Monday, November 24, 2008

December 1, 2008


This is Part XVIII in our series on the "PRIDE" Methodologies for IRM. In this edition we provide a description of the concepts and philosophies used in the "PRIDE"-Information Systems Engineering Methodology (ISEM).

The full text for this section can be obtained by clicking: HERE.

NEXT UP: Phase 9 of the "PRIDE"-Information Systems Engineering Methodology (ISEM), ISEM Evaluation.

If you would like to discuss this with me in more depth, please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail.

Keep the faith!

OUR BRYCE'S LAW OF THE WEEK therefore is...

"Systems are built by evolution, not by revolution. The day a system is installed is the day it begins to undergo change."


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The book includes chapters to describe how a young person should organize themselves, how to adapt to the corporate culture, develop their career, and improve themselves professionally and socially. Basically, its 208 pages of good sound advice to jump start the young person into the work force. Corporate Human Resource departments will also find this book useful for setting new hires on the right track in their career. It not only reinforces the many formal rules as contained in corporate policy manuals, but also includes the subtle unwritten rules we must all observe while working with others. The book lists for $25 and can be ordered online through MBA or your local book store. Complementing the book is a one day seminar of the same name which can be purchased separately for $4,000.00 (U.S.) plus instructor travel expenses. For more information on both the book and the seminar, visit our corporate web site at:
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Over the last 100 years the federal government has grown by leaps and bounds. The impetus for this is probably economic related (e.g., "The Great Depression," and today's world economy), and military related (including two world wars, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, numerous minor engagements, and the War on Terror). We also have several years of presidential campaigns heaped in where we were promised a lot more than two chickens in every pot or two cars in every garage. This has all changed the face of our government where we now have several more agencies and departments to deliver on presidential promises. For example, during my lifetime alone we have seen the introduction of several cabinet posts, such as HUD, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, EPA, and Homeland Security.

There are essentially two theories as to why government expands: that it is driven by citizen demand, or it is self-generating, that it grows naturally by itself. I tend to believe in the latter as I see it as an excellent example of Parkinson's Law in action. The law, which was devised by C. Northcote Parkinson, a noted British historian and author was based on his experience with the British Civil Service. Among his key observation's was that "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." Basically, he suggests people make work in order to rationalize their employment. Consequently, managers create bureaucracies and superfluous work to justify their existence, not because it is really needed (aka, the "making mountains our of mole hills" phenomenon).

We see examples of Parkinson's Law in just about every government body, from federal to state, to municipal, to the smallest bodies of government, including Homeowner Associations. A few years ago I was President of my Homeowners Association where I was able to balance the budget, update their governing docs, and streamline their administrative affairs. It wasn't hard, it just required a little common sense, nothing more, nothing less. Since I left the board of directors though, spending has gone through the roof, and we are now paying more for dues and getting a lot less in return. As I see it, my Homeowners Association is a microcosm of the problems with government; paying more and getting less. To illustrate, the only visible government services that impacts me directly are roads, water and sewage, the police, and education. Everything else is transparent to me. Others might include welfare, housing, and the environment, but I think this is the exception as opposed to the rule for most people. In other words, the average person sees little in return for the taxes they pay.

Then we come to the old argument as to whether government should be more or less intrusive in our lives which is actually a political argument. There are those who say we need more government since the average citizen is not smart enough to control his/her own destiny, and there are others who want less government control and more freedom. Understand this, the government grew over the last 100 years under both Democratic and Republican administrations. So political ideologue has no real bearing in this regard. It is simply a matter of management (or the lack thereof).

Recognizing companies were becoming bloated and inefficient, executives began to flatten corporate hierarchies in the 1980's and 1990's. The poster child for this was Jack Welsh of General Electric who earned the nickname "Neutron Jack" for his ability to flatten G.E. units. Welsh's approach was reminiscent of Joseph Stalin's purges which came in waves of three: the first was to eliminate the deadwood from around the office, representing the people who were the most expendable; the second wave of purges represented a major belt tightening effort intended to find out who the company could live without, and finally; the third wave was the hardest as it required considerable soul-searching but uncovered the bedrock of the corporation. What was left was a more efficient organization that was more focused on the right priorities.

Now imagine if we did something like this to our government; it would force a lot of bureaucrats out of office, it would create a leaner and more streamlined government, and it would force them to concentrate on the services that truly matter.

But for some reason I think most people like a fat government. They like having someone looking over their shoulder, kind of like a security blanket. As I found in my homeowner association though, the price of a bloated government is more expensive, more bureaucratic, and provides less service. I guess it comes down to how dependent we want to be on government and whether we trust their judgment to maintain our interests. As for me, I vote for less government, not more. Here's another way of looking at it: should the government serve its constituents, or should the constituents serve the government? You tell me.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.


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.

Also, if you happen to be in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, be sure to stop by and check out our new Palm Harbor Business OASIS, a new business venue offering local business people a place to meet, work, network, and relax. Why pay a lot for leasing office space when you can become a member of the OASIS for as little as $100/month? For more information, visit our web site at:


I received the following e-mail regarding my Pet Peeve on "Airports":

A D.T. of Raleigh, North Carolina wrote...

"Thankfully, I don't travel by air much anymore, but do dread going to the airport to pick-up or drop-off anyone. Drop-off is less painful, of course, providing you've rehearsed the drill of exiting the vehicle, unloading the luggage and executing a rapid fair well and Godspeed - all with the speed and precision of a Formula Racing pit crew. Pick-up, however, is a whole different purgatory... If you don't care to negotiate the concrete barricade-laden labyrinth they call a parking deck to pay "steak dinner for two" prices for temporary parking, you are forced to perform lap upon lap around the facility (like an ancient mariner with a dead albatross hanging from your neck) until your quarry arrives curb-side - at which point you perform the drop-off procedure in reverse order. I'm in total agreement - anxious people circling the airport like sharks and people jumping in and out of vehicles barking orders and slinging around parcels and cases around while being chased around by the keystone kop TSA is the most suspicious activity I've witnessed at the airport in several decades."

An S.B. of Greenbelt, Maryland wrote...

"I haven't travelled in a while, but taking people to the airport is a pain. I can't even get in. We have a bus to the airport near my house, for only $3.00 it takes you to the door. That's less than parking there.

I received the following e-mails from my "Pet Peeve" entitled, "Dumbing Down":

An R.R. in Oregon wrote...

"So true. By telling society what we should already know, they protect us from ourselves and them from sue-happy individuals. Reading this, the song 'Signs, Signs, everywhere Signs' came to mind......common sense is lacking these days."

Again, thanks for your comments. For these and other comments, please visit my "Bryce is Right!" web site.

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.

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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.

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This is Tim Bryce reporting.

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


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