25 December 2019

Programming: Mea Culpa I

I started programming at 14-15 years old with logical schemas made on paper, based mainly on simple mathematical algorithms like solving equations of second degree, finding prime or special numbers, and other simple tricks from the mathematical world available for a student at that age. It was challenging to learn programming based only on schemas, though, looking back, I think it was the best learning basis a programmer could have, because it allowed me thinking logically and it was also a good exercise, as one was forced to validate mentally or on paper the outputs.

Then I moved to learning Basic and later Pascal on old generation Spectrum computers, mainly having a keyboard with 64K memory and an improvised monitor. It felt almost like a holiday when one had the chance to work 45 minutes or so on an IBM computer with just 640K memory. It was also a motivation to stay long after hours to write a few more lines of code. Even if it made no big difference in what concerns the speed, the simple idea of using a more advanced computer was a big deal.

The jump from logical schemas to actual programming was huge, as we moved from static formulas to exploratory methods like the ones of finding the roots of equations of upper degrees by using approximation methods, working with permutations and a few other combinatoric tools, interpolation methods, and so on. Once I got my own 64K Spectrum keyboard, a new world opened, having more time to play with 2- and 3-dimensional figures, location problems and so on. It was probably the time I got most interesting exposure to things not found in the curricula.  

Further on, during the university years I moved to Fortran, back to Pascal and dBASE, and later to C and C++, the focus being further on mathematical and sorting algorithms, working with matrices, and so on. I have to admit that it was a big difference between the students who came from 2-3 hours of Informatics per week (like I did) and the ones coming from lyceums specialized on Informatics, this especially during years in which learning materials were almost inexistent. In the end all went well.

The jumping through so many programming languages, some quite old for the respective times, even if allowed acquiring different perspectives, it felt sometimes like  a waste of time, especially when one was limited to using the campus computers, and that only during lab hours. That was the reality of those times. Fortunately, the university years went faster than they came. Almost one year after graduation, with a little help, some effort and benevolence, I managed to land a job as web developer, jumping from an interlude with Java to ASP, JavaScript, HTML, ColdFusion, ActionScript, SQL, XML and a few other programming languages ‘en vogue’ during the 2000.

Somewhere between graduation and my first job, my life changed when I was able to buy my own PC (a Pentium). It was the best investment I could make, mainly because it allowed me to be independent of what I was doing at work. It allowed me learning the basics of OOP programming based on Visual Basic and occasionally on Visual C++ and C#. Most of the meaningful learning happened after work, from the few books available, full of mistakes and other challenges.

That was my beginning. It is not my intent to brag about how much or how many programming languages I learned - knowledge is anyway relative - but to differentiate between the realities of then and today, as a bridge over time.

22 December 2019

SQL Server New Features: Using the R Language in SQL Server 2016 (Hello World & Working with Data Frames)

One of the most interesting features coming with SQL Server 2016 is the possibility to run external scripts written in the R language or Python, taking thus advantage of the numerical and statistical packages coming with the respective languages. The next examples are based on the R language.

As the scripts in R are considered as external scripts, is needed first to enable the 'external scripts enabled' configuration option by using the following script (a server restart is required):

-- enable external scripts 
sp_configure 'external scripts enabled', 1;
RECONFIGURE WITH OVERRIDE;

To makes sure that the functionality works as expected, it makes sense to attempt first a "hello world" example:

-- hello world script
EXECUTE sp_execute_external_script 
        @language = N'R',  
        @script = N'print("Hello world")'



The R language come with a few predefined datasets and for the following examples I’ll be using the mtcars dataset. Because the dataset contains several columns, I will use only the first 3. For this one care run a script as the following into the R console:


Usually it’s useful to look first at the structure of the dataset, this by using str(mtcars) command in the R console:


To return the dataset from R one can use the following call to the sp_execute_external_script stored procedure:

  -- returning the first 3 columns 
 EXEC sp_execute_external_script  
       @language = N'R'  
     , @script = N'cars <- mtcars[1:3];'
     , @input_data_1 = N''  
     , @output_data_1_name = N'cars'
     WITH RESULT SETS (("mpg" float not null 
         , "cyl" float not null 
         , "disp" float not null 
       ));  


As can be seen, besides the script is needed to define a variable in which the returning dataset is stored, as well the resulting dataset. Unfortunately, this script doesn’t return rows’ names. To do that I had to use a small trick by concatenating the initial data frame with the one resulting from row’s names. (Please let me know if you have another way of achieving the same.)

