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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

LIGHT-YEARS AHEAD

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 22, 2014

BRYCE ON SYSTEMS

– Using a “Common Core” analogy to explain why our “PRIDE” Methodology is still far ahead.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

It is a strange feeling when you realize you are noticeably ahead of the industry on something. At first it is rewarding, followed by a sense of frustration when you face competition from inferior products, particularly if they are based on pseudo-scientific technology. This leads me to make the boastful claim…

“What we introduced in 1971 as our original “PRIDE” Methodology for System Design, is still light years ahead of the industry.”

It’s not bragging when it is a fact. Our original product back then was based on simple, commonsense principles based on engineering and manufacturing. Since then, we introduced many other concepts and software to support it, such as automated systems design, software used to deduce a system design based on information requirements. I know of no other product or company who was able to emulate our products. This is primarily due to the fact we consider system design as a science as opposed to an art form. By clearly defining our terminology, and proving our concepts, we were able to do such things as automated system design, not to mention priority modeling, organization analysis, impact analysis, and a lot more.

The difference between “PRIDE” and our competitors is analogous to how mathematics is to be implemented under the new “Common Core” curriculum. To illustrate, let’s consider the concept of subtraction:

“Old Fashioned” Way –

32
-12

20

However, the proponents of Common Core now recommend a new convoluted approach:

The “New” Way
32-12=___

12 + 3 = 15
15 + 5 = 20
20 + 10 = 30
30 + 2 = 32
__
20 <-Answer

 

Instead of encouraging simplicity and practicality, the proponents of Common Core want to twist the logic using a more esoteric approach. The same is true in system design. Instead of a standard and simple approach, the industry appears to be content reinventing the wheel. Now we hear about such things as “Agile” or “Extreme”, and “Scrum masters.” Although such concepts were invented specifically for programming, there are those who are trying to apply it to systems.

In 1971, we introduced the following concepts to the world:

1. A system is a product that can be engineered and manufactured like any other product. We applied the concept of a 4-level bill of materials to represent the system hierarchy. From there, the system was designed top-down, and tested and implemented bottom-up, a common engineering/manufacturing technique. This became the rationale for the structure of our methodology which allowed parallel and concurrent development, a radical departure from the classic 5-step “waterfall” approach.

It also provided for the concept of “stepwise refinement,” meaning specifications were defined from the general to the specific in a progressive order, much like what is found in blueprinting.

This concept of thinking of a system as a product is a departure from the mainstream where most developers think of it as nothing more than a collection of programs.

2. Information = Data + Processing. This concept meant there were two basic components to information. If the data was wrong and the processing was correct, the information would be wrong. Conversely, if the data was correct and the processing was wrong, the information would also be wrong. This led to the premise that if the information requirements are incorrect, everything that ensues, in terms of data and processing, will be incorrect. It also led to the idea of sharing and re-using data and system components.

Again, this is still a foreign concept to most people today who do not understand the properties of information and how to use it for design purposes.

3. The only way systems communicate is through data. This implies the need to standardize data for the purpose of eliminating redundancy and promoting information consistency.

Despite the sophisticated data base technology, which has evolved over the years, data redundancy still plagues most companies.

For more on these concepts, see: “Information Systems Theory 101”

These simple concepts led to the embodiment of the “PRIDE” methodology which we introduced in 1971, over 40 years ago. As simple as these concepts were, people resisted them as it was contrary to the thinking of the day, and still is. In particular, programmers had difficulty grasping these simple concepts. In reality, they would be the beneficiaries of the programming specifications resulting from this process. Nonetheless, they would often say, “This is all well and good, but we do not have time to do it right.” Translation: “We have plenty of time to do it wrong.”

Whereas we still think in terms of the “Old Fashioned” way (“PRIDE”), the industry now thinks in terms of the new “Common Core” way. I have no explanation for this other than it must sell a lot of books and seminars. Whereas others offer magic, we offer commonsense.

Yes, “PRIDE” is light years ahead of the industry today, and probably will still be well after my demise.

For more information on the “PRIDE” Methodologies for IRM, see:
http://www.amazon.com/PRIDE-Methodologies-IRM-Tim-Bryce/dp/097861822X/

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 timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  A JOB DESCRIPTION FOR BUSINESS ANALYSIS – What are the duties and responsibilities of the BA?

