Tuesday, May 31, 2005
How not to plan and run IT Projects - a success story

One thing, in the IT professional world at least, I find very interesting is IT Projects. Especially projects in my area - software/application projects - from analyze to development and testing to finally rollout. Did the project plan reflected reality, what development model was used and how successful was that compared with others, how was it executed, what roles are involved, what are the costs - in time and money, timeline and ETAs, where are the bottlenecks, how are the members of the team doing…questions on that sort.

::Be Aware!
In this line of work you have to deal with a lot of nice hype wordings, abbreviations and acronyms.

Be aware; the use of "nice" wordings is often a measurement on the level of a person's knowledge - the more it's used the less knowledge. Like baking; mix all the hype development- and project terms and you have a really nice looking cake. "This is a RAD project were we will use XML Web service using WSDL through SOAP, UDDI is not necessary. Important is to use XP people in XP, OOD and OOP. The ETA is ASAP".
Very often the cake looks great, but it lacks in taste.

::My current Project
I am currently running a world wide project (analyzing, development, initial testing and rollout) and, up until now, it the best project I've ever been involved in. Everything runs smoothly and, believe it or not, I am ahead of time. The only weak spots are where I am dependant on others. That's where my bottlenecks proved to be.

::The DIAA Project Model
How is this possible? Do I use a brand new project model? Maybe a new development model? No, I am doing it all alone. If you need a name of my model, hey let's call it the DIAA (Doing It All Alone) model.

So, is the DIAA model a good way of working. The answer would be a big fat NO! It basically goes against all rules of good practice. The risk factor is enormous, technical backup and support is limited. Huge workload… I can go on forever. So, why am I doing it? To test my model, create some new terms, wrap it all in a package and sell it for big bucks of course! ;)

::Summary for smarties
- Except for testing; include as few people as possible.
- If possible, use ONE person representing the business/user side. Use one point of contact to business!
- Do not let business people in technical discussions. Don't waste time and effort!
- Use experienced "hands-on" people. Learn to select the good people!
- EVERYTHING can be simplified. Do not hide behind terms and hype wordings!
- Eliminate dependencies.

Thursday, May 12, 2005
Bright future for young hacker

Read an article today about a hacker who broke into thousands of servers - US military, NASA and Cisco were amongst them. Do I even have to mention that these servers contain sensitive data and that security on them SHOULD be 'top of the line', 'sate of art'? Not only that; but also it took FBI more than a year to track down the hacker, or at least give a good direction of who it might be.

"Government investigators and other experts watched helplessly while monitoring the activity, unable to secure some systems as quickly as others were found compromised...."

It was reported (Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet) that the main goal for the hacker was to get the program which controls the internet traffic. But since it's still under investigation it can not be confirmed. Some of the information was published on a Russian site.

How was this possible? The hacker used security holes which were reported to be plugged. OK, fine. What was taken? Well, that's not so clear either. At this moment, one year later, it’s still not clear exactly what was stolen or destroyed.

So who is able to do this then? Terrorist? A fanatic group of underground hackers? How about a 16 year old school boy?! That's the person FBI is now focusing on. Apparently it was traced back to the network of the University of Uppsala in Sweden. In March the boy was charged with breaking into university computers. “Elementary, my dear Watson”. Does this mean the university has better security than NASA?

The technology used was not new, but the way it was executed was done in a very clever way. Apparently more clever than the NASA and US military security specialists put together. Let's say FBI can prove that this boy is the hacker, I'd say this boy has a bright future within computer security. Who wouldn't like to have this guy on their side? Imagine the CV of this guy:

:: Personal Data
- Age: 16 (and a half)
- Sex: Seen it on Internet
- Driver license: Not yet, have a moped though.

:: Experience
- Playing Doom 3 nights non-stop.
- Building a 7 foot tower using Pizza delivery boxes
- The biggest hack attack ever recorded.

:: References
- Mike; who also played with me.
- I have published a picture of the tower on internet (my Russian site)
- FBI Report: CISCO, US Military, NASA


Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Project Planning - Learn it the hard way

Planning a project is very difficult; there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Therefore I have put together a 4-step guide of what to especially think about and keep in mind when planning a project.

It took months of investigation and design to finally come to the following pedagogical table……….not ;)

ALWAYS have a backup plan. A project can take unforeseen turns
at ANY time.








ALWAYS use good equipment and make sure you have the tools to do the
job. Quality pays off!

"The short term gain, is a long term pain."

-The Lone Codeman-









Do NOT take on too much, don't let the project be a burden on your shoulders.
Sooner or later it will fall back on you.









Keep focused, don't get side-tracked! It's easy to waste time on details
on a n early stage, this will blow up in your face in the end.







Keep your both feet on the ground, both pointing forward.

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