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Stories by David Taber

When validation doesn’t rule

Every once in a while, somebody comes up with a great idea that is really dangerous. Here’s some ammunition you can use to counter one we’ve encountered.

Written by David Taber06 Oct. 15 15:01

Top 10 easy ways for consultants to end up in court

Everyone loves to talk about best practices. After all, it’s only natural to want to replicate success. But sometimes you can learn more from worst practices. With that in mind, here’s a list of what not to do.

Written by David Taber19 Aug. 15 18:04

Top 10 ways to have your project end up in court

As someone who's sometimes called to be an expert witness, I've had to testify in arbitrations and court proceedings about the best practices in agile project management. Of course, when things devolve to the point of legal action, there haven't been a lot of "best practices" in play by either side. Suffice it to say I've seen more than a few blunders by clients.

Written by David Taber07 Aug. 15 23:25

CRM backups or audit trails? Yes, please

Like nearly any transactional system, usable CRM data backups are tricky because the data is always changing and dependent on coherency across several tables. Ideally, you'd fully quiesce the system and do a full backup every day, or enable the online backup. But with modern cloud systems and 7x24 customer access (via portals or mobile apps), you can't take the system down, and cloud vendors like SFDC don't provide a full backup more often than once a week. The situation with audit trails is different: they may reliably capture all the changes, but you may only be allowed to track a limited number of fields (the default in SFDC is 20 per object).

Written by David Taber30 July 15 23:54

Is your vendor smarter than a 5th grader?

In the classic adversarial negotiation, the parties reveal only as many details as required to get the deal done. Each side hopes that the information asymmetry will work in their favor. Once the other side is under contract, there'll be time enough for them to discover the ugly truths, skeletons in the closet, misunderstandings about the contract, and so on.

Written by David Taber08 July 15 02:17

The dirty secrets of project management revealed

For business systems, the project go-live date really does matter -- and project managers seem willing to sacrifice budget limits more often than they're willing to blow past a scheduled deadline. There are sound business reasons for doing this as bonuses, commissions and stock valuations depend upon the revenues and earnings for the quarter. So you don't want to make any changes that would mess up this quarter's results, but you do want to implement changes as early as possible next quarter.

Written by David Taber30 June 15 06:09

IT's dumb fight over intelligent part numbers

We've seen it all before: Whether it's a part number, an account number, an order number or an identifying number for nearly any real object, the users ask for a number that isn't abstract, arbitrary and essentially meaningless. They ask for numbers that are short, significant and "intuitive" for the business user. Because they ask for the wrong thing, the IT pros always give them the wrong answer. That's the inevitable outcome of asking the wrong question.

Written by David Taber06 June 15 00:39

4 warning signs that your team is not agile

Agile projects involve close collaboration and very fast feedback loops. When it works, users' expectations are closely aligned to the project deliverables, and very little time is wasted on nice-to-haves or perfectionism that has no business impact. Agile done right is a thing of beauty, and economical to boot.

Written by David Taber12 May 15 01:27

At Dreamforce 2014, Salesforce Joins the Analytics Revolution With Wave

The Dreamforce conference isn't your normal tech conference. It's more of a festival, a smorgasbord of music, celebs, technical training and straight-ahead rah-rah selling that's nearly three times the attendance of Burning Man with much better amenities. Salesforce has once again created its city within a city, with headliners like Tony Robbins, Hillary Clinton, and Bruno Mars.

Written by David Taber14 Oct. 14 23:16

Considering CRM Consolidation Amid Corporate Merger Mania

Let's face it: Wall Street rewards corporate combinations nearly as much as it does corporate divestitures and spinoffs. When companies merge and reorganize, it doesn't take long before you hear the call for consolidating CRM systems. Indeed, we've come across several Fortune 100 companies with more than 100 separate CRM instances. We know of one with more than 500. You can bet they have task forces trying to figure out the system consolidation strategy.

Written by David Taber02 Oct. 14 05:31

Best Practices for Salesforce.com Administrators

The lists below summarize which tasks need to be done at standard intervals, including a pro-forma time budget. While the terminology and specifics focus on Salesforce.com specifically, the general administrative principles apply to any modern CRM system.

Written by David Taber18 Sept. 14 23:23

How to Make Accounting and CRM Systems Play Nice

Last week, I submitted an expense report to a client. The accounts payable representative made me revise the report four times to put things in the right buckets and correct a $1.04 error. (Really.) Of course, I can't charge anybody for his or her time, and the A/P department is really busy because it's "understaffed." (Uh-huh.)

Written by David Taber04 Sept. 14 00:14

3 Good Ideas From Government Software Projects

If you've read any of my articles, you know that the agile practices I advocate are rarely even tried in government projects. How can the guys who popularized the Gantt Chart and the PERT diagram help modern software projects? Oh, and don't forget the folks behind Healthcare.gov.

Written by David Taber06 Aug. 14 23:16

Why That Zero-feature Cloud Software Release Doesn't Cost Zero Dollars

When it comes to budgeting for cloud software, it's important to have some solid data about the cost of deploying a "zero-feature" update, the likelihood of encountering latent bugs, and the level of effort required for simple developer overhead and housekeeping. While there's some good data and solid advice out there from the Standish Group, as I mentioned in a recent article, I haven't seen any data that's particularly modern or really focused on the harsh realities of cloud software development.

Written by David Taber10 July 14 00:14
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