LAST TIME:  WHO SHOULD WATCH “AMERICA,” THE MOVIE?  – Certainly not just conservatives.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), 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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Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Bryce: Republicans choosing sides in District 13 race

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 28, 2013

THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IN THE ST. PETERSBURG TRIBUNE – 11/28/2013

http://tbo.com/pinellas-county/bryce-republicans-choosing-sides-in-district-13-race-20131127/

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Bryce: Elevation certificates can mitigate some flood insurance woes

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 31, 2013

THIS WEEK’S COLUMN WITH THE ST. PETERSBURG TRIBUNE – 10/31/2013
http://tbo.com/pinellas-county/bryce-elevation-certificates-can-mitigate-some-flood-insurance-woes-20131030/

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

AMERICAN VACATIONS

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 14, 2013

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Do we ever truly escape our work environment?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I think Americans have a problem taking vacations. Although most of us feel lucky to take a week off or a few days here and there, it’s rare for Americans to take vacations like our European or Australian counterparts who may take as much as a month off at a time. Sure, we enjoy some time off to recoup from work, but I think the problem here is that Americans don’t know how to relax. Whereas others take the time to study the culture of a different locale, Americans rush from one spot to another snapping photos along the way. If you’ve ever seen the movie, “If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium,” you know what I mean. Our frenetic pace is puzzling to outsiders who do not understand why we don’t take the time to truly enjoy the local scenery.

Part of our problem is our multicultural society which has made us a bit more competitive than most. We are always trying to stay one step ahead of our competition, our coworkers, and our neighbors. When we take time off, we’re never too far from a telephone and the Internet. I’m just as guilty as anyone in this regards; I don’t think I’ve been unplugged from e-mail since the 1980’s. Being in Florida, I always chuckle when I see someone on the beach working diligently on their laptop. I’m sure they are not appreciating the scenery and for all intents and purposes they might as well be back in the office. I think the reason why we’re like this is we’re afraid that something might go wrong if we cannot be contacted to answer questions or solve a problem.

Americans rarely take a two week vacation. The last one I took was years ago with my wife. The first week was fine, but by the second week I was becoming itchy to get back to work. We even start to feel guilty for taking so much time off. Small wonder that Americans are past masters of the long weekend as opposed to taking true vacations.

When we do decide to take a vacation we either want to see something new or something familiar which we rarely get a chance to appreciate. As for me, it’s fly fishing in Montana. Regardless of where we really want to go, we inevitably have to deal with family commitments. For those of you who have moved far from home, you know exactly what I mean. You are expected to return with the kids year after year thereby eating up your precious vacation days. Instead of visiting Vegas or the Caribbean, you find yourself in Chillicothe, Ohio. Such is the price for moving out of town.

The concept of the vacation is to relax, broaden our horizons, and refocus, thereby making us better workers. However, because of our obsession with staying connected to work and our competitiveness, I don’t believe we know how to relax and often consider vacations a waste of time. As an aside, have you ever met someone who proudly proclaims he hasn’t taken a vacation in a number of years? Somehow I am reminded of the proverb, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Instead of taking a real vacation, I know a lot of people who would rather not waste their time and use a virtual reality simulator like the one used in the Schwarzenegger Movie, “Total Recall.” This might be nice, but then again I don’t think anything can truly simulate catching a cutthroat trout in the chilly waters of the Flathead River in Montana.

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 timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  A DAY AT THE BEACH – You go for relaxation, but are taken aback by what you see.

LAST TIME:  OFFICE GOSSIP – Does your business promote or squelch idle gossip?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Lance Tormey & Mike Bastinelli (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

HAS BASEBALL’S TIME PASSED?

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 22, 2013

BRYCE ON THE NATIONAL PASTIME

– It looks more like a three ring circus as opposed to a sporting venue.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently had a friend make the observation that nobody goes to baseball stadiums to watch baseball anymore. He made this observation after attending a Spring Training game down here in Dunedin, Florida where the Toronto Blue Jays practice. Prior to the game he noticed all of the Canadians in attendance got up to proudly sing “Oh, Canada!” then settled in to watch and study the game. In contrast, the Americans gave a lethargic rendition of our national anthem, and then did everything but watch the game.

