Thursday, January 19, 2006

January 23, 2006


Michael B. Snyder, a corporate management consultant originally from Connecticut who now resides on Anna Maria Island in Florida. I've known Mike professionally for a number of years. He has served in a wide variety of corporate I.T. positions over the last 30 years, everything from programmer to Project Manager to Systems Manager. Currently, Mike consults with major corporations in the New York area. This was an interesting interview where we covered a variety of topics, such as:

* How the I.T. industry has changed over the years.

* How the younger generation is being prepared to take over in application development.

* The short-term planning mentality in I.T.

* The state of Systems Methodologies.

* The cost of implementing changes to systems.

* The impact of requirements definition.

* How the universities are preparing the next generation of I.T. workers.

And much more. Mike's comments are always fresh, candid, and very insightful. Sit back and relax, I think you will enjoy this.

If you have a question for Mr. Snyder, you can contact him at: 941/932-5640 (repeat) or by dropping me a line at


A special conference entitled "Cincinnati Technology: the Next Generation" will be held on Saturday, February 18th at the Netherlands Hilton in downtown Cincinnati, OH. Among the speakers will be yours truly to discuss the "PRIDE" approach to Information Resource Management. For information or to register, contact the First Rule Group at 513/375-3291.

On March 6th-8th, the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit 2006 will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, IL. For info, contact Gartner at 203/316-6757

The 17th International Conference of the Information Resource Management Association will be held May 21st-24th at the Wyndham Hotel in Washington D.C. For information, call IRMA headquarters in PA at 717/533-8879

If you have got an upcoming IRM related event you want mentioned, please e-mail the date, time and location of the event to


As a kid I always enjoyed History class. I guess I always found it interesting to see how events were triggered and could have been prevented or altered. I guess this is why I like the History Channel so much. But this love of history is not being passed on to our youth. The schools seem to be obsessed with either teaching the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic or indoctrinating our youth with the latest technology. Consequently, topics such as Public Speaking and History have fallen by the wayside. I guess its more important to know how to make an MS PowerPoint presentation than to know how to effectively communicate with people or understand how Churchill forged an alliance with the United States in order to save freedom in Europe, or why Truman relieved MacArthur, and why we failed at the Bay of Pigs, etc. These are all important lessons, yet our youth learns nothing about them which is resulting in a generation with absolutely no sense of history.

Even more disturbing is that there is no sense of history in the corporate workplace either. Young people are not questioning their work environment or the evolution of their products and services anymore. This is very apparent in the Systems world. Let me give you some examples; programmers don't understand the evolution of programming languages, from the 1st GL (Machine Language), to 2nd GL (Assembly Language), to 3rd GL (Procedural Languages), and to 4th GL (Specification Languages). Nor are they aware of the evolution of design techniques, such as structured programming, and object oriented programming. Consequently, they do not properly understand the philosophy of programming. Nor do people understand how and why data base concepts evolved, such as the hierarchical model as used in IBM's IMS, to the CODASYL standard network model, to relational, and object oriented. For systems, they have no concept of the Systems and Procedures Departments of yesteryear with their process diagrams and techniques in work simplification, to the introduction of modern methodologies. But even more disturbing than all of this is the failure of management in Information Technology, whereas in yesteryear companies boldly tackled mammoth systems projects, today they are content with simple programming assignments.

In 2006 we are celebrating the 35th anniversary of the introduction of the "PRIDE" methodology. We have seen a lot over the last 35 years; we have seen a raft of methodologies come and go, we have seen numerous data dictionaries and repositories, CASE tools and countless application development aids (anyone remember AD/Cycle?) Interestingly, the problems we face today in I.T. are essentially no different than when "PRIDE" was first introduced in 1971 - Systems lack integration, we rarely share and reuse information resources, redundancy issues remain, nothing is documented, and projects are still late and over-budget. You would think that after 35 years, the industry would wise-up a little. Instead of trying to take a tool oriented approach to solving our problems, how about trying a management approach? As we all know, "If we fail to learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it." The Information Technology industry will continue to struggle until such time as it standardizes their terms and applies a scientific method to solving their systems problems. All it takes is a little sense of history.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.


I received an e-mail from a Judy Thurman in New Jersey who wrote me regarding last week's essay on "Systems: What's in a Word?"
Judy writes:

"I liked your formulas of: Good Systems Design + Good Programming = Great Systems
Good Systems Design + Bad Programming = Good Systems
Bad Systems Design + Good Programming = Bad Systems
Bad Systems Design + Bad Programming = Chaos

It stresses the need for the upfront systems work, something that is sorely needed. Why do companies resist Systems Design?"

Thanks Judy for your note,
Management today naively believes application developers are not being productive unless they are programming. Consequently, there are many Software Engineers out there but very few Systems Engineers anymore. Frankly, Systems Analysis and Design is considered "old hat" by today's I.T. management.

Some time ago, our Japanese representatives taught me an interesting concept regarding the cost of development; they demonstrated it by drawing two pyramids, one regular and another inverted, both drawn with a horizontal line in the middle of each. The top portion of the pyramid represents systems design, the bottom portion represents programming. The regular pyramid represents the state of application development as it is today, where we do a superficial job in systems design and spend an inordinate amount of time and money in programming. The Japanese contend the bottom of the pyramid is actually bottomless. In contrast, the inverted pyramid represents how development should be performed, with more emphasis on design resulting in superior specifications for programmers to implement. But to pull this scenario off, I.T. management has to have a true understanding of systems, unfortunately that is not the case today.

Again, Thanks for your e-mail. Keep those cards and letters coming.

Folks, don't forget to check out our BRYCE'S CRASH COURSE IN MANAGEMENT which is a free on-line multimedia presentation offering pragmatic advice on how to discharge the duties of a manager, whether it be for a commercial or non-profit enterprise. Frankly, for someone aspiring to be a manager or for a new manager, it will be the best 45 minutes you can invest in yourself. Check it out on the cover of our corporate web page at:

For a complete listing of my essays, see the "PRIDE" Special Subject Bulletins section of our corporate web site.

MBA is an international management consulting firm specializing in Information Resource Management. We offer training, consulting, and writing services in the areas of Enterprise Engineering, Systems Engineering, Data Base Engineering, Project Management, Methodologies and Repositories. For information, call us at 727/786-4567.

Management Visions is a presentation of M. Bryce & Associates, a division of M&JB Investment Company of Palm Harbor, Florida, USA. The program is produced on a weekly basis and updated on Sundays. It is available in versions for RealPlayer, Microsoft Media Player, and MP3 suitable for Podcasting. See our web site for details. You'll find our broadcast listed in several Podcast and Internet Search engines, as well as Apples' iTunes.

If you have any questions or would like to be placed on our e-mailing list to receive notification of future broadcasts, please e-mail it to

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Copyright © 2006 by M&JB Investment Company of Palm Harbor, Florida, USA. All rights reserved. "PRIDE" is the registered trademark of M&JB Investment Company.

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This is Tim Bryce reporting.

Since 1971: "Software for the finest computer - the Mind."



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