Author Archives: cw_l

Three simple steps to troubleshooting.

Whether it’s fixing that elusive bug or resolving a customer’s complaint, at some part of our career, we would have lost some hairs in troubleshooting an issue.

Sometimes we had it easy and the solution just appear. Sometimes we knocked on many doors and still there were no solutions, just workarounds.

Over time, when we face a new issue, we struggle to recap how we manage to solve the previous issue. 

In short, is our troubleshooting methodology repeatable?

I think so. And here’re the steps that I find myself to use over time.

  1. Develop a hypothesis
  2. Work towards proving or disproving the hypothesis 
  3. Repeat until solved

The bulk of the work is at Step 2 and that is issue specific, and warrants a separate thorough discussion at another time.


Three Cybersecurity Lessons to Learn from the Fractured Fairy Tale – Snow White

I chanced upon this Youtube video: Fractured Fairy Tale – Snow White. As the title implies, it’s not your typical Snow White story.

While I wouldn’t say the video is exactly child friendly, I would recommend to use it for Cybersecurity Awareness Programme.

In fact, I drew three import Cybersecurity lessons from the it. 

  1. Cybersecurity attacks are seldom done in isolation. Attackers employ a combination of attacks to succeed. This is akin to the 7 dwarves using a combination of Social Engineering and Trojan horse attacks on the wicked queen.
  2. Social engineering attacks come in all shapes & sizes. They play to human’s weakness. The dwarves made use of the wicked queen’s vainess to con her into parting away with her riches.
  3. Trojan horse is an old but effective form of attack. The coin operated mirror was something that the wicked queen trusted for dishing out advice. Often, we were tricked into installing a software or opening an attachment from a ‘trusted’ source.

Let me know if there were more lessons you could learn from the video.


Cross selling, under-promise & over-deliver where you least expect it.

You’ve probably encountered the MacDonald’s crew who tried to up sell and cross sell to you, but have you ever encountered it at your local coffee-shop?

Well, we did recently. Here’s what happened.

We wanted to order kaya toast from the kopi-kia and he responded that it’s gonna be a long wait for toast and asked if we wanted to get some kuehs instead. if you’d never eaten kaya toast before, here’s how it looks like:

And this is how kueh looks like.

We were told that the wait could be 10 minutes or more. We decided to go for it. Shortly after, he came back with our kaya toasts and commented that it didn’t take 10 minutes after all.

While eating, it started to sink in that the kopi-kia had just attempted a cross selling on us, and when it failed, he under-promise with the wait time and over-deliver by getting back to us in about 50% lesser time!

Good customer service for $1.20 spent on kaya toast, I would say.


Try an apparel at home without wearing it

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I’m not quite sure how the customer is suppose to do this, but apparently, a retailer think this is possible.

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t think of a way how this could be done. I mean there’s a reason for fitting rooms.


Far from being passé, Current State has its Importance

I believe this topic had been debated countless times. Let me share my experience from two projects that I was involved.

In the first project, we did a stock take of the existing business architecture, and managed to identify the gaps to move forward. The main motivation was customer driven. The customer wanted to be sure that the target state was not dreamt up. There has to be evidence about what is lacking from the current state. And the identified gaps are of business relevance and importance.

In the second project, we mapped out the target state after a series of visioning exercise. During the clarification/validation state, stakeholders were pointing out missing elements from the current state that would still be relevant and needed in future. At that juncture I was thinking of what went through the minds of the stakeholders. Would they feel that the architectural team does not have a good grasp of the business?

From these limited experience, I learnt that the architects shouldn’t dictate if current state should be skipped. Instead, if the intent was to go straight to target state, should an approach shall be communicated with the customer to seek their agreement prior to execution.

Time may be saved up front by not going into the current state, but customer confidence could be shaken when important and relevant contents go missing in the target state. And eventually, these have to be added back. So the time saving may not be substantial.

Nevertheless, I’m not suggesting to develop an extensive current state. What is required, are the relevant and important current state segments. This can be done by talking to the customers.

A key challenge is how to ensure and be able to prove that the identified target state is not fashion fad.


Architectural lessons to draw from building In Tempo

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Move over Winchester House, In Tempo is well positioned to take over your spot as the favorite story used in Enterprise Architecture. In Tempo’s construction began in 2007 and was initially designed for 20 floors. Today, it is about 94% complete, and has additional 27 floors built on top. Level 21 onwards are, however, only accessible via the stairs. There was no way to extend the elevators upwards. It was said that the architects had since resigned.

There are certainly a lot to learn from In Tempo. For a start, think scalability. As architects, our design must be scalable. It is extremely expensive to include scalability as an afterthought. In the case of In Tempo, the residents from level 21 onwards would be inconvenienced daily. And it would be very difficult to get buyers for those floors. Imagine the horrors of building a software solution that cannot be scaled horizontally nor vertically.

Even if the architects didn’t factor in scalability, there was still an opportunity when the additional 27 floors were being planned. Change management obviously failed. The impact analysis, if any, were not sufficient. Such a change shouldn’t have been approved. Or if it must proceed, the design need to extend to include elevator services for the additional floors.

Would the completed In Tempo pass the fit-for-purpose and fit-for-use tests? Maybe only partially, for those units level 20 and below.

In Tempo is a good modern day example that illustrates the importance of having the architecture (blueprint) well designed.

Sources: The Guardian, Wikipedia
Image Credit: devacacionesypuentes.com


Architectural lessons to draw from building In Tempo

20130813-004550.jpg
Move over Winchester House, In Tempo is well positioned to take over your spot as the favorite story used in Enterprise Architecture. In Tempo’s construction began in 2007 and was initially designed for 20 floors. Today, it is about 94% complete, and has additional 27 floors built on top. Level 21 onwards are, however, only accessible via the stairs. There was no way to extend the elevators upwards. It was said that the architects had since resigned.

There are certainly a lot to learn from In Tempo. For a start, think scalability. As architects, our design must be scalable. It is extremely expensive to include scalability as an afterthought. In the case of In Tempo, the residents from level 21 onwards would be inconvenienced daily. And it would be very difficult to get buyers for those floors. Imagine the horrors of building a software solution that cannot be scaled horizontally nor vertically.

Even if the architects didn’t factor in scalability, there was still an opportunity when the additional 27 floors were being planned. Change management obviously failed. The impact analysis, if any, were not sufficient. Such a change shouldn’t have been approved. Or if it must proceed, the design need to extend to include elevator services for the additional floors.

Would the completed In Tempo pass the fit-for-purpose and fit-for-use tests? Maybe only partially, for those units level 20 and below.

In Tempo is a good modern day example that illustrates the importance of having the architecture (blueprint) well designed.

Sources: The Guardian, Wikipedia
Image Credit: devacacionesypuentes.com