Monday, June 25, 2007

July 2, 2007


The challenge facing systems development since the MIS movement of the 1960's has been to share and reuse information resources on an enterprise-wide basis. There are substantial benefits for doing so:

  • The elimination of redundant work effort in systems design and programming, thereby accelerating delivery.

  • Simplified maintenance and enhancements of systems by controlling the whereabouts of information resources and how they relate and affect other components.

  • Integration of systems and software, thereby eliminating data redundancy and the production of inconsistent information.

Consider this, had companies been controlling information resources properly over the years, the crossover to Y2K would have been a nonevent. Instead, billions of dollars were spent in preparation for the switch.

The concept of Information Resource Management (IRM) is actually quite simple: to inventory and control all of the resources needed to satisfy the information needs of an enterprise. This includes data components (data elements, records, files, data bases, etc.), system components (systems, business processes, procedures, programs, etc.), and business components (functions, jobs, human and machine resources, skills, objectives, and projects).

To implement IRM, technology was introduced over the years, starting with the data dictionaries of the 1970's which evolved into more robust products referred to as "Repositories" which included a manifest of all information resources and how they are interrelated. An IRM Repository, therefore, represents a centralized consolidation of the whereabouts of all corporate information resources, regardless of where used or how stored, including corporate records. For example, it is equally concerned with the information resources as maintained in manual files as it is with those as maintained by the computer. As such, an IRM Repository bridges manual processing to automated processing.

Basically, the concept of a Repository is to record design decisions during a development project much like how an engineer records design decisions when defining the components of any product. In fact, the Repository concept is derived from "Bill of Materials Processing" (BOMP) which seeks to itemize and cross-reference parts to products, thereby providing the means to share and reuse components. One important byproduct of both BOMP and the IRM Repository is that design documentation is always current and up-to-date; as design decisions and component relationships are updated, the documentation is automatically updated. Further, the design intelligence contained in the IRM Repository is so extensive and precise, it can be used to drive application development aids such as program generators, report writers, and other CASE related tools.

Although techniques such as IRM Repositories and BOMP are useful on a product-by-product basis (or system-by-system), the true benefits are derived when they are used on a corporate-wide scale, thereby promoting the true concept of sharing and reusing components. And herein lies the rub; whereas the technology is certainly available to implement this concept, the management needed to make it happen isn't. Despite the considerable benefits associated with Information Resource Management, it will never be realized in this day and age for three reasons:

  1. IRM requires a global perspective of information resources. Unfortunately, corporate America is more conducive to the creation of fiefdoms and, as such, there is more of a spirit of competitiveness as opposed to cooperation in the workplace. It takes true visionaries to understand the benefits of IRM and true geniuses to make it happen.

  2. IRM requires standardization and discipline. In order to implement a centralized facility to share and reuse resources, agreement must be reached in terms of the standard components to be defined, their attributes, and how they relate to other components. This also requires standard processes (methodologies) for developing systems so they can be assembled in a consistent and predictable manner. Regrettably, it is fallacious to believe there are any standards in the I.T. community and, as a result, most I.T. shops consist of mavericks with different interpretations of how to address systems development. Concepts such as standardization and discipline are steadfastly resisted. Bottom-line: IRM implies a science with governing concepts and rules, not an undisciplined art form which is how most I.T. workers currently view it.

  3. IRM requires long term thinking which is the exception as opposed to the rule in most companies. The true benefits of sharing and reusing resources will not be realized immediately. Instead, it is an investment in the future. Companies will benefit the moment they start to share and reuse information resources from one project to the next. But the real payoff is when the IRM Repository matures, and components are reused time and again.

The concept of IRM reminds me of an incident years ago when there was a problem with famine in India. To help out, the United States sent seed grain to India for the local populace to plant and harvest. This was a viable long-term strategy to take. Unfortunately, when the sacks of seed were delivered to the docks, the people opened them and ate the seed as opposed to planting it. This remedied their immediate hunger problem, but ruined their long term needs. You cannot harvest a crop if you do not sow the seeds. The same is true in IRM. To harvest the crop, we must first document our resources. Only then can we realize the benefits of sharing and reusing them.

