Nik

Nik has written 465 posts for niksilver.com

Making use of wider talents

I’ve worked with many people in my time who I value greatly. To consider software developers as an example, some are just excellent at writing software, but the ones I generally value most of all are those who can do more than just that. They are people who can speak to a client or an … Continue reading

The cost of new technology

When a development team introduces new technology to solve a problem, they are adding a long term cost, too, even though it may not be obvious. This is one way that a technical decision is a business decision. Last week I was speaking to a friend about Erlang, a technology designed in the telecoms sector … Continue reading

A good strategy will say what not to do

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the importance of a business strategy, and its relationship to a product strategy and a technology strategy. But if we’re going to produce a strategy, or if we need to evaluate one, what distinguishes a good one from a bad one? A technologist thinking about creating a … Continue reading

Impact estimation tables (roughly)

Last week, two days in succession, I had cause to solve a problem using impact estimation tables. Unfortunately this technique is not widely known, so I thought I’d have a quick pass at explaining it. For many more details—beyond the simplicity of the description below—you really need to see the work of Tom Gilb, who … Continue reading

Follow the business strategy

Many years ago an experienced consultant was telling me about a company who was asking for his help. “They told me they wanted to develop a digital strategy. But they don’t need a digital strategy,” he said, “They need a business strategy.” I’ve always remembered this distinction between a business strategy and a more localised, … Continue reading

An example of a polarised uncertainty

This week I came across a real world example of an uncertainty that became more polarised—an event caused the outcome to be more likely to go to one extreme or the other, and less likely to be middling. I realised it when someone asked if I thought David Davis’s resignation was a good thing or … Continue reading

Three steps to measuring the intangible

Last week I talked about organisational culture being necessarily based on tangible things, even though it is superficially intangible. The thinking behind this was heavily influenced by Douglas Hubbard’s “How to measure anything”, because that is centred on measuring seemingly intangible things. So I thought it was about time I explained my interpretation of Hubbard’s … Continue reading

Culture is based on tangible things

Organisational culture is seemingly nebulous, hard to pin down. But in fact it’s based on very concrete, tangible things. It follows that by changing those tangible things we can change the culture of an organisation. Over many years I’ve read about the new breed of digital companies, and how they often value nurturing and developing … Continue reading

A bad time to estimate

The other day a friend and I were discussing a project which had notably overrun its original expected delivery date. “The problem is,” he said to me, “You estimate a project at the point you understand it the least.” This is a great phrase, and good to remember, even though it’s not strictly true. If … Continue reading

A plan for a plan

The other day a developer in my team asked, “So what’s your plan for…” and then described a particular organisational and technical challenge that several of us had been discussing on and off for a while. It was something that I was pushing forward, but I didn’t have all the answers yet. Of course, I … Continue reading

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