The script becomes:

 -- returning the first 3 columns including rows' name
 EXEC   sp_execute_external_script  
       @language = N'R'  
     , @script = N'cars <- data.frame(rownames(mtcars), mtcars[1:3]);'
     , @input_data_1 = N''  
     , @output_data_1_name = N'cars'
     WITH RESULT SETS (("Car" varchar(100)
      , "mpg" float not null 
      , "cyl" float not null 
      , "disp" float not null 
       ));  



To reuse the script, it can be included in a stored procedure, similarly like the examples provided by the Microsoft documentation for the sp_execute_external_script stored procedure.

A few pointers:
1. It’s useful to test your scripts first in the R console.
2. If 'external scripts enabled' was not enabled, then the following error message will appear:
Msg 39023, Level 16, State 1, Procedure sp_execute_external_script, Line 1 [Batch Start Line 22]
'sp_execute_external_script' is disabled on this instance of SQL Server. Use sp_configure 'external scripts enabled' to enable it.

3. It might be needed to start the “SQL Server Launchpad” service manually, a hint in this direction comes from the following error message:
Msg 39011, Level 16, State 1, Line 24
SQL Server was unable to communicate with the LaunchPad service. Please verify the configuration of the service.
 
4. Once the examples tested, it might be recommended to disable the 'external scripts enabled' configuration option as long is not needed anymore.
5. Check the various ways to analyse the mtcars dataset using the R language: https://rpubs.com/BillB/217355

Graphics: Drawing Function Plots with R

Besides the fact that is free, one of the advantages of the R language is that it allows drawing function plots with simple commands. All one needs is software package like Microsoft R Open and one is set to go.

For example, to draw the function f(x) = x^3-3*x+2 all one needs to do is to type the following command into the console:

curve(x^3-3*x+2, -3,3)



One can display a second function into the same chart by adding a second command and repeat the process further as needed:

curve(x^2-3*x+2, add=TRUE, col="blue")
curve(x^4-3*x+2, add=TRUE, col="red")
curve(x^5-3*x+2, add=TRUE, col="green")


As one can see a pattern emerges already …

One could easily display the plots in their one section by defining an array on the display device, allowing thus to focus on special characteristics of the functions:

par(mfrow=c(2,2))
curve(x^3-3*x+2, -3,3)
curve(x^2-3*x+2, -3,3, col="blue")
curve(x^4-3*x+2, -3,3, col="red")
curve(x^5-3*x+2, -3,3, col="green")



One can be creative and display the functions using a loop:

par(mfrow=c(2,2))
for(n in c(2:5)){
curve(x^n-3*x+2, -3,3)
}


Similarly, one can plot trigonometric functions:

par(mfrow=c(2,3))
curve(sin(x),-pi,pi) 
curve(cos(x),-pi,pi) 
curve(tan(x),-pi,pi) 
curve(1/tan(x),-pi,pi) 
curve(asin(x),-1,1)
curve(acos(x),-1,1)


The possibilities are endless. For complex functions one can include the function into an r function:

myFunction<- function(x) sin(cos(x)*exp(-x/2))
curve(myFunction, -15, 15, n=1000)


For the SQL Server developers, what’s even greater is the possibility of using Management Studio for the same, though that’s a topic for another post.

16 December 2019

IT: Technology (Just the Quotes)

"Systems engineering embraces every scientific and technical concept known, including economics, management, operations, maintenance, etc. It is the job of integrating an entire problem or problem to arrive at one overall answer, and the breaking down of this answer into defined units which are selected to function compatibly to achieve the specified objectives. [...] Instrument and control engineering is but one aspect of systems engineering - a vitally important and highly publicized aspect, because the ability to create automatic controls within overall systems has made it possible to achieve objectives never before attainable, While automatic controls are vital to systems which are to be controlled, every aspect of a system is essential. Systems engineering is unbiased, it demands only what is logically required. Control engineers have been the leaders in pulling together a systems approach in the various technologies." (Instrumentation Technology, 1957)

"Doing engineering is practicing the art of the organized forcing of technological change." (George Spencer-Brown, Electronics, Vol. 32 (47),  1959)

"The decision which achieves organization objectives must be both (1) technologically sound and (2) carried out by people. If we lose sight of the second requirement or if we assume naively that people can be made to carry out whatever decisions are technically soundwe run the risk of decreasing rather than increasing the effectiveness of the organization." (Douglas McGregor, "The Human Side of Enterprise", 1960)

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." (Arthur C Clarke, "Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible", 1962)

"Science is the reduction of the bewildering diversity of unique events to manageable uniformity within one of a number of symbol systems, and technology is the art of using these symbol systems so as to control and organize unique events. Scientific observation is always a viewing of things through the refracting medium of a symbol system, and technological praxis is always handling of things in ways that some symbol system has dictated. Education in science and technology is essentially education on the symbol level." (Aldous L Huxley, "Essay", Daedalus, 1962)