I have to admit, my friend had a point. When I go to see our home town Tampa Bay Rays, or my old team, the Cincinnati Reds, I am often distracted by the eye pollution, the people wandering around the stadium aimlessly, or partying at the many social venues they have. Last year, when I visited the Reds, a friend sprung for some rather expensive tickets featuring a restaurant venue where you could gorge yourself on all of the local cuisine if you were so inclined. Many people stayed inside the air conditioned clubhouse where they imbibed on cocktails. Television sets were laced throughout the clubhouse, but I didn’t see too many people watching them. As for me, I settled into my seat outside and watched the game.

I’m one of those guys who has always been a student of the game. When I go with my old high school buddies, we talk about such things as the positioning of the fielders, how their feet are placed, where and how the batter is standing in the batter’s box, the pitcher’s eyes and his motion to first base, and dozens of other nuances. We also talk about history, and who had what batting average. I’m not sure why I’m like this, maybe because I am an old Little League coach. Whatever the reason, I’m an anomaly as compared to the other people in attendance who need to be entertained. While others are downing all of the local delicacies, I’m happy with a beer and a simple bag of peanuts.

Sometimes I keep score of the game myself, an old habit I picked up while coaching. I do this more to study patterns, and see where the batters are likely to hit the ball. Most of the other people in the stands couldn’t care less. They are more concerned with getting a free T-shirt as shot out of an air cannon by the stadium crew.

To me, baseball is a great game, full of nuances, communications, and strategy, but I don’t believe Americans share the passion for it as they did years ago. To illustrate, membership in Little League has dropped 25% since 1996. Attendance at MLB games in the 21st century has been flat, which probably answers why ballparks have been turned into three ring circuses.

It is certainly not the national pastime anymore. What a shame. Then again, my friend who made the observation about baseball, also noted basketball has changed likewise. People go to games, pay hefty prices for tickets, and expect to be entertained as opposed to watching the game. Maybe they think of such venues as another form of “American Idol” or “Dancing with the Stars.”

Maybe I should just stick to watching Little League games or the Minor Leagues. They may not have all the glitz of the Majors, but they certainly try harder.

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 timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  SOME THOUGHTS ON MEMORIAL DAY – It’s not about barbecues, auto racing, or the start of summer.

LAST TIME:  THE DECLINE OF CRAFTSMANSHIP – They are getting harder and harder to find.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Baseball, Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

THE EVOLUTION OF THE BUSINESS CARD

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 25, 2013

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

– From simple calling cards, to advertising, to pins.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Years ago I happened to see a copy of Amelia Earhhart’s business card. It was actually quite simple and included nothing more than her name and title, “Aviator.” There was no address or anything else, and I suspect it was used merely to introduce her to people, a “calling card” if you will. In an old CBS western starring Richard Boone, the main character also had a simple business card which included a reference to his line of work, “Have Gun, Will Travel,” along with “Wire Paladin, San Francisco.” Also included was an image of a chess piece, a knight to be precise, presumably a symbolic touch of class.

Business cards today are much more sophisticated than those of yesteryear. Although most are still wallet sized, there are many new avant garde designs and shapes which force the recipients to somehow address the information on the card. In other words, business cards have gone beyond merely identifying a person and providing contact information, it is now an important part of a company’s advertising strategy. Some cards are larger and quite eye-catching, but if I cannot fit it in my wallet or business card case, I will likely discard it, as I will consider it unprofessional, but that’s me.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the exchange of business cards in Japan is a very serious and formal affair requiring protocol. Americans tend to treat it more frivolously and pass out cards as if they were dealing a hand of poker. Such disregard says a lot about a person who probably suffers from minor social dysfunctions, such as introductions and handshakes.

The typical business card today includes:

* Name, title, and company.
* Mailing address (sometimes both a post office box and physical location).
* Promotional message or time of operation, e.g.; Open 9-5, M-F)
* Multiple telephone numbers for: office number, mobile phone number, home number, text messages, and fax messages.
* Internet addresses, such as web site, e-mail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.

