– and the lessons we have learned.

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It is anniversary time once again. Our company is celebrating our 44th year. We were originally founded as M. Bryce & Associates, Inc. (MBA) but was eventually absorbed by our M&JB Investment Company over time. Although M&JB is our legal name, every now and then we accidentally answer the phone as “MBA.” Some habits are hard to break. Our flagship product is the “PRIDE” Methodologies for IRM. The initials “IRM” stand for Information Resource Management which is concerned with designing, developing and reusing the resources needed to support the information needs of an enterprise. The concept is very much akin to MRP MRP (Materials Resource Planning).

At first, “PRIDE” was concerned with just system design, but blossomed into three distinct methodologies for Enterprise Engineering, Information Systems Engineering, and Data Base Engineering (Project Management was also included). In addition to being the first commercial methodology for system design, “PRIDE” pioneered many other firsts, including:

* First to use engineering/manufacturing concepts to design and build systems. It is based on the “PRIDE” concept, “a system is a product that can be engineered and manufactured like any other product.” As logical as this may sound, it goes against the grain in the programming world where people only comprehend coding and compiling, not products.

* First to embrace a Data Management function and supporting data dictionary to capture and reuse information resources (later renamed the “Information Resource Manager.”) Data Management was likened to the Parts Department for assembly lines. This all became an integral part of the design and development process.

* First to automate systems design (including the logical DB). Unlike CASE tools which provided a pictorial interface to design software, ours designed the system by inference of the information requirements. If the requirements were right, the system design was right, but if they were wrong, the design was dead wrong and no amount of programming could correct it.

“PRIDE” was intellectually honest. We defined our terminology and explained the concepts embedded in the methodology so people knew “why” they were performing such actions. We never put anything into our products we couldn’t articulate as to its necessity.

If we learned anything over the years though, it was “Common sense is not very common.” To illustrate:

* Whereas “PRIDE” promoted the concept of managing from the bottom-up (a Theory Y form of management designed to empower workers and make them responsible for their actions), the truth remains companies prefer to manage top-down (Theory X autocratic rule; aka, micromanagement). We discovered certain workers did not like assuming responsibility for their actions, particularly programmers. Whereas systems people relished the independence, programmers viewed it as a threat should they not be able to deliver their programs on time and within budget.

* Developers are content doing small things, probably because they do not know how to do big things. “PRIDE” resulted from the MIS movement of the 1960’s. “Management Information Systems” were large-scale, mainframe based systems attempting to automate the operational needs of a business with some basic management controls thrown in. Over time, and many disasters, companies resigned themselves that designing such systems was no longer feasible as nobody understood systems theory. Instead, they were content to build programs one at a time and hoped they all fit together when completed. Most often, they did not.

* Planning, design and testing is unnatural to programmers. Instead, they only seem to understand coding and producing a clean compilation. Even testing is unnatural to programmers who would rather have their customers test their programs for them.

* Programmers certainly do not understand the concept of “user friendliness,” only technical gibberish which drives the rest of us crazy, including those who use computers, drive automobiles, or just about any consumer electronics, particularly televisions. There is simply nothing “friendly” about them. If it is a matter of doing what is best for the end user and doing what is expedient from a programming perspective, the user will always suffer. I see nothing “intuitive” in their programming unless they are instructed otherwise.

And for all of you who doubted us, Yep, we’re still here.

There are thousands of ways to write software, but there is only one correct way to design systems, “PRIDE,” the science of Information Resource Management. So, here is to 44 years of “Software for the finest computer – the Mind.” Who-da-thunk-it!

“MBA’s 40th Anniversary”

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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