"Engineering is the art of skillful approximation; the practice of gamesmanship in the highest form. In the end it is a method broad enough to tame the unknown, a means of combing disciplined judgment with intuition, courage with responsibility, and scientific competence within the practical aspects of time, of cost, and of talent. This is the exciting view of modern-day engineering that a vigorous profession can insist be the theme for education and training of its youth. It is an outlook that generates its strength and its grandeur not in the discovery of facts but in their application; not in receiving, but in giving. It is an outlook that requires many tools of science and the ability to manipulate them intelligently In the end, it is a welding of theory and practice to build an early, strong, and useful result. Except as a valuable discipline of the mind, a formal education in technology is sterile until it is applied." (Ronald B Smith, "Professional Responsibility of Engineering", Mechanical Engineering Vol. 86 (1), 1964)

"It is a commonplace of modern technology that there is a high measure of certainty that problems have solutions before there is knowledge of how they are to be solved." (John K Galbraith, "The New Industrial State", 1967)

"In many ways, project management is similar to functional or traditional management. The project manager, however, may have to accomplish his ends through the efforts of individuals who are paid and promoted by someone else in the chain of command. The pacing factor in acquiring a new plant, in building a bridge, or in developing a new product is often not technology, but management. The technology to accomplish an ad hoc project may be in hand but cannot be put to proper use because the approach to the management is inadequate and unrealistic. Too often this failure can be attributed to an attempt to fit the project to an existing management organization, rather than molding the management to fit the needs of the project. The project manager, therefore, is somewhat of a maverick in the business world. No set pattern exists by which he can operate. His philosophy of management may depart radically from traditional theory." (David I Cleland & William R King, "Systems Analysis and Project Management", 1968)

"Technological invention and innovation are the business of engineering. They are embodied in engineering change." (Daniel V DeSimone & Hardy Cross, "Education for Innovation", 1968)

"Advanced technology required the collaboration of diverse professions and organizations, often with ambiguous or highly interdependent jurisdictions. In such situations, many of our highly touted rational management techniques break down; and new non-engineering approaches are necessary for the solution of these 'systems' problems." (Leonard R Sayles &Margaret K Chandler, "Managing Large Systems: The Large-Scale Approach", 1971)

"It follows from this that man's most urgent and pre-emptive need is maximally to utilize cybernetic science and computer technology within a general systems framework, to build a meta-systemic reality which is now only dimly envisaged. Intelligent and purposeful application of rapidly developing telecommunications and teleprocessing technology should make possible a degree of worldwide value consensus heretofore unrealizable." (Richard F Ericson, "Visions of Cybernetic Organizations", 1972)

"Technology can relieve the symptoms of a problem without affecting the underlying causes. Faith in technology as the ultimate solution to all problems can thus divert our attention from the most fundamental problem - the problem of growth in a finite system." (Donella A Meadows, "The Limits to Growth", 1972)

"Modern scientific principle has been drawn from the investigation of natural laws, technology has developed from the experience of doing, and the two have been combined by means of mathematical system to form what we call engineering." (George S Emmerson, "Engineering Education: A Social History", 1973)

"The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology." (Ernst F Schumacher, "Small is Beautiful", 1973)

"Above all, innovation is not invention. It is a term of economics rather than of technology. [...] The measure of innovation is the impact on the environment. [...] To manage innovation, a manager has to be at least literate with respect to the dynamics of innovation." (Peter F Drucker, "People and Performance", 1977)

"Numeracy has two facets-reading and writing, or extracting numerical information and presenting it. The skills of data presentation may at first seem ad hoc and judgmental, a matter of style rather than of technology, but certain aspects can be formalized into explicit rules, the equivalent of elementary syntax." (Andrew Ehrenberg, "Rudiments of Numeracy", Journal of Royal Statistical Society, 1977)

"Engineering or Technology is the making of things that did not previously exist, whereas science is the discovering of things that have long existed." (David Billington, "The Tower and the Bridge: The New Art of Structural Engineering", 1983)

"No matter how high or how excellent technology may be and how much capital may be accumulated, unless the group of human beings which comprise the enterprise works together toward one unified goal, the enterprise is sure to go down the path of decline." (Takashi Ishihara, Cherry Blossoms and Robotics, 1983)

"People’s views of the world, of themselves, of their own capabilities, and of the tasks that they are asked to perform, or topics they are asked to learn, depend heavily on the conceptualizations that they bring to the task. In interacting with the environment, with others, and with the artifacts of technology, people form internal, mental models of themselves and of the things with which they are interacting. These models provide predictive and explanatory power for understanding the interaction." (Donald A Norman, "Some observations on Mental Models", 1983)

"With the changes in technological complexity, especially in information technology, the leadership task has changed. Leadership in a networked organization is a fundamentally different thing from leadership in a traditional hierarchy." (Edgar Schein, "Organizational Culture and Leadership", 1985)

