Sunday, 26 June 2011

Meanwhile back on the Death Star...


It's a nasty sounding word to match a nasty practice. While I am about to make fun of it, that is within the context of the Star Wars universe. I support the work of Amnesty International and you should too.

There is another type of interrogation that I regularly do as part of my work and that is requirements gathering for business information systems. There are a lot of similarities. I ask a lot of questions and my client is often not free with answers. I'm certain some of my clients think it is torture too. Hopefully that is not because of how I do it... It is a necessary process but it shouldn't be adversarial nor does it need to be.

Preparation is key. Make sure you have a clear idea of where you are at now and have it documented clearly before calling the consultant. That will reduce the pain for everyone.

So now our heroes are on the way to Alderaan while Princess Leia gets the VIP treatment from her own dad and his interrogation droid assistant... Harsh.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

On the road to Alderaan

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”
            Han Solo.        

Like Han, I don't really believe in the Force. I don't believe in blasters either. That's not to say I have no respect for anyone who does. In fact, when the movie starts and that scene appears... I'm a believer.

Belief is powerful. A firm belief can defy logic. Beliefs are a source of conflict and a means to promote savagery and hatred as just. They are also inspirational, a source of courage and joy.

My belief is in the power of information. Properly used, knowledge can liberate, enlighten and enable. It is a source for creativity, imagination and discovery.

Belief is reinforced by ritual, be that physical or procedural. Through practice with a light sabre, Luke aspires to become a Jedi.

My rituals are much less deadly but my intent and motivation is not unlike Luke's. They centre around learning how information created, captured, stored and shared. Through repetition, my understanding of the way knowledge works is expanded little by little. My ability to manage information improves.

Could this practice and increased awareness make me an Information Jedi? No. Nor do I wish to be one. I just want to be better at what I do than I was 5 years ago, one year ago or last week. Not radically better, just enough to know I have progressed.

You know I think I watched too many Kung-Fu movies yesterday. It was unintentional, as I rarely have the opportunity to sit and watch a movie at all but I ended up watching the unlikely combination of Forbidden Kingdom, Kung-Fu Panda and Kill Bill 2. I saw a parallel with what I am talking about today. Like Star Wars, the narrative is based on the journey taken by the central character that involves facing many challenges and the growth that results.

That's another of my beliefs; that you must accept and overcome challenges to be able to grow as a person and as a professional. I want my story be about my journey and my growth. If that's hokey, so be it.

Coming up - Disaster recovery on a planet wide scale; where do you put your off site backup?

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Two tickets to Alderaan please... And no questions asked.

People Smuggling.

It's topical at the moment. There is no doubt that people who take advantage of those desperate enough to do anything to escape their situation, are reprehensible.

So why is it we do not apply the same judgement on Han Solo? Here is someone who demonstrates no redeemable qualities whatsoever. He strikes a deal with Obi Wan and Luke, then kills Greedo and yet we adopt him as a lovable rogue.

We have this evidence that here is someone we should not trust but we do...

In records and information management, we deal with the capture of evidence that is intended to be used to make better business decisions. So who would hire Han Solo based on the facts contained in his employment history?

Should data override gut feel? That is what we are talking about here after all. I have seen people hired based on impressive documentation, who turned out to be duds. A good CV is not evidence of character, nor should it ever be.

Fortunately, Solo turns out to be a rough diamond after all but spare a thought the next time you evaluate based on the record. There may be more to consider than just the facts.

I wonder what would have happened if Obi Wan had spoken to Greedo about Han first? Or had stuck around to see Han get busy with his blaster?

Finally, we are leaving the Cantina and Tatooine and heading to Alderaan. It promises to be a blast.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Next week we finish examining the Cantina... this week we examine me

Sorry for drawing this out so long... I can only say the last 4 weeks has been pretty hard. Hopefully I can get past my end of semester exams. After that, I'm looking forward to a long weekend when I can get this blog back on track.