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David Norfolk, BSc, CEng, MBCS, CITP, ARPS is practice leader with responsibility for development and governance at Bloor Research International. He is on the committee of the BCS Configuration Management Specialist Group and you can find him on Linkedin.
Three monkeys

So you think you know all about configuration management

David Norfolk is practice leader with responsibility for development and governance at Bloor Research International. He is on the committee of the BCS Configuration Management Specialist Group. Last month El Reg published an article by me that introduces the concepts of configuration management. You can read it here. In this …
David Norfolk, 18 Sep 2013
management governance3

Config management: Enemy of agile approach or the reason it WORKS?

David Norfolk is practice leader with responsibility for development and governance at Bloor Research International. He is on the committee of the BCS Configuration Management Specialist Group. Configuration management (CM) is the management of configuration items (CIs), which are the things that you care about, the things that …
David Norfolk, 22 Aug 2013
Victorinox SwissFlash 8GB USB Memory Stick and Multi-Tool

Tool time: Implementing configuration management, properly

Configuration Management (CM) isn't just about IT, but in the space I have, I want to look at some issues around implementing an IT CM solution. To start with, people often overlook the fact that IT is a fashion industry - but fashion isn't a very good driver for choosing tools that may be critical to your business. The most …
David Norfolk, 31 Jul 2013
itil service design

Service Design - ITIL v3

We recently reviewed Service Strategy, the first book in the latest refresh of ITIL – the IT Infrastructure Library. This time, we are looking at Service Design, the next book, which starts to look at the practicalities of integrating IT into the business. Note: not "aligning IT with the business" any more. The world has moved …
David Norfolk, 10 Oct 2007

Editors' Farewell

Well, from the start of October, we hand over Reg Developer to Gavin Clarke, who's a Register employee (we were freelance) and works from California, where he sits at the development tools coalface and gets first crack at the news. Be kind to him. It's been fun; we have immense respect for the team writing we built up for Reg …

Configuration management: a guru speaks

We make no secret of the fact that Configuration Management (CM) is fundamental to IT governance generally [declaration of interest: which is why the author of this piece is on the committee of the BCS Configuration Management Specialist Group (CMSG)]. But even in the CMSG, people do not always agree on exactly what CM is - and …
David Norfolk, 20 Sep 2007
The Register breaking news

Service Strategy

"Service Strategy" is part of ITIL (the IT Infrastructure Library), which is one of the, perhaps surprising, success stories of UK government computing. Originally, ITIL was a set of Operations-oriented “good practices” for IT Service Management: a non-prescriptive guide to the best way of doing things, backed up with ISO 20000 …
David Norfolk, 10 Sep 2007
The Register breaking news

State of the ALM art

I've been an enthusiast for ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) since the days of AD Cycle in the 1980s – but I can't help noticing that universal adoption still seems to be some way off. Perhaps it's the "hero culture" we have in IT: the ALM promises of "getting it right first time, good alignment with the business and no …
David Norfolk, 11 Aug 2007
The Register breaking news

So you want to be a Teradata specialist?

Many aspiring IT professionals look for career safety with mass-market technology. However, there’s also a secure career in specialist technology, as long as your chosen vendor doesn’t become complacent. So, as an example, we asked a Teradata specialist about the possibilities of a career with his specialist technology. Similar …
David Norfolk, 07 Aug 2007
The Register breaking news

Codice Software shows off new SCM tool

There seems to be a bit of excitement in the ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) world just now. As we predicted, the big boys are fleshing out their offerings by acquisition – and exciting new products are appearing. At a recent BCS CMSG gathering, we were rather taken by the intriguingly-named Plastic SCM (Software …
David Norfolk, 30 Jul 2007
The Register breaking news

Of automated test case management

We recently published an article on all-pairs testing (read it here) by Keith Vanden Eynden of Seapine Software, in which he was enjoined not to “push” Seapine’s tools. Nevertheless, Seapine’s TestTrack TCM tool is still an interesting product, accessible to the smaller business, so we asked Keith about using it in practice – …
David Norfolk, 22 Jul 2007
Trolltech teaser logo

Trolltech pushes Qtopia and Qt

I'm just contemplating my notes from a roundtable hosted by Trolltech product director Naren Karattup, entitled Unleashing the creative power of the developer – you unleash wild animals, don't you? I think I'm bit nervous. What's interesting about Trolltech, apart from its cross-platform development tools, is its dual-licensing …
David Norfolk, 17 Jul 2007
electric cloud