"[Computer and other technical managers] must become business managers or risk landing on the technological rubbish heap." (Jim Leeke, PC Week, 1987)

"Most managers are not capable of making decisions involving complex technological matters without help - lots of it. [...] The finest technical people on the job should have a dual role: doing technical work and advising management." (Philip W Metzger, "Managing Programming People", 1987)

"People don't want to understand all the components; they just want to make it [the technology] happen." (Bernadine Nicodemus, PC Week, 1987)

"The major problems of our work are not so much technological as sociological in nature. Most managers are willing to concede the idea that they’​​​​​​ve got more people worries than technical worries. But they seldom manage that way. They manage as though technology were their principal concern. They spend their time puzzling over the most convoluted and most interesting puzzles that their people will have to solve, almost as though they themselves were going to do the work rather than manage it. […] The main reason we tend to focus on the technical rather than the human side of the work is not because it’​​​​​​s more crucial, but because it’​​​​​​s easier to do." (Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister, "Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams", 1987)

"Information technology can capture and process data, and expert systems can to some extent supply knowledge, enabling people to make their own decisions. As the doers become self-managing and self-controlling, hierarchy - and the slowness and bureaucracy associated with it - disappears." (Michael M Hammer, "Reengineering Work: Don't Automate, Obliterate", Magazine, 1990) [source]

"The new information technologies can be seen to drive societies toward increasingly dynamic high-energy regions further and further from thermodynamical equilibrium, characterized by decreasing specific entropy and increasingly dense free-energy flows, accessed and processed by more and more complex social, economic, and political structures." (Ervin László, "Information Technology and Social Change: An Evolutionary Systems Analysis", Behavioral Science 37, 1992) 

"Now that knowledge is taking the place of capital as the driving force in organizations worldwide, it is all too easy to confuse data with knowledge and information technology with information." (Peter Drucker, "Managing in a Time of Great Change", 1995)

"Commonly, the threats to strategy are seen to emanate from outside a company because of changes in technology or the behavior of competitors. Although external changes can be the problem, the greater threat to strategy often comes from within. A sound strategy is undermined by a misguided view of competition, by organizational failures, and, especially, by the desire to grow." (Michael E Porter, "What is Strategy?", Harvard Business Review, 1996)

"Management is a set of processes that can keep a complicated system of people and technology running smoothly. The most important aspects of management include planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, controlling, and problem solving. Leadership is a set of processes that creates organizations in the first place or adapts them to significantly changing circumstances. Leadership defines what the future should look like, aligns people with that vision, and inspires them to make it happen despite the obstacles." (John P Kotter, "Leading Change", 1996)

"Networks constitute the new social morphology of our societies, and the diffusion of networking logic substantially modifies the operation and outcomes in processes of production, experience, power, and culture. While the networking form of social organization has existed in other times and spaces, the new information technology paradigm provides the material basis for its pervasive expansion throughout the entire social structure." (Manuel Castells, "The Rise of the Network Society", 1996)

"Issues of quality, timeliness and change are the conditions that are forcing us to face up to the issues of enterprise architecture. The precedent of all the older disciplines known today establishes the concept of architecture as central to the ability to produce quality and timely results and to manage change in complex products. Architecture is the cornerstone for containing enterprise frustration and leveraging technology innovations to fulfill the expectations of a viable and dynamic Information Age enterprise." (John Zachman, "Enterprise Architecture: The Issue of The Century", 1997)

"The Enterprise Architecture is the explicit description of the current and desired relationships among business and management process and information technology. It describes the 'target' situation which the agency wishes to create and maintain by managing its IT portfolio." (Franklin D Raines, 1997)

"Beauty is more important in computing than anywhere else in technology because software is so complicated. Beauty is the ultimate defense against complexity." (David Gelernter, "Machine Beauty: Elegance And The Heart Of Technolog", 1998)

"Modelling techniques on powerful computers allow us to simulate the behaviour of complex systems without having to understand them.  We can do with technology what we cannot do with science.  […] The rise of powerful technology is not an unconditional blessing.  We have  to deal with what we do not understand, and that demands new  ways of thinking." (Paul Cilliers,"Complexity and Postmodernism: Understanding Complex Systems", 1998)

"A primary reason that evolution - of life-forms or technology - speeds up is that it builds on its own increasing order." (Ray Kurzweil, "The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence", 1999) 

"As systems became more varied and more complex, we find that no single methodology suffices to deal with them. This is particularly true of what may be called information intelligent systems - systems which form the core of modern technology. To conceive, design, analyze and use such systems we frequently have to employ the totality of tools that are available. Among such tools are the techniques centered on fuzzy logic, neurocomputing, evolutionary computing, probabilistic computing and related methodologies. It is this conclusion that formed the genesis of the concept of soft computing." (Lotfi A Zadeh, "The Birth and Evolution of Fuzzy Logic: A personal perspective", 1999)

