I P M A  News

  Information Processing Management Associates March 1994  

IPMA Board of Directors

March Luncheon Speaker
Steve Galea

This month’s speaker will be Steve Galea. He is with Boeing Computer Services where he is the process owner for executive level reporting of software metrics.

Software measurement is the key to understanding the software engineering process. Steve will describe the important principles of software measurement and Function Point Analysis. He will show how a comprehensive metrics program can focus management on the software development process and improve customer satisfaction.

Never heard of function points? Here’s a few ways MIS managers have-used them:

• A company was able to prove that maintenance charges proposed by a vendor were $600,000 too high.

• A corporation determined that it would save $2,500,000 by developing a new system in-house.

• A manager was able to prove that his department was 20 percent more productive in new development.

• A manufacturer avoided a multimillion dollar cost overrun by detecting erroneous estimates for new development before management commitments were made.

Come have lunch with friends and associates at the Tyee in the Olympia Room on March 3rd and learn more about these exciting new tools. When you decide to come, please call the  IPMA voice messaging system at 786-1979 and tell me how many will be in your party.

--Phil Coates


The Future of Mainframes

Though the Gartner Group (InSide Gartner Group This Week, January 12, 1994) predicts that mainframe market share will erode to something less than 50 percent of new-system shipments by the year 1998, they caution that~ "Not all applications should be moved immediately; mainframes will have a useful purpose in many enterprises for years to come." This is particularly so when the task involves "re-engineering massive, mission-critical, integrated application suites."

"Computer Systems don’t age gracefully according to Bruce Caldwell and Robert Moran, authors of Down the Drain , Information Week, May 24, 1993. "As they grow older, they eat more and more resources, getting fatter and - moving more slowly with each passing month." In fact, Caldwell and Moran estimate that the cost of maintaining or overhauling old mainframe systems can cost as much as 80 percent of an information systems department’s programming staff and dollars.

Peter Nulty, author of When to Murder Your Mainframe, Fortune. magazine, November 1, 1993, says "switching to networks from mainframes, sometimes called downsizing, is proving slow and treacherous." But, "the mainframe’s inflexibility in the face of accelerating change" is seen as a "wall" that must be overcome in order for organizations to be competitive. In fact, many information systems departments are seen by management as an obstacle to nimbleness because of "their unwieldy mainframes.

How aggressive should an organization be in adopting alternatives to mainframes? .The Gartner Group says "The answer depends on the corporate culture. of the company as a whole: how aggressive its information technology strategies are, how well its IS organization can assimilate new technology, and how well developed the business context for the new architecture is."

If you are under pressure to move to client/server computing, "remember that the technology is young and evolving rapidly...and...that your aging mainframe may not be completely obsolete--yet" according to Peter Nulty.

—N. A. "Butch" Stussy


Join Us For Lunch

The March IPMA Luncheon will be:

Date: March 3, 1994
Time: 12:00 Noon
Location: Tyee Hotel, Olympia Room
Speaker: Steve-Galea, BCS
Topic: Function Point Analysis


IPMA News Is Changing

Based on a discussion at the IPMA Board retreat, we will be adding some new features to the newsletter. We will publish job openings and notices of surplus equipment. In addition, we will - have regular updates on the most publicized projects in the state: ACES’ GUIDE, and LAMP. Also, we plan to include some advertising in-future issues of the newsletter. We will publish the business cards of vendors and consultants for a cost of five dollars per issue. If you are interested in this service, please send your business card and payment to:

IPMA News
P0 Box 915
Olympia, WA 98507-0915

Make checks payable to the IPMA.

--Karen Lichtenstein


Healthy Organizations

Healthy organizations don’t happen by accident, nor are they the result of consultant incantations. Healthy. organizations spring from introspection and action.

In order for organizations to maintain their vitality, flexibility, and focused purpose they must have a continuous process of setting goals and objectives, collecting data about the status quo, planning and taking action, and evaluating the effects of the actions. Actions should be continuously evaluated for their contribution to goal achievement and goals should be continuously evaluated for their appropriateness. -

By comparing "what is" with "what should be" an organization determines the gaps that exist between actual and desired conditions. Appropriate solutions can then be identified and action plans developed to overcome the gaps.

Here are some assumptions about people, management, and leadership that may help you better understand your organization and its people:

• Organizations are like living organisms and as such issues, events, forces, and incidents do not happen in isolation -- they occur in relation to other events, issues, forces, and incidents and therefore cannot be studied in isolation.

• Problems will stay solved longer and more effectively if an organization identifies and solves its-own problems.

• Healthy organizations set goals, develop action plans with specific assignments and schedules, and evaluate progress toward achieving their goals.

• In order for individuals to function effectively their team must be functioning effectively.

• Leaders of groups cannot perform their duties effectively all of the time without assistance from other members of their group.

• The level of ‘trust and cooperation among -- group members is generally much lower than is desirable or necessary for effective performance.

• Most people want to become more of what they are capable of becoming in an environment that is supportive and challenging.

• Most people have-a desire and are capable of making more of a contribution toward organizational goals than most organizational environments allow them.’

• Management and subordinate-attitudes and ‘actions are influenced by general conditions of trust, support, openness, and team work among members of a group.

• In general, improved organizational performance takes time to accomplish and to sustain it over long periods of time must be supported by appropriate changes ‘inz-the performance appraisal, compensation, training, staffing, and other related support systems.

And guess what? It is possible for people within an organization to collaboratively manage the behavior, beliefs, technology, values, and tasks of an organization in such a way that the mission and goals of the organization are achieved while furthering the values of individual members of the organization.

—N. A. "Butch" Stussy


Memorable Quotes

"Most ailing organizations have developed a functional blindness to their own defects. They are not suffering because they cannot resolve their problems but because they cannot see their problems."--John Gardner

"Experience is not what happens to you but what you make of what happens to you." --Aldous Huxley

"You can take my factories, bum up my buildings, but give me my people and I’ll build the business right back again." --Henry Ford


New Members

Please join the Board in welcoming our newest members:

Tom Johns
Javad Naini
Sam Martin
Bob Payne
Robert Barnoski


ACES Project Update

The ACES project is in good health. The project is on target for beginning pilot testing one year from now--February 1995. Equipment installation will begin in DSHS Community Service Offices in April of this year, and -the program specifications will be complete at the end of April of this year.

Federal budget legislation resulted in a reduction in the federal funds for ACES, but DSHS is now optimistic that state funds will be provided to make up for most of the shortfall. This optimism is based on the public support of the ACES Supplemental budget request articulated by Senator Nita Rinehart and echoed by Senator Phil Talmadge.

This support was obtained after a sustained exhibition of Exective support by DSHS Secretary Jean Soliz and Deputy Secretary Suzanne Petersen. In addition, a comparative demonstration showod legislators how ACES would be used to determine eligibility more rapidly than the current process.

—Judy-Schneider


IPMA News Editor

IPMA News is the official newsletter of Information Processing Management Associates, Inc.

Karen Lichtenstein, Editor
IPMA News
P. O. Box 9l5
Olympia, WA 98507-0915
FAX 753-3575

Newsletter layout and production is provided by the Strategic Management Institute.