Not surprising, the business card has evolved from elegantly simple to horribly complicated. I find it rather amusing when a person has so many electronic addresses, yet you still cannot contact them (they refuse to answer the phone or respond to messages). Maybe they should just have a card like Amelia Earhhart’s.

We used to keep and carefully file business cards for future reference. Not so anymore. People usually enter the data in their address books and discard the card. This can be done either by keying the data or by scanning the card and transferring the data using optical character recognition technology. Even this is changing though as smart phones are embracing barcodes such as the QR code (Quick Response) which is a matrix-like graphic that can store data in a small space. A person can simply scan the QR code and transfer the data to an address book. The image is so small, not only can they be printed on business cards but will eventually make the business card obsolete. Instead, you will likely wear a small pin containing the image which can be easily scanned.

The pin somehow sounds nice, but I think I’ll miss the proper exchange of business cards and the value we once placed in them.

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 timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  SLIPPING INTO A NATIONAL DEPRESSION – And how the Tango can help.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 12:30-3:00pm ET), and KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays. 6:00-10:00am MST). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

THE DEATH OF PROFESSIONAL COURTESY

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 18, 2013

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– What ever happened to “The Golden Rule”?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I was recently invited to bid on a technical writing project. The initial meeting was treated like a job interview to determine my qualifications and everything seemed to go smoothly. Evidently I passed the test as I was invited for a second interview to discuss the project assignment in more detail. I arrived at the company’s offices a few minutes ahead of schedule (11:00am). Nobody was at the front desk so I took a seat in their waiting room along with another gentleman who I judged to be approximately the same age as myself. We exchanged pleasantries and I soon discovered he was also invited to bid on the same assignment. I was dressed in suit and tie for the appointment, and my competitor was dressed in “business casual.” Actually, we developed a good dialog about who we were and where we were from. There was no animosity between us, just some friendly banter.

During the course of the conversation, I discovered his appointment was scheduled for 10:20am and even though people had come by the reception area, nobody had spoken to him. This concerned me as I noticed I had already been waiting for fifteen minutes. Normally, I would leave ten minutes after an appointment, as some of my doctors and dentists have learned over the years, but since I had been busy conversing with the other person, time seemed to slip by. Shortly thereafter, another visitor walked into the room. Like us, he had arrived a few minutes early so he wouldn’t be late for his appointment. Again, nobody greeted him and he took a seat next to us. Time kept ticking away until it was 11:20am, when I started to become angry over our inhospitable treatment. Finally, I could stand it no longer, wished my acquaintances good luck, and exited the building. Needless to say, I was unhappy about being taken for granted and wasting my time.

When I arrived back at my office, I sent an e-mail to my contact with the company expressing my displeasure. After explaining what had happened, I informed him that if he wanted to arrange another meeting, I would only do so on a time and materials basis and quoted a hefty hourly rate. Not surprising, I did not receive a reply from my contact expressing any regret.

My concern though is that we are witnessing the extinction of professional courtesy in the work place. To illustrate:

* Telephones used to be answered promptly and courteously. Further, people would take whatever action was appropriate to assist the caller. Voice mail did away with all this. Unless you happen to catch the person right then and there on the phone, in all likelihood you will never receive a response.

* All job applications used to be answered with a letter, written professionally, acknowledging the letter and stating its condition, e.g., under review or thanking them for the opportunity to review the resume even though the company was not hiring at the time.

* Correspondence was typically typed out neatly, was written with proper grammar, and colloquialisms were avoided. Today, business correspondence contains considerable slang, uses primitive sentence structure, and spell checkers are avoided at all cost, particularly interoffice communications.

* Years ago, if you made an appointment, you kept it. If something extraneous occurred thereby forcing a delay or postponement, the other party was notified promptly so they can adjust their schedule accordingly. As my recent appointment proved, there is no consideration for the other person. I am reminded of Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Being late is an act of violence, an act of terrorism, because you unnerve people.”

Such rudeness reflects a general disregard for humans, be they customers, vendors, employees, or job applicants. Basically, it is an open admission that we hold people in contempt as opposed to soliciting their cooperation. With such disregard for people, it’s no small wonder “micromanagement” is the management philosophy of choice in today’s workplace. Maybe it’s our technology that is jading our sense of humanity. After all, it commands our attention and various senses.