"Enterprise architecture is a family of related architecture components. This include information architecture, organization and business process architecture, and information technology architecture. Each consists of architectural representations, definitions of architecture entities, their relationships, and specification of function and purpose. Enterprise architecture guides the construction and development of business organizations and business processes, and the construction and development of supporting information systems." (Gordon B Davis, "The Blackwell encyclopedic dictionary of management information systems"‎, 1999)

"Enterprise architecture is a holistic representation of all the components of the enterprise and the use of graphics and schemes are used to emphasize all parts of the enterprise, and how they are interrelated. [...] Enterprise architectures are used to deal with intra-organizational processes, interorganizational cooperation and coordination, and their shared use of information and information technologies. Business developments, such as outsourcing, partnership, alliances and Electronic Data Interchange, extend the need for architecture across company boundaries." (Gordon B Davis," The Blackwell encyclopedic dictionary of management information systems"‎, 1999)

"We do not learn much from looking at a model - we learn more from building the model and manipulating it. Just as one needs to use or observe the use of a hammer in order to really understand its function, similarly, models have to be used before they will give up their secrets. In this sense, they have the quality of a technology - the power of the model only becomes apparent in the context of its use." (Margaret Morrison & Mary S Morgan, "Models as mediating instruments", 1999)

"Periods of rapid change and high exponential growth do not, typically, last long. A new equilibrium with a new dominant technology and/or competitor is likely to be established before long. Periods of punctuation are therefore exciting and exhibit unusual uncertainty. The payoff from establishing a dominant position in this short time is therefore extraordinarily high. Dominance is more likely to come from skill in marketing and positioning than from superior technology itself." (Richar Koch, "The Power Laws", 2000)

"The business changes. The technology changes. The team changes. The team members change. The problem isn't change, per se, because change is going to happen; the problem, rather, is the inability to cope with change when it comes." (Kent Beck, "Extreme Programming Explained", 2000)

"A well-functioning team of adequate people will complete a project almost regardless of the process or technology they are asked to use (although the process and technology may help or hinder them along the way)." (Alistair Cockburn, "Agile Software Development", 2001)

"An Enterprise Architecture is a dynamic and powerful tool that helps organisations understand their own structure and the way they work. It provides a ‘map’ of the enterprise and a ‘route planner’ for business and technology change. A well-constructed Enterprise Architecture provides a foundation for the ‘Agile’ business." (Bob Jarvis, "Enterprise Architecture: Understanding the Bigger Picture - A Best Practice Guide for Decision Makers in IT", 2003)

"Normally an EA takes the form of a comprehensive set of cohesive models that describe the structure and functions of an enterprise. An important use is in systematic IT planning and architecting, and in enhanced decision-making. The EA can be regarded as the ‘master architecture’ that contains all the subarchitectures for an enterprise. The individual models in an EA are arranged in a logical manner that provides an ever-increasing level of detail about the enterprise: its objectives and goals; its processes and organisation; its systems and data; the technology used and any other relevant spheres of interest." (Bob Jarvis, "Enterprise Architecture: Understanding the Bigger Picture - A Best Practice Guide for Decision Makers in IT", 2003)

"Technology can relieve the symptoms of a problem without affecting the underlying causes. Faith in technology as the ultimate solution to all problems can thus divert our attention from the most fundamental problem - the problem of growth in a finite system - and prevent us from taking effective action to solve it." (Donella H Meadows & Dennis L Meadows, "The Limits to Growth: The 30 Year Update", 2004)

"Although the Singularity has many faces, its most important implication is this: our technology will match and then vastly exceed the refinement and suppleness of what we regard as the best of human traits." (Ray Kurzweil, "The Singularity is Near", 2005)

"The Singularity will represent the culmination of the merger of our biological thinking and existence with our technology, resulting in a world that is still human but that transcends our biological roots. There will be no distinction, post-Singularity, between human and machine or between physical and virtual reality. If you wonder what will remain unequivocally human in such a world, it’s simply this quality: ours is the species that inherently seeks to extend its physical and mental reach beyond current limitations." (Ray Kurzweil, "The Singularity is Near", 2005)

"Businesses are themselves a form of design. The design of a business encompasses its strategy, organizational structure, management processes, culture, and a host of other factors. Business designs evolve over time through a process of differentiation, selection, and amplification, with the market as the ultimate arbiter of fitness [...] the three-way coevolution of physical technologies, social technologies, and business designs [...] accounts for the patterns of change and growth we see in the economy." (Eric D Beinhocker, "The Origin of Wealth. Evolution, complexity, and the radical remaking of economics", 2006)