Even though IRM is a beautifully simple concept, its only weakness is the management needed to implement it. If you are considering the acquisition of an IRM Repository for your development efforts, consider your management skills first.

OUR BRYCE'S LAW OF THE WEEK therefore is... "You must first plant the seeds in order to harvest the crop."


Friends, the "PRIDE" Methodologies for Information Resource Management (IRM) is a common sense solution for Enterprise Engineering, Systems Engineering, Data Base Engineering, and Project Management. The methodologies include defined work breakdown structures, deliverables, and review points that promote quality and the production of industrial-strength information systems. Building information resources is a science, not an art form. Our methodologies clearly explain the concepts that govern them, which remarkably, is derived from engineering/manufacturing practices. Now you can get these acclaimed methodologies for free at our corporate web site at:


As many of you know, we lost comedian Sam Kinison in an automobile accident back in 1992. For those of you who do not remember him, Sam was described as a "heavy metal" comedian who was well known for being raunchy and irreverent. Interestingly, prior to becoming a comedian he was an ordained Pentecostal Minister. But he was better known for his shock-rock humor who made biting commentaries of our time. It seemed nobody was spared, but his favorite targets were Rev. Jim Bakker of the PTL Club and his wife Tammy, Jessica Hahn, the Pope, Oral Roberts, religion in general, World Hunger, Gays, and several commentaries on sex, drugs and Rock n'Roll. I can still vividly remember his trademark scream. His humor would make just about everyone blush, but behind it all you had to admit there was an element of truth and wisdom in his comedy, and this is what ultimately endeared him to the public. Many didn't understand how a former minister could be so vulgar, but as for me, I clearly understood what he was trying to tell us.

What is sad is that Sam was cut down just as the times were changing and we needed his biting humor more than ever. Had Sam survived, imagine what he could have done with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, Drummer Tommy Lee and Pam Anderson, Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton. But Sam's humor was not confined to sex, I would have loved to have heard his take on Bill Gates and Windows, Steve Jobs and the iPod, the Internet, the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, Iraq and Saddam Hussein, immigration, and on and on. Unfortunately, Sam missed a period of time which would have given him more fodder for his humor than he could have imagined. But such was not to be.

What few people realize is that just prior to his death, Sam was planning on giving up comedy and going back to being a Minister. As for me, Sam taught me that in an age of political correctness, maybe some intolerance and ridicule is deserved; that maybe we shouldn't just sit back and accept the status quo and instead we should speak up and voice our displeasure, and; that perhaps we take ourselves way too seriously.

So, Yes, I miss Sam, not just for how he ranted and raved, but more importantly, what he was trying to tell us.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.


Folks, a couple of years ago I started to include my "Pet Peeve of the Week" in these "Management Visions" podcasts. They have become so popular that I now syndicate them through the Internet and they are available for republication in other media. To this end, I have created a separate web page for my writings which you can find at Look for the section, "The Bryce is Right!" Hope you enjoy them.


An R.W. in Texas wrote me regarding my recent "Pet Peeve" on "Empty Nests."
He writes:

"Don't worry, you will find that just about the time you make the adjustment and get comfortable with the quiet and the pleasant evenings with your spouse . . . the kids come back for a while. We currently have a stepdaughter and her family (which includes a husband, an 18 year-old daughter, a 6 year-old son, and an 18 month old, hyperactive, female poodle) living in our upstairs area. Right after we moved into this house, we had the same stepdaughter (with no family at the time) and her sister and husband and newborn twins move into the upstairs.

However, that being said, I know what you mean about missing them . . . and finding things you almost didn't remember you had. (I wound up with an amazing number of extension cords because some gremlin kept hiding them in other bedrooms)."

Thanks for your comments.

Keep those cards and letters coming.

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

Our corporate web page is at:

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

For a copy of past broadcasts, please contact me directly.

We accept MP3 files with your voice for possible inclusion in the broadcast.

There is no charge for adding a link to "Management Visions" on your web page, for details and HTML code, see the "Management Visions" web site.

Management Visions accepts advertising. For rates, please contact yours truly directly.

Copyright © 2007 by M&JB Investment Company of Palm Harbor, Florida, USA. All rights reserved. "PRIDE" is the registered trademark of M&JB Investment Company.

This is Tim Bryce reporting.

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


Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home