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Author Archive: bfwebster

Webster is Principal and Founder at at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor for the BYU Computer Science Department. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at 303.502.4141 or at bwebster@bfwa.com.

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The Unhappy Valley: customized COTS between “buy” and “build”

August 13, 2013 1 Comment
The Unhappy Valley: customized COTS between “buy” and “build”

In response to my post yesterday on buy vs. build, Geoff asked a very important question: I’d be interested to get your opinion on the degree of customisation that COTS packages can realistically handle. I’ve seen several systems that started out as customised COTS, but eventually departed so far from the vanilla functionality that we […]

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Buying vs. building software applications: the eternal dilemma

August 12, 2013 3 Comments
Buying vs. building software applications: the eternal dilemma

Some years back, an IT colleague of mine mentioned a conflict at a corporation where he was working at the time. The corporation had a mission-critical application deployed across a large number of workstations. The corporate employees who used this application largely used it and nothing else all day long at dedicated workstations. The application […]

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Pushing for the right IT project solution

July 29, 2013 1 Comment
Pushing for the right IT project solution

In my last post, I talked about some of the reasons why large organizations often reject the best solutions for a troubled IT project: fear, pride, budget, and the ever-present internal politics. This week, as promised, I will talk about what it takes to champion the right solution. I can’t guarantee that you’ll succeed, but […]

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Resistance to the right IT project solution

July 26, 2013 0 Comments
Resistance to the right IT project solution

Over lunch some years back, Barry Glasco (a colleague) and I were reminiscing about corporate IT projects that we’d worked on as consultants over the years. Typically, these were large systems that were either having trouble being completed or were having serious problems once they were in production. Barry pointed out a self-defeating pitfall or […]

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Fooled by success: the dangers of delivering projects on time

July 24, 2013 0 Comments
Fooled by success: the dangers of delivering projects on time

One of my favorite books is Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicolas Taleb. Taleb’s thesis, which he explains and defends well, is that we often attribute to talent and insight great results that were actually more a matter of luck—a fortunate random outcome that might well have turned out otherwise. Taleb’s examples are largely taken from […]

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