"Enterprise architecture is the organizing logic for business processes and IT infrastructure reflecting the integration and standardization requirements of a company's operation model. […] The key to effective enterprise architecture is to identify the processes, data, technology, and customer interfaces that take the operating model from vision to reality." (Jeanne W Ross et al, "Enterprise architecture as strategy: creating a foundation for business", 2006)

"Chance is just as real as causation; both are modes of becoming.  The way to model a random process is to enrich the mathematical theory of probability with a model of a random mechanism. In the sciences, probabilities are never made up or 'elicited' by observing the choices people make, or the bets they are willing to place.  The reason is that, in science and technology, interpreted probability exactifies objective chance, not gut feeling or intuition. No randomness, no probability." (Mario Bunge, "Chasing Reality: Strife over Realism", 2006)

"Most dashboards fail to communicate efficiently and effectively, not because of inadequate technology (at least not primarily), but because of poorly designed implementations. No matter how great the technology, a dashboard's success as a medium of communication is a product of design, a result of a display that speaks clearly and immediately. Dashboards can tap into the tremendous power of visual perception to communicate, but only if those who implement them understand visual perception and apply that understanding through design principles and practices that are aligned with the way people see and think." (Stephen Few, "Information Dashboard Design", 2006)

"Enterprise architecture is the process of translating business vision and strategy into effective enterprise change by creating, communicating and improving the key requirements, principles and models that describe the enterprise's future state and enable its evolution. The scope of the enterprise architecture includes the people, processes, information and technology of the enterprise, and their relationships to one another and to the external environment. Enterprise architects compose holistic solutions that address the business challenges of the enterprise and support the governance needed to implement them." (Anne Lapkin et al, "Gartner Clarifies the Definition of the Term 'Enterprise Architecture", 2008)

"Synergy occurs when organizational parts interact to produce a joint effect that is greater than the sum of the parts acting alone. As a result the organization may attain a special advantage with respect to cost, market power, technology, or employee." (Richard L Daft, "The Leadership Experience" 4th Ed., 2008)

"The butterfly effect demonstrates that complex dynamical systems are highly responsive and interconnected webs of feedback loops. It reminds us that we live in a highly interconnected world. Thus our actions within an organization can lead to a range of unpredicted responses and unexpected outcomes. This seriously calls into doubt the wisdom of believing that a major organizational change intervention will necessarily achieve its pre-planned and highly desired outcomes. Small changes in the social, technological, political, ecological or economic conditions can have major implications over time for organizations, communities, societies and even nations." (Elizabeth McMillan, "Complexity, Management and the Dynamics of Change: Challenges for practice", 2008)

"What’s next for technology and design? A lot less thinking about technology for technology’s sake, and a lot more thinking about design. Art humanizes technology and makes it understandable. Design is needed to make sense of information overload. It is why art and design will rise in importance during this century as we try to make sense of all the possibilities that digital technology now affords." (John Maeda, "Why Apple Leads the Way in Design", 2010) 

"Enterprise Architecture presently appears to be a grossly misunderstood concept among management. It is NOT an Information Technology issue. It is an ENTERPRISE issue. It is likely perceived to be an Information Technology issue as opposed to a Management issue for two reasons: (1) Awareness of it tends to surface in the Enterprise through the Information Systems community. (2) Information Technology people seem to have the skills to do Enterprise Architecture if any Enterprise Architecture is being or is to be done." (John A Zachman, 2011)

"Today, technology has lowered the barrier for others to share their opinion about what we should be focusing on. It is not just information overload; it is opinion overload." (Greg McKeown, "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less", 2014)

"We have let ourselves become enchanted by big data only because we exoticize technology. We’re impressed with small feats accomplished by computers alone, but we ignore big achievements from complementarity because the human contribution makes them less uncanny. Watson, Deep Blue, and ever-better machine learning algorithms are cool. But the most valuable companies in the future won’t ask what problems can be solved with computers alone. Instead, they’ll ask: how can computers help humans solve hard problems?" (Peter Thiel & Blake Masters, "Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future", 2014)

"Always remember what you originally wanted the system to accomplish. Having the latest, greatest system and a flashy data center to boot is not what data processing is supposed to be all about. It is supposed to help the bottom line, not hinder it." (Richard S Rubin)

"The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency." (Bill Gates)

14 December 2019

Governance: Control (Just the Quotes)

"To manage is to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, to coordinate and to control. To foresee and plan means examining the future and drawing up the plan of action. To organize means building up the dual structure, material and human, of the undertaking. To command means binding together, unifying and harmonizing all activity and effort. To control means seeing that everything occurs in conformity with established rule and expressed demand." (Henri Fayol, 1916)