Getting back to my appointment, I wonder how long the other people in the reception area stayed around? Both were “old school” and felt if you made an appointment, both parties had an obligation to keep it. Unfortunately, the company I was visiting was not of this philosophy. The only way to teach people this lesson is to walk away from the appointment as I did, and charge them for your time. Only then will they take you seriously and afford you the basic dignity you deserve. Otherwise, they will continue to take you for granted. Frankly, the longer we accept such disrespect, the more commonplace it will become. I suggest we just walk away from such insensitive knuckleheads. We may not get the contract, but they won’t get the best service from their people either.

Let us not forget the ancient “Golden Rule” as found in all religions: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” This is a two-way reciprocal relationship between people. Whenever such relationships become a one-way proposition, it ultimately denotes a decline in our moral fiber and culture.

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 timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  MANIPULATING THE MASSES – And the means by which leaders persuade their followers.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 12:30-3:00pm ET), and KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays. 6:00-10:00am MST). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 15 Comments »

THE DEATH OF BIPARTISANSHIP

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 6, 2013

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– It’s actually been gone for a long time, at least since 2009.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

On numerous occasions, President Obama has openly criticized Congressmen for the lack of give and take in their deliberations and contends such “business as usual” behavior is unacceptable. He does this with great aplomb, as if he was an innocent bystander in the process. He deserves kudos for not cracking a smile when saying this. Congressmen on both sides of the the aisle contend they yearn for bipartisanship but I’m afraid its time has passed, and it is now nothing more than a pipe dream. Former Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine recently dropped out of Congress after recognizing hyper-partisanship has led the federal government to becoming dysfunctional. Forces are at work to prohibit it.

The Left paints people like George Bush, Mitt Romney, and John Boehner as the personification of evil; conversely, conservatives see Barrack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi in the same light. Even though voters were acutely aware of the gridlock in Washington, they elected to keep it that way. Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Boehner, and Cantor are still in their same positions; the balance of power in the Congress remains unchanged; the economy, debt and deficit are still out of control; we still do not have a budget; we’re still putting pork into our legislation (including the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ and ‘Hurricane Sandy’ bills); we still do not know the truth about Benghazi or ‘Fast and Furious’; taxes continue to climb, and; we continue to raise the salary and perks of our government leaders. The only thing we accomplished in 2012 was that we raised billions of dollars to fuel the fires of the media. So why should we be optimistic that anything fruitful will occur during 2013?

The Left blames a lot of the problem on Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” whereby legislators signed promises to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.” Liberals criticize this pledge for impeding negotiations. On the other hand, conservatives feel snookered by Obama over the “fiscal cliff” legislation which upped the tax rates of the rich, while also including considerable “pork.”

During his first campaign, the President promised his administration would be the most transparent in history. It didn’t exactly work out that way. GOP congressmen were certainly not consulted over the Obamacare legislation. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the time was unsure what it included, but she dutifully pushed for its passage. The president has basically decided he cannot negotiate with House Republicans, consequently it is no longer a matter of deliberating over the content of a bill, it’s a matter of knowing when to introduce it for political gain, such as at the last minute. This would all be laughable except for the fact America is faced with some rather severe problems. So much for transparency.

Make no mistake, the hyper-partisanship is all about control of the country, not just the purse strings either, but how Americans should live and work, and who should call the shots, the government or the citizens. I do not believe the politicians in Washington honestly want bipartisanship as it means caving into the other side, thereby derailing their plans for control. It’s more than just acquiescing due to principles and ideology, but also to the interpretation of morality. Put yourself in the position of a Washington politician and honestly ask yourself what can truly be gained from practicing bipartisanship. The reality is, unless something radical changes the current situation in Washington, bipartisanship has gone the way of the Dodo.

To be blunt, there is no such thing as “political morality” in Washington, which is ultimately why Americans no longer trust its government. This is why I am a big proponent of a Constitutional Convention as prescribed by Article V of the Constitution, whereby certain elements of the Constitution can be addressed, such as: Congressional term limits, Congressional compensation and benefits, Federal lobbying, the Electoral Process, Immigration, Balanced Budget, etc. These are topics Congress and the White House simply do not have the political fortitude to address, but something we desperately need.