Electric Cloud creating a Build storm

Electric Cloud supplies software to speed up the Build process that's such an important part of modern "agile" software delivery. It uses a sophisticated approach to running the components of a Build in parallel. And now the company is in Europe. Photo of Andrew Patterson, European business director at Electric Cloud. As its …
David Norfolk, 05 Jul 2007
The Register breaking news

Another damned thick survey

There are two sorts of people in the world: those that divide the world into two sorts of people and those that don..... No, those who measure what they do; and those (probably a larger group) who trust to luck and public opinion and love the dangerous life. I think the first group should be running businesses people (customers …
David Norfolk, 02 Jul 2007
The Register breaking news

A Mariner from Serena

Ever since I first read Geoff Reiss’ Programme Management Demystified, I’ve felt there was something wrong with most conventional approaches to IT project management – most IT projects aren’t discrete units of work but share resources (including people) with other projects - including past projects, now in “maintenance”. And, …
David Norfolk, 21 Jun 2007
The Register breaking news

CruiseControl builds for the Enterprise

If there is one concept that is central to the Agile development process, it's probably Continuous Build. Although small projects can rely on manual builds, automation is the key to using Agile for ever larger projects. If you're into Open Source, as many Agile developers are, one continuous build tool of choice is …
David Norfolk, 20 Jun 2007
The Register breaking news

Data modelling layers: do you wanna get logical or physical

In the bad old days we used to progress from "current physical" to "current logical" models. We then used to transform the "current logical" to the "new logical" – and about then the deadline cut in and we scurried about hacking the code for the new system which is about as "new physical" as you can get. No wonder the agile …
David Norfolk, 14 Jun 2007
The Register breaking news

What's the future of the UK IT industry?

Developing The Future is an annual report from Microsoft and various industry partners, which looks at the UK software development industry in the context of the UK economy as a whole. The 2007 report is sponsored by City University, London; the British Computer Society, and Intellect (the trade association for the UK hi-tech …
David Norfolk, 09 Jun 2007
Warning Go

ITIL v3 is go

After three years gestation, the UK's Office of Government Commerce (OGC) yesterday gave birth to ITIL version 3. ITIL's friends promptly held a launch party in London to celebrate. Once upon a time, ITIL was merely an acronym for the IT Infrastructure Library. But now it is a “brand” for IT service delivery and represents an …
David Norfolk, 06 Jun 2007
Handshake

Perforce collaborates with open source

Subversion is a very popular open source Software Configuration Management (SCM) tool and I've heard someone unkind say "Perforce is good too, but it's just like paying for Subversion when you don't need to". This paragraph already opens up several cans of worms: are these tools really "configuration management" or simply " …
David Norfolk, 05 Jun 2007
The Register breaking news

A primer on SOA governance

TIBCO's Stefan Farestam talks with Reg Developer about the ground rules of SOA governance. What do you understand by SOA governance? Surely, it's just a question of corporate governance generally – automated business processes should be subject to the same controls as are applied to any business process? Picture of Stefan …
David Norfolk, 25 May 2007
The Register breaking news

CMSG gets ITIL

The British Computer Society Configuration Management special interest group (the BCS CMSG) has rather an oxymoronic name perhaps - who's interested in CM? Well, I am. I was interested enough to go to its bi-annual conference last week, and so, probably, is anyone actually involved in doing CM. CM can be defined as: "The …
David Norfolk, 25 May 2007
Microsoft

Microsoft's Somasegar shares his vision for Visual Studio

Whatever you think of Microsoft, it's clear that it produces excellent developer tools, which are extremely popular with its customers. We're talking about Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) here, and its next two incarnations, codenamed Orcas and Rosario (see Gavin Clarke's article here). However, Microsoft is sometimes …
David Norfolk, 23 May 2007
clock teaser

The MiFID opportunity

You can say one thing for a business disaster these days: it's usually a lucrative "opportunity" for IT people. The next such opportunity is going to be MiFID – the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, which goes live in November 2007. MiFID affects only a subset of UK companies, those in financial services (check out …
David Norfolk, 16 May 2007
Second Life

Are you virtually safe in virtual worlds?