"The concern of OR with finding an optimum decision, policy, or design is one of its essential characteristics. It does not seek merely to define a better solution to a problem than the one in use; it seeks the best solution... [It] can be characterized as the application of scientific methods, techniques, and tools to problems involving the operations of systems so as to provide those in control of the operations with optimum solutions to the problems." (C West Churchman et al, "Introduction to Operations Research", 1957)

"Management is a distinct process consisting of planning, organising, actuating and controlling; utilising in each both science and art, and followed in order to accomplish pre-determined objectives." (George R Terry, "Principles of Management", 1960)

"The term architecture is used here to describe the attributes of a system as seen by the programmer, i.e., the conceptual structure and functional behavior, as distinct from the organization of the data flow and controls, the logical design, and the physical implementation." (Gene Amdahl et al, "Architecture of the IBM System", IBM Journal of Research and Development. Vol 8 (2), 1964)

"If cybernetics is the science of control, management is the profession of control." (Anthony S Beer, "Decision and Control", 1966)

"Most of our beliefs about complex organizations follow from one or the other of two distinct strategies. The closed-system strategy seeks certainty by incorporating only those variables positively associated with goal achievement and subjecting them to a monolithic control network. The open-system strategy shifts attention from goal achievement to survival and incorporates uncertainty by recognizing organizational interdependence with environment. A newer tradition enables us to conceive of the organization as an open system, indeterminate and faced with uncertainty, but subject to criteria of rationality and hence needing certainty." (James D Thompson, "Organizations in Action", 1967)

"Policy-making, decision-taking, and control: These are the three functions of management that have intellectual content." (Anthony S Beer, "Management Science" , 1968)

"The management of a system has to deal with the generation of the plans for the system, i. e., consideration of all of the things we have discussed, the overall goals, the environment, the utilization of resources and the components. The management sets the component goals, allocates the resources, and controls the system performance." (C West Churchman, "The Systems Approach", 1968)

"One difficulty in developing a good [accounting] control system is that quantitative results will differ according to the accounting principles used, and accounting principles may change." (Ernest Dale, "Readings in Management", 1970)

"To be productive the individual has to have control, to a substantial extent, over the speed, rhythm, and attention spans with which he is working […] While work is, therefore, best laid out as uniform, working is best organized with a considerable degree of diversity. Working requires latitude to change speed, rhythm, and attention span fairly often. It requires fairly frequent changes in operating routines as well. What is good industrial engineering for work is exceedingly poor human engineering for the worker." (Peter F Drucker, "Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices", 1973)

“A mature science, with respect to the matter of errors in variables, is not one that measures its variables without error, for this is impossible. It is, rather, a science which properly manages its errors, controlling their magnitudes and correctly calculating their implications for substantive conclusions.” (Otis D Duncan, “Introduction to Structural Equation Models”, 1975)

"When information is centralized and controlled, those who have it are extremely influential. Since information is [usually] localized in control subsystems, these subsystems have a great deal of organization influence." (Henry L Tosi & Stephen J Carroll, "Management", 1976)

"[...] when a variety of tasks have all to be performed in cooperation, syncronization, and communication, a business needs managers and a management. Otherwise, things go out of control; plans fail to turn into action; or, worse, different parts of the plans get going at different speeds, different times, and with different objectives and goals, and the favor of the 'boss' becomes more important than performance." (Peter F Drucker, "People and Performance", 1977)

"Uncontrolled variation is the enemy of quality." (W Edwards Deming, 1980)

"The key mission of contemporary management is to transcend the old models which limited the manager's role to that of controller, expert or morale booster. These roles do not produce the desired result of aligning the goals of the employees and the corporation. [...] These older models, vestiges of a bygone era, have served their function and must be replaced with a model of the manager as a developer of human resources." (Michael Durst, "Small Systems World", 1985)

"The outcome of any professional's effort depends on the ability to control working conditions." (Joseph A Raelin, "Clash of Cultures: Managers and Professionals", 1986)

"Executives have to start understanding that they have certain legal and ethical responsibilities for information under their control." (Jim Leeke, PC Week, 1987)

"Give up control even if it means the employees have to make some mistakes." (Frank Flores, Hispanic Business, 1987)

"In complex situations, we may rely too heavily on planning and forecasting and underestimate the importance of random factors in the environment. That reliance can also lead to delusions of control." (Hillel J Einhorn & Robin M. Hogarth, Harvard Business Review, 1987)

"Managers exist to plan, direct and control the project. Part of the way they control is to listen to and weigh advice. Once a decision is made, that's the way things should proceed until a new decision is reached. Erosion of management decisions by [support] people who always 'know better' undermines managers' credibility and can bring a project to grief." (Philip W Metzger, "Managing Programming People", 1987)