Although the president claims to be an innocent bystander in the partisan confrontation, he is the chief strategist for his party and actually spurns any suggestion of bipartisanship, which is why he relies heavily on executive orders. This is evidently what the voters wanted and it will continue unabated, if not get progressively worse. In the meantime, the people grow restless. Well at least half of us do, the other half thinks everything is just fine. Go figure.

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 timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
WHO ARE THE GOOD GUYS? – Have they all ridden off into the sunset?


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 12:30-3:00pm ET), and KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays. 6:00-10:00am MST).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

THE LANGUAGE OF SYSTEMS

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 29, 2012

BRYCE ON SYSTEMS

– And, No, it is not C++, Java, SQL, or any other programming language.

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A few years ago, I was at a Comdex show exhibiting our “PRIDE” Methodologies for IRM and gave a brief overview to an inquisitive attendee. He listened to me patiently, but at the end asked me pointedly what language “PRIDE” was written in. He looked at me dumbfounded when I told him it was written in English. I guess he honestly thought “English” was some new programming language. I could have gone on with the charade and said that it was, but honesty got the better of me and I explained to him our corporate slogan, “Software for the finest computer – the Mind.”

The language of systems is no different; No, it is not C++, Java, COBOL, etc., but rather simple English (or whatever your native language happens to be). In the past I have gone into length about the differences between Systems and Software, the two are simply not synonymous. Whereas systems include business processes implemented by human beings, computers and other office equipment, software is simply instructions for the computer to follow. Systems are for people who must also take an active role in its execution. In fact, systems will fail more for the lack of people procedures than they will for well-written computer software. There are more people procedures in a system (we refer to them as “administrative procedures”) than most people imagine. Overlooking their role in a system is a serious error. Let me give you an example…

We had a large manufacturing customer who designed a new “state-of-the-art” shop-floor control system whereby they wanted to spot errors along the assembly line and then quickly react and correct the hiccup. From a software perspective, it was a well thought-out and elegant solution coupled with an integrated data base. There was just one problem; it didn’t work. Consequently, we were called in on a consulting basis to try and determine what was wrong with it. We carefully examined the architecture of the system overall, not just the software, and quickly found the problem; Whenever an error occurred on the shop-floor, an error message was displayed on a computer screen for the shop-floor supervisor to act on. Unfortunately, nobody told the supervisor about the computer screen, the messages, or procedurally how to respond to it. We wrote a simple administrative procedure for the supervisor who then read and responded to the errors properly and the system then ran perfectly. As my example demonstrates, clearly written administrative procedures immeasurably improve the processes of system implementation and operation.

Writing for People

Even when administrative procedures are considered, they are often sloppily written in an inconsistent manner. Unlike the computer who will do anything you instruct it, right or wrong, writing for the human being is actually more difficult. People are more emotional and can be lazy and uncooperative at times. Writing for people, therefore, can be an arduous task. Instituting writing standards can materially help in bringing about consistency to this task and should be encouraged.

Whenever writing administrative procedures, they should answer these basic questions for the end-user:

* What is the purpose of the procedure?
* Who should perform the procedure? When?
* How should the procedure be accomplished?
* What is needed to accomplish the procedure?
* What are some examples?
* What should be done after the processing is accomplished?

As any writer will tell you, you must write in terms your audience will understand. As such, you should consider the intelligence level of your audience. For example, most newspapers in the United States write for people at the 6th grade level. You may possess a sophisticated vocabulary, but does your audience? When it comes to writing administrative procedures, write so your audience can understand the instructions and implement accordingly.

Playscript

In reality, there is little difference between an administrative procedure and a computer procedure. The only difference is the “actor” assigned to perform the task. One of the most effective techniques for the preparation of administrative procedures, is the “Playscript” technique as developed by Leslie H. Matthies, the legendary “Dean of Systems.” To appreciate Les’ contribution, you have to understand his background. Les graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in the early 1930’s with a journalism degree. This was during the midst of the Depression where work was hard to find. For a while, Les tried his hand at writing Broadway plays and became intimate with writing scripts (where actors enter, speak their lines, and exit). When World War II broke out, Les was too old for military service and, instead, was recruited by an aircraft manufacturer in the U.S. Midwest where he was charged with establishing procedures for the production of aircraft thereby expediting the development and delivery of planes to the war front. Using his writing skills, he devised “Playscript” with actors and actions which proved effective to procedurally produce aircraft.