We all know about the risk of identity theft in the real world, or we should know about it. But what about the virtual world? Holger Wandt of Human Inference, a specialist in natural language processing to remove errors and duplicates from real world datasets, recently raised an interesting question concerning personal …
David Norfolk, 14 May 2007
The Register breaking news

Operations management for developers

Almost 30 years ago when I first did my IT training, part of it was spent in ops, mounting tapes and trying to keep important systems operating efficiently. At the same time, I met a programmer who took pleasure in "keeping the operators awake" by making them mount tapes pointlessly. Then I went into DBA, which (in those days) …
David Norfolk, 04 May 2007
The Register breaking news

Adding mobility with Antenna Software

I recently had a chance to talk to a couple of execs from Antenna Software - Gregg Plekan, SVP Product Development and Jim Somers, VP of Marketing – about its Antenna Mobility Platform (AMP), announced at San Francisco Gartner Symposium/ITxpo on April 23, 2007. Antenna Software has been around since 1998 or so and claims to be …
David Norfolk, 30 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

A hosted 'Web 2.0' requirements management experience

I make no secret of the fact that I think requirements management and analysis are just about the most important parts of the development process. If you understand the business requirements, producing a system that can be shown to satisfy them (or miss some out) is comparatively trivial. In fact, it’s programmable – the process …
David Norfolk, 27 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

Do Microsoft's EULAs have any real legal basis?

I've just had an anonymous comment added to an irrelevent topic with the excuse: "The Drink or die thread seems to be closed so let's continue this here." Well, I can't find this "Drink or die" thread anyway - it's this one, perhaps. However, I'm posting the orphan comment as a blog entry so you can all comment. It's all about …
David Norfolk, 25 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

Teradata Universe in Warsaw

After a couple of days with the Teradata people at its Universe Conference 2007 (22-25 April), I'm seriously impressed. I like Teradata's "one data warehouse" concept, with all the disaggregated data in a normalised store. I like the way it separates the logical views of the data (including the semantic view) from underlying …
David Norfolk, 24 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

Another postcard from Intel in Lisboa

Intel has to find something to do with all that processing power it supplies and perhaps rendering yer actual Avatar is it. Photo of Jon Erickson. Well, whatever the driver, at the Think Parallel Intel EMEA Software Conference 2.0 in Lisbon, Jonathan Erickson (Editor-in-Chief, Dr Dobb’s Journal) gave a convincing presentation …
David Norfolk, 22 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

A postcard from Intel in Lisbon

So you thought Intel was a hardware company? In fact, it's also a major supplier of software – compilers and developer tools. This was what the Think Parallel Intel EMEA Software Conference 2.0 in Lisbon was all about. I've only space to cover the main theme here (there was an interesting session I must return to, on Second …
David Norfolk, 19 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

Fast trekkin' to requirements

Many people in IT are scared of managing requirements, especially in smaller companies, according to Andy Gurd, director of product marketing at Telelogic (which sells the excellent DOORS requirements management tool). Some of this is understandable, since requirements management is sometimes associated with "high ceremony" …
David Norfolk, 18 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

Linux and Solaris face off

Earlier this year, we asked our readers why people thinking of Linux aren't also thinking of OpenSolaris (or vice versa), now that both are pukka OSS operating systems. Well, one reason that people might choose to miss out on OpenSolaris is because we're (in general) a conservative lot – once bitten, twice shy – and a lot of …
David Norfolk, 13 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

Overlooking tradeoffs could kill your project

One of our readers, Bill Nicholls, has just written in with a comment on my "Housebuilding as a metaphor for software development" blog. He says: "Deadline, quality, functions - pick any two." In short, every project is a tradeoff. The above assumes that cost is fixed, but if that is a variable, the above line becomes: "Cost, …
David Norfolk, 12 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

What would a 'software guarantee' look like in practice?

I commented favourably on Managed Object's "software guarantee" here - but also commented that such a "guarantee" has to be worded carefully if it isn't to have unintended consequences. Well, Managed Objects has sent me a sample contract which it would use as a basis for "milestone payments" from its customers. Milestone …
David Norfolk, 09 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

JavaScript hijacking - a new exploit, or not?

I've had an email comment on my JavaScript Hijacking piece to the effect that everyone knows that you do your input validation on the server and that data you send down in JavaScript or in HTML is unsafe - so this really isn't a new exploit. Well, that first part is true enough, but I disagree with the second. However, Brian …
David Norfolk, 03 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

New vulnerability strikes heart of Web 2.0

Whatever you think of "Web 2.0" (it's really not mandatory to release everything in permanent beta) you probably thought that this generic approach to mashups, Ajax and all that good stuff didn't change the usual coding "good practice" rules much. Well, Brian Chess of Fortify Software says you're wrong. Although Web 2.0 style …
David Norfolk, 03 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

Is BSM entering the mainstream with a software guarantee?