"To be effective, a manager must accept a decreasing degree of direct control." (Eric G Flamholtz & Yvonne Randal, "The Inner Game of Management", 1987)

"[Well-managed modern organizations] treat everyone as a source of creative input. What's most interesting is that they cannot be described as either democratically or autocratically managed. Their managers define the boundaries, and their people figure out the best way to do the job within those boundaries. The management style is an astonishing combination of direction and empowerment. They give up tight control in order to gain control over what counts: results." (Robert H Waterman, "The Renewal Factor", 1987)

"We have created trouble for ourselves in organizations by confusing control with order. This is no surprise, given that for most of its written history, leadership has been defined in terms of its control functions." (Margaret J Wheatley, "Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World", 1992)

"Management is not founded on observation and experiment, but on a drive towards a set of outcomes. These aims are not altogether explicit; at one extreme they may amount to no more than an intention to preserve the status quo, at the other extreme they may embody an obsessional demand for power, profit or prestige. But the scientist's quest for insight, for understanding, for wanting to know what makes the system tick, rarely figures in the manager's motivation. Secondly, and therefore, management is not, even in intention, separable from its own intentions and desires: its policies express them. Thirdly, management is not normally aware of the conventional nature of its intellectual processes and control procedures. It is accustomed to confuse its conventions for recording information with truths-about-the-business, its subjective institutional languages for discussing the business with an objective language of fact and its models of reality with reality itself." (Stanford Beer, "Decision and Control", 1994)

"Without some element of governance from the top, bottom-up control will freeze when options are many. Without some element of leadership, the many at the bottom will be paralysed with choices." (Kevin Kelly, "Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World", 1995)

"Management is a set of processes that can keep a complicated system of people and technology running smoothly. The most important aspects of management include planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, controlling, and problem solving." (John P Kotter, "Leading Change", 1996) 

"The manager [...] is understood as one who observes the causal structure of an organization in order to be able to control it [...] This is taken to mean that the manager can choose the goals of the organization and design the systems or actions to realize those goals [...]. The possibility of so choosing goals and strategies relies on the predictability provided by the efficient and formative causal structure of the organization, as does the possibility of managers staying 'in control' of their organization's development. According to this perspective, organizations become what they are because of the choices made by their managers." (Ralph D Stacey et al, "Complexity and Management: Fad or Radical Challenge to Systems Thinking?", 2000)

"Success or failure of a project depends upon the ability of key personnel to have sufficient data for decision-making. Project management is often considered to be both an art and a science. It is an art because of the strong need for interpersonal skills, and the project planning and control forms attempt to convert part of the 'art' into a science." (Harold Kerzner, "Strategic Planning for Project Management using a Project Management Maturity Model", 2001)

"The premise here is that the hierarchy lines on the chart are also the only communication conduit. Information can flow only along the lines. [...] The hierarchy lines are paths of authority. When communication happens only over the hierarchy lines, that's a priori evidence that the managers are trying to hold on to all control. This is not only inefficient but an insult to the people underneath." (Tom DeMarco, "Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency", 2001)

"Management can be defined as the attainment of organizational goals in an effective and efficient manner through planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling organizational resources." (Richard L Daft, "The Leadership Experience" 4th Ed., 2008)

"In a complex society, individuals, organizations, and states require a high degree of confidence - even if it is misplaced - in the short-term future and a reasonable degree of confidence about the longer term. In its absence they could not commit themselves to decisions, investments, and policies. Like nudging the frame of a pinball machine to influence the path of the ball, we cope with the dilemma of uncertainty by doing what we can to make our expectations of the future self-fulfilling. We seek to control the social and physical worlds not only to make them more predictable but to reduce the likelihood of disruptive and damaging shocks (e.g., floods, epidemics, stock market crashes, foreign attacks). Our fallback strategy is denial." (Richard N Lebow, "Forbidden Fruit: Counterfactuals and International Relations", 2010)

"Without precise predictability, control is impotent and almost meaningless. In other words, the lesser the predictability, the harder the entity or system is to control, and vice versa. If our universe actually operated on linear causality, with no surprises, uncertainty, or abrupt changes, all future events would be absolutely predictable in a sort of waveless orderliness." (Lawrence K Samuels, "Defense of Chaos", 2013)

"The problem of complexity is at the heart of mankind’s inability to predict future events with any accuracy. Complexity science has demonstrated that the more factors found within a complex system, the more chances of unpredictable behavior. And without predictability, any meaningful control is nearly impossible. Obviously, this means that you cannot control what you cannot predict. The ability ever to predict long-term events is a pipedream. Mankind has little to do with changing climate; complexity does." (Lawrence K Samuels, "The Real Science Behind Changing Climate", LewRockwell.com, August 1, 2014) 
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