Let’s fast-forward to the 1950’s and the advent of the UNIVAC I. Computer programming languages had moved from machine language to assembly languages, both of which were difficult to program in. Enter Grace Hopper who was looking for an easier and more intuitive approach to programming. As such, she invented an English language compiler called “Business Compiler Zero” (B0) which ultimately became the COBOL programming language. To do so, she modeled the language after a procedure language she was familiar with, “Playscript.” Think about it. Playscript defined the environment, the files to be used and its use of verbs and nouns are easy to assimilate. What this ultimately means is that “Playscript” is the mother of all third generation procedural languages and that our premise, that there is little difference between an administrative procedure and a computer procedure, is true.

In the end, it all comes down to simple verbs and nouns – the Language of Systems.

“Systems will fail more for the lack of administrative procedures than well written computer procedures.”
– Bryce’s Law

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 timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

 

NEXT UP:  CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE VOTING BOOTH – The variables we know about our current president.

 

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

 

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

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THE POWER OF ‘GOOD MORNING’

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 6, 2012

– It’s much stronger than you think.

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Shortly after college as I was beginning my career, I happened to visit my doctor’s office for a routine checkup. I took a seat in the waiting room and began to look around. There were, of course, the usual nondescript magazines and newspapers from years ago, with titles I didn’t recognize, some were even printed in foreign languages. I guess today’s edition of the local newspaper or the “Wall Street Journal” was out of the question. There was also a television set tuned to a channel featuring a local yokel talk show. Some of the people just stared at the screen mesmerized like zombies. I hesitated to change the channel as I had visions they would turn and attack me. Most of the patients though just sat quietly looking at the ground awaiting their turn with the doctor. Some looked a bit nervous and apprehensive about being there, kind of like prisoners on their way to the gas chamber. It was all rather depressing. Then suddenly the front door swung open and in strode the postman delivering the mail with a brisk step. “Good morning everyone,” he said with a loud and cheerful voice, “How’s everybody doing today? What a beautiful day isn’t it?”

He then dutifully delivered the mail to the receptionist, turned and left with a tune on his lips. As the door closed behind him, everyone snapped out of their trance and began to talk. “What a nice guy, didn’t he have a nice way about him? He was like a burst of sunshine,” and they all agreed.

In a matter of a few scant seconds, the postman had lifted the cloud of despair off the heads of the patients and got them chatting away seemingly without a care in the world. It was probably more therapeutic than anything the doctor could have prescribed for them.

This lesson was certainly not lost on me. Whereas I had been hesitant to talk to strangers in a public setting before, I began to greet people more openly both in and out of my office. Remarkably, the postman’s trick worked, and I’ve been able to build some good rapport with people over the years by doing so.

I have also seen many offices where the inmates either reluctantly give a token “Morning” in the most doleful tone or say nothing at all. The token “Morning” is almost as bad as saying nothing at all as it is devoid of any sincerity, just a mechanical reflex action. Whether a person is a customer, vendor, or co-worker, it’s important to make the person feel as welcome in the office as they would be in your home. After all, it is basically the same thing. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks this way anymore and people tend to see work more as drudgery as opposed to their livelihood. Consequently, there is a tendency to take people for granted. Regardless whether you love your job or not, we have to recognize work is performed by and through people. A simple and sincere greeting like “Good Morning” goes a long way to expressing your interest in others. Try it, you will be pleasantly surprised by the reactions you get and how people will want to interact with you. Naturally, there will be people you do not get along with at work, thereby preventing you from extending such a greeting. Fine, but this should be the exception as opposed to the rule.

Consider this, how did the patients view the postman as he left the doctor’s office? Did his stock go up or down with them? Now ask yourself how you want your stock to go. At the very least, you’ll likely be remembered, just like the postman.

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 timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
IS AMERICA STILL GREAT? – Or are we on the verge of becoming irrlevant?

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