle an impossible topic. Even if this attempt was only tangentially successful, it would feel like being a phoenix emerging from the ashes. Hence my choice for a signature graphic and hence my choice of a case study with which to illustrate, or at least gesture towards, what the content of systems might be. My choice of case study is a mega software project within the Canadian Federal Government - one appropriately called the Phoenix Pay System. It may sound a little too provincial to be instructive beyond... Read more →