Archive for 2016

A Few Thoughts on AWS re:Invent 2016

As far as conferences go, I have to say, Amazon puts on a pretty good show. Most sessions were interesting and on point. Attendees were smart and social. And the exhibitors provided more than enough products and solutions to fulfill my weekly geekdom quota. The icing on the cake was the free Echo Dot awaiting everyone on Day 1. I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first re:Invent, but by the end of the week, I was leaving the desert with plenty of ideas to bring into the office on Monday. Here are a handful of my takeaways.

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Agile Hits Its Stride

This year marked the 15-year anniversary of the writing of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Today, I can’t help but marvel at the impact this collection of simple, yet elegantly stated principles continue to have, especially here in Washington, D.C.. Agile has not only changed how we build working software, it has fundamentally changed how we understand our organizations and how we define the business value we produce. With agile, many of us have learned new approaches to prioritizing our work at an enterprise scale, how we can organize our businesses, and even how we can build deeper relationships in the process.  Agile development has sparked a new wave of innovation, especially in the Federal market and it’s incredible to think what 2017 will bring.

For those who are doing it successfully, being agile requires the adoption of both an agile-mindset and the incorporation of new software architectures and delivery practices. At TeraThink, we recognize that our clients have very specific needs and objectives for their implementation of agile solutions. We work closely with each client to provide their desired results.  Agile is, of course, not without its challenges.  Whether it is initial adoption, sustaining agility at scale, or breaking into a more effective CI/CD model, these challenges are significant. I’d like to share a few key observations and strategies that have helped our clients hit their stride with agile.

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Our ISO 9001:2015 Certification and Why It Is Important

ISO 9001:2015 Quality ManagementIn January, TeraThink began a quest to achieve ISO 9001:2015 compliance.  The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is a multinational standardizing organization that has published over 21,000 international business standards. The ISO 9001 standard (last updated in 2015, hence the 9001:2015 designation) covers the requirements of developing and implementing a Quality Management System (QMS) within a business.

Organizations that are ISO 9001 compliant can show tangible proof that their products and services are high quality. It also shows that the organization actively monitors those products and services to assure their quality remains high. I served as TeraThink’s Quality Manager through this quest. I’m pleased to report that this past week we achieved ISO 9001:2015 compliance certification.

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TeraThink was recently named as one of the 2017 Best Places to Work in Virginia

TeraThink was recently named as one of the 2017 Best Places to Work in Virginia. The annual list of the Best Places to Work in Virginia was created by Virginia Business and Best Companies Group.

This statewide survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Virginia, benefiting the state’s economy, workforce and businesses. The 2017 Best Places to Work in Virginia list is made up of 100 companies.

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Making Information Management Work in Our Digital World

These filing cabinets have a lot of information to digitizeOne of our core solutions at TeraThink is Information Management. It is a term that we, and the industry, use to encompass a large collection of skills and expertise centered around content and information. Information Management is also a critical part of everything organizations do every day.

How do we define that collection of skills? Stated from a high level:

Information Management (IM) is a strategy for the coordinated management of all information throughout an organization, allowing for people and systems to find and use information from within any business context.

The goal is to provide people the right information at the right time and be confident that nothing is being overlooked. We make sure that information flows as needed between every system and process. Whether we are talking about governance, content, or digital transformation, IM is at the heart of every project and sets up long-term success for our clients.

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Heck of a Hack

HR Director Blair Todd briefing the Dominion hackathon teams

Earlier this month, we held our first company hackathon in our new office. It proved to be a great day and a tremendous learning experience for our company and particularly all of the employees who got the chance to participate. I had the opportunity to help facilitate the day’s activities. I thought take a moment to reflect on what I thought was a very successful event.

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All About Design at the 2016 Information Governance Conference

Laurence Hart of Dominion Consulting participating in the closing keynote panel of the 2016 Information Governance ConferenceThis year’s Information Governance Conference (InfoGovCon) in Providence, RI last week was a great experience and I was excited to represent TeraThink at it. During what is quickly becoming the premier event in the industry, a milestone was marked in the evolution of the information governance industry. Loaded with some amazing speakers, the conference had a feeling of an industry who is trying new ideas and advocating for a complete change to how we approach the management, and subsequent governance, of information.

The key focal point was on the people working with information in our organizations. How can we remove the friction between people and the content management systems (CMS) that we implement? Specifically, how can we use design thinking to improve the user experience? This new focus on design and people was present in keynotes, individual talks, and in the hallway conversations. While there were still a lot of war stories shared, there was an underpinning of hope that we can make real progress.

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Building Trust in Shared Services

Dominion Consulting's booth at Shared Services SummitWhat is TeraThink’s role in Shared Services and how do we apply it to our solution areas?

I found myself thinking about this question while I attended the AGA/IAC Shared Services Summit last week. Within the industry, most agree with the long term vision of this most recent Shared Services initiative, which is consolidating Financial Management to four approved Federal Shared Service Providers. I listened to a number of excellent speakers talk about the importance of moving to Shared Services, the benefits with respect to minimizing Total Cost of Ownership, bringing efficiencies in how the government operates financial management, and most importantly allowing an agency to “focus on its mission”.

I agree with all of those principles, but I also found a common theme amongst the speakers…the need and want for agencies to do something that is often lost in government…and that is build trust. Trust is something I have often heard from my clients when discussing Shared Services. The thought that “we have been doing this so long, no one else does it like us”, so how can we trust another Federal Agency successful manage our financial management system in a Shared Service environment.

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Bringing Digital Transformation to the Information Governance

Next week I’ll be representing TeraThink at the 3rd annual Information Governance Conference (InfoGovCon) in Providence, Rhode Island on October 12 and 13. I have attended the previous conferences, and as with the annual AIIM conference, simply sharing ideas and stories with the other attendees is worth the trip. This year I have an additional reason for attending, I am delivering the closing keynote on the first day.

I am pretty excited about this opportunity. When the Information Coalition, the organizers, contacted me about speaking. I was very excited. I spoke the first year at InfoGovCon and was interested in delivering a follow-up talk. Delivering the follow-up as a keynote is an unexpected honor.

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