Join us Aug 6! Women in Tech Event & Documentary Launch Party

Dream Girl

Join Control Group and NY Tech Meetup on August 6 for a Women in Tech NYC casual summer happy hour to celebrate the launch campaign of Dream, Girl.

Dream, Girl is a documentary film redefining what it means to be a boss. We know the names of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates. But what about female entrepreneurs? What’s their story? What do their lives look like? For the last six months the Dream, Girl production team has been finding out just that. We have been interviewing and talking to female CEOs in the startup community to find out what drives them and how to be the boss. The film’s all female crew Erin Bagwell, Mary Perrino, Sara Waber & Kat Lazo encourage you to support their kickstarter campaign and empower the next generation of leaders to dream big. Dream, Girl. Learn more at: http://dreamgirlfilm.com/

Space is limited! RSVP here!

About Women in Tech NYC – Women in Tech NYC was founded by NY Tech Meetup, Control Group, and Girl Develop IT, with the goal of increasing the number of women participating in New York’s technology industry by gathering, coordinating, and amplifying the work of organizations throughout NYC that provide opportunities for women and girls to engage and lead in the industry through education, networking, mentorship, and career development. http://www.womenintechnyc.com/

Control Group awarded DoITT Class 1 Systems Integration Contract

Technology is critical to New York’s place as a 21st Century city. Not just because tech brings lots of investment and jobs—but because successful cities have always thrived on the disruption new technology brings.

Mayor de Blasio, May 2014

Control Group is proud to announce that we were awarded a NYC Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) Class 1 Systems Integration contract for citywide technology projects. That means beginning on July 1, 2014, we will be able to help New York City government agencies overhaul and build new systems to support a thriving 21st Century global city.

Technology has the power to transform government and citizen services. But with shrinking budgets and citizens’ expectations rising, government simply needs do more with less. The good news is that deep opportunity exists to leverage lean approaches, new technologies, and the growing connections citizens have with their mobile devices to create more meaningful, interactive, and responsive citizen engagement. The great news is that Control Group has helped hundreds of organizations across diverse industries – from Finance, to Real Estate, to Transit – become more customer-focused, innovative, and efficient. So we’re ready to help our city do the same. 

If you are interested in learning more about our NYC Public Sector Practice, please contact Bob Richardson at brichardson@controlgroup.com.

EVENT 6/25: Big Data Opportunities Online and Offline: Streaming Analytics in the Cloud

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Whether analyzing clickstreams, in-store sensor data, ad impressions, or monitored customer behavior, it’s no longer good enough to crunch data and get answers back tomorrow or next week. Organizations today need analysis now so they can immediately respond to customer and business needs.

Control Group, Intel & AWS invite you to attend our Big Data Opportunities Online & Offline: Streaming Analytics in the Cloud Event in San Francisco on June 25.

Hear how Set Media combined a number of AWS services to analyze key metrics for online video advertising in real-time. And see how to leverage data from the Internet of Things to improve service delivery and the customer experience offline.

We will also dig into how companies can:

  • Get answers fast: Drive overall latencies to a few seconds, compared to minutes with typical batch processing
  • Vastly improve the customer experience by analyzing and responding to digital and physical data in real-time
  • Get started. During the networking segment we will have stations you can visit to talk to experts who can help you in taking the first steps, whether it be a workshop, subsidized PoC, or credit-subsidized sandbox environment. Or all of the above.

For more information and to register for this event, check this out. 

Bad Software Design Metaphors Part 1

Human beings are animals that love a good metaphor. Maybe penguins love metaphors too, but we haven’t built an MRI small enough yet to know. By viewing one action or object in light of another act or model, we can bring about moments of satori and enlightenment that lead us closer to optimal states. From philosophy (google the Allegory of the Cave, the Leviathan, etc) to business, almost every aspect of human thought involves, to some degree, taking a concept and thinking about it in a different frame.  It’s useful, it’s natural, it’s a requirement.

But there comes a point when metaphors cause more trouble than they are worth.

And I’m here to tell you: Building software is not like building a house.

But I’m jumping ahead – before we get there, a quick note on the most pervasive and horrible software metaphor of all time: the waterfall.

waterfall dev

One of the great ironies of modern software development is that this waterfall is often presented as a viable alternative to Agile practices. In fact, for over 30 years it has been known that waterfall is inherently risky. From Wikipedia:

 “The first formal description of the waterfall model is often cited as a 1970 article by Winston W. Royce,[4][5] although Royce did not use the term “waterfall” in this article. Royce presented this model as an example of a flawed, non-working model.[6]

Waterfall gets the steps right, it just gets the number of times they are taken wrong.  Design and implementation aren’t actions you take once on a quality product– you iterate through them continuously (as you should testing). In other words, waterfall conflates valid aspects of software design with artificially segregated phases of construction, which is where it fails. Stakeholders and software are fickle and unpredictable, because like a quantum subatomic process, the very nature of observing and interacting with a functioning software product collapses its UI state.

See, that was a bad software design metaphor– I was just seeing if you’re paying attention.

So, let’s get back to building a house. Programming jokes aside, software development shares a few things in common with building a house, in that coding is a craft (like carpentry) that can be learned, and that like carpentry, you have masters of the craft. And like building a house, much of the process has been standardized and industrialized in the last 40 years. 

I asked my father-in-law, who has built dozens of houses, about what the biggest change on job sites has been in the last 40 years. Without hesitation he said “the nail gun”. Suddenly building a house took half as long.

Modern frameworks, including software design processes themselves, are the nail guns of our industry.

Notice what I’m talking about is how the people who code are somewhat akin to those who build homes. But the actual object built? That’s where the metaphor poops the metaphorical bed. A house starts with a blueprint that more or less is followed to completion and success is determined by cost and adherence to the blueprint. But building software that adheres to a global, rigid plan that is entirely laid out before interacting with real-world implementations or prototypes of each component part is not only risky– it’s a waste of our time. Building anything non-trivial and unique requires another kind of metaphor, which I’ll be exploring in coming posts.

Part 2 will cover some other problematic software metaphors around dev teams and team management.