Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dealing with search complexity

We live in a complex world. One way to deal with that is through Views. A search engine is actually a View generator, but I suspect we all feel that search engines, however good, are still blunt instruments and frequently return unsatisfactory results.

I turned my mind to this because in our CBDI-SAE Knowledgebase we have huge repository of SOA knowledge, and even as a contributor I don't always easily find what I am looking for. So what hope for a customer!

The KB has a search engine, menu hierarchies and lots of topic based portals. But it definitely takes work to unlock the value, and we are all busy people and we need efficient mechanisms to find what we need now!

It occurred to me that the concept of a View might be useful. The KB does have stakeholder and work package Views. But it doesn't have Views that relate directly to goals which perhaps more directly reflect what KB users are tasked with doing. As a consequence I developed the idea of a series of Use Cases. For each use case I modeled Actors, Processes and Capability. I modeled the Use Cases in Powerpoint and added links to the Capabilities and published as a PDF. You can see the result here.

If you are already a KB user you will (I hope) recognize some of the Use Cases as being relevant and be able to immediately find resources that may accelerate your work package delivery. If you are not a KB user yet, you may still find value in this set of models a) it provides a goal based picture of capabilities you may require regardless of source or b) it may interest you to look further at the KB and to utilize it further.

Finally therefore I wonder why search engines don't utilize a model along these lines by providing focused search arguments. Take a look at the Google advanced search. It merely asks you to provide more "words". Yes it provides some conditionality, but surely it would be more effective to ask context questions in a straightforward manner that everyone would be able to answer such as:
"what are you doing?"
"what is your role?"
"what is your objective"
and thereby deliver narrowly targeted results.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happenings at CBDI

This month we are making some big changes to the way we work at CBDI. We are announcing that, commencing with the September edition, the CBDI Journal is now available on a quarterly basis and freely available on registration.

We have published the CBDI Journal 11 times a year continuously since 1997 and this is one of the biggest changes in that time. Regular readers will know that over the past five years we have undergone a planned transformation from SOA industry analysts to become practice developers for SOA based application modernization. The CBDI-SAE practices and resources are now made available in the CBDI-SAE Knowledgebase (KB) – a framework toolkit for best practice using modern, modular architecture and agile practices.

The CBDI Journal will continue to provide detailed, independent practice guidance that helps architects, project managers, business analysts and other IT professionals but it will be quarterly and available to potentially a much wider audience.

The September Journal is available now.


- Editorial: Ten Tips for Outsourcing/Offshoring Success

- Update: The CBDI-SAE Reference Framework in 2010

- In Depth: Integrating BPMN into the SAE Architecture and Delivery processes

- Knowledgebase Update and Usage Guide

You can get your edition now at: September CBDI Journal