A question sometimes asked is "what do we need analysts for?" Well, according to Dr Jim White of Managed Objects, customers for new technology often select the short list for "requests for quotation" from the analyst's "Magic Quadrants", "Waves", or whatever. So, analysts help businesses choose sensible short lists for …
David Norfolk, 02 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

PowerPoint grows up

Is Visual Studio Team System Rosario to include the long-awaited PowerPoint plug-in? Well, that's the buzz down at the old "Firkin and Flowchart". The jokes about the "compile button" in PowerPoint that generates working software from marketing B/S will have to be revisited as Microsoft announces PowerPoint Integration for VSTS …
David Norfolk, 01 Apr 2007
The Register breaking news

Microsoft: a successful low-maturity company?

In the comments on my blog about the CMMI Made Practical conference here, I quote Microsoft as an example of a very successful low-maturity company. I make no secret of my partiality for CMMI-style process improvement (almost 30 years in IT has convinced me that it’s far from a process-free zone) but it’s not the only way to run …
David Norfolk, 28 Mar 2007
The Register breaking news

CMMI, practically speaking

London was recently host to a conference showcasing CMMI process improvement. Primarily sponsored by the consultancy Lamri, the conference was held on 19-20 March. To some extent, it's a marketing exercise, but the presence of representatives from the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon and truly independent …
David Norfolk, 26 Mar 2007
The Register breaking news

Postcard from QCON

It was interesting to compare this QCon conference with Microsoft's Architect Insight conference. Without denigrating an interesting Microsoft conference, QCon ran longer and had a wider scope (it wasn't just for architects; neither for just one platform) and a more mature architectural content (the people responsible for …
David Norfolk, 23 Mar 2007
The Register breaking news

Fortran developer John Backus dies

John W Backus, team leader of the original FORTRAN development team at IBM, died on 17 March at the respectable age of 82. I never met John Backus, but he was responsible for changing my life – and probably that of many other scientific programmers of my generation. I was at the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian …
David Norfolk, 21 Mar 2007
The Register breaking news

A postcard from SunLIVE07

Sun's jamboree was held in the magnificent Methodist Central Hall in London to the sound of the Beatles' Revolution (Evolution, plus Innovation equals.... geddit?). The main theme was "going green" - now there's a surprise, but Sun actually has a good story here, to my mind. A 4 watt desktop device lasting some 20 years before …
David Norfolk, 17 Mar 2007
The Register breaking news

Blog: Housebuilding as a metaphor for software development

I've long believed that when you start a project you worry about the technology and whether it works. but in the post-mortem afterwards, you find that most of the real issues were to do with project management. Even technology failure can be mitigated, if the project is managed properly. Sometimes the right course is to cancel …
David Norfolk, 16 Mar 2007
The Register breaking news

Architectual insights

OK, after my first postcard from Architect Insight I promised something a bit longer and more low-level from Microsoft's Welsh conference (you can find the programme here). I chose, largely, to follow the lifecycle track – and, a note to Microsoft, seven concurrent tracks is too many. Almost by definition architects have broad …
David Norfolk, 15 Mar 2007
The Register breaking news

eXtreme methods

Kevlin Henney raised an interesting point (here) about the view of eXtreme Programming in the revision to Myers' Art of Software Testing. I didn't pick up on this in my review, probably because it never occurs to me to adopt normative development processes without also applying common sense – methodology (and why not call it …
David Norfolk, 12 Mar 2007
The Register breaking news

Who classifies the bugs?

I enjoyed Mary Branscombe's piece on Adobe development practices (here). However, one point that occurred to me (after a misspent past life in software QA) is how do you stop coders marking bugs as closed (or reclassifying them as "features" or "enhancement requests") in order to get back to the fun stuff? How much power does …
David Norfolk, 08 Mar 2007
The Register breaking news

Fortify and the Java open review project

I got some flack recently for daring to suggest (or appearing to) that open source software (OSS) should be "fit for purpose" (here). After all, since all those saintly OSS developers are working for nothing, why should we expect their software to work? Well, I can't imagine a company with any hope of staying in business using …
David Norfolk, 07 Mar 2007