Book Review – Reaching Your Next Summit!: 9 Vertical Lessons for Leading with Impact

Manley Feinberg’s book, Reaching Your Next Summit!, teaches valuable lessons on leadership and change. I work in the information technology field, and I have found the book to be very helpful. In IT, the work is very often about introducing positive changes and facing adverse changes through effective leadership. Feinberg’s experiences are both well-articulated and inspiring.

Whether you are reading this book for managing work or for personal reasons, applying the change management and resilient leadership lessons in the book can have a profound impact. I was delighted to have come across this excellent book.

Book Review: An Integrated Requirements Process by Peter Brooks

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-tablet-pc-computer-book-image23624210Summary: Compelling recommendations for instituting an integrated requirement management process in any enterprise

After managing IT projects and practicing IT service management for a number of years, the idea of having an integrated requirement process (IRP) for an enterprise intrigues me. I am certified in ITIL and have studied IIBA’s BABOK and ISACA’ COBIT frameworks. I was particularly interested in reading Peter’s recommendations for managing enterprise requirements.

The author proposed IRP based on the premises that:

  • Requirements are corporate assets and should be methodically captured, tracked, managed, and re-used for the benefit of the enterprise.
  • Many frameworks describe the needs of capturing and managing requirements but do not go into more details on how requirements should be properly captured and managed
  • An unified view of the requirement is necessary and can be leveraged by other IT frameworks and activities

Why would you want to read this book and examine the proposed process? I think the book is relevant if you are looking for:

  • A starting point into a more organized and formalized requirement management process for your organization
  • Ways to capture requirements from discrete projects into a centralized enterprise repository and to leverage their re-use
  • Recommendations for integrating requirement management more seamlessly with other IT activities/lifecycles such as application development, business analysis (BABOK), ITSM (ITIL), and IT governance/audit (COBIT).

How would this book help you? After reading the book, I think you will be able to:

  • Define or design a requirement management process for your organization. For example process flow, roles and responsibilities, recommended CSFs and KPIs
  • Define or design categories and statuses to enable a requirement managing workflow for logging, tracking, and re-use of the requirements
  • Define or design the necessary measurements for evaluating the IRP’s effectiveness
  • Understand or identify the necessary controls for governing and sustaining IRP
  • Understand or identify the integration points between IRP, BABOK, ITIL, and COBIT
  • Understand or identify supporting tool requirements

In summary, Peter has provided some compelling reasons and recommendations for instituting an integrated requirement management process in any enterprise. The book has defined all the necessary elements for designing, implementing, and governing the IRP. Peter also has taken a great deal of care by adding plenty of worked examples to help explain the process. I believe his recommendations provide an excellent starting point for those who are ready to manage requirements as corporate assets, rather than just one-time project occurrences.

Book Review: Plus! The Standard+Case Approach by Rob England

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-tablet-pc-computer-book-image23624210Summary: The model is well explained and the recommendations are actionable

Rob’s “Plus! The Standard+Case Approach” book is another way of looking at how we can better manage and deliver IT services to the organization. In general, I like the concepts and the principles presented in the book. Specifically,

  1. Rob did an admirable job explaining his Standard+Case model in detail: how the model works, when the model is appropriate to deploy, why we should care, etc.
  2. As someone with IT operations background, I believe Rob’s advice and recommendations are actionable. Theories and high-level frameworks are good to know, but the rubber will eventually need to meet the road. I am convinced that Rob’s approach can work for many IT organizations.
  3. If you have had exposure to Rob’s work via his blog, speaking sessions, or his books, you know Rob likes to call things as he sees them. This book is no exception.

While I do not have anything negative to say about the book, I would like to bring up one observation. People reading this book should be aware that the “Standard+Case” model is not presenting anything new or revolutionary when compared to ITIL. Rather, it is another way of looking at how we can do things. If you already have implemented ITSM leveraging ITIL with satisfactory results, I am not sure Rob’s model is going to bring you an even more spectacular result.

That said; I would encourage strongly giving Rob’s model a try if you are struggling to get organized in the service response area. Respectable frameworks such as ITIL and PMBOK call out what the minimum, basic professional standards ought to look like. When properly implemented with discipline and care, I believe Rob’s model can help an organization achieve that basic, professional level and be more effective at what they do.