A Note from Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway
Al Shalloway

When I formed Net Objectives in 1999, I did it on the basis of adding value to our clients. As time went on that vision expanded to aiding the industry in general. Our mode of operation has always been to help educate people by offering free seminars and webinars and talking at conferences as well. Our consultants have provided a steady stream of blogs, webinars (with recordings), podcasts, books and more. This has resulted in an overwhelming amount of intellectual property that as one of our clients said “I can’t find anything, there’s too much out there.” Hence, the beginning of the creation of what you see now in front of you – the Net Objectives’ Portal.

But the purpose of this portal goes well beyond presenting the intellectual property we are willing to share with the public or use to support our transformation efforts with our clients. As I am sure you are already aware, it takes more than information to transform organizations. It takes a well-defined approach to learning as well as a community to learn with.

I have to admit I’ve been very disappointed in the opportunities to have open conversations about what actually works. During the 70s, 80s and 90s, I remember pretty open conversations about how to do software development. It felt like a pretty new field then. Something shifted around 2001, perhaps driven by the fact that it seemed as many people were making their livelihood from helping others develop software as were actually developing software.

Nowadays, half the user groups seem to be promoting a particular approach. In the other half that are nominally generic, we have conversations about why certain approaches work or don’t. But what’s missing are the conversations about what does work. When a new consultant comes on board and wants familiarize themselves with our approach I am often asked “what is Net Objectives’ approach to software development.” Hidden in the question is “what’s the framework we believe in, what practices do we espouse?” Given my training has been as a mathematician, engineer and scientist, it shouldn’t be that surprising that my response is that our approach is a scientific one – we look to see what works and do that. If we find a better way to do something, we do that. While we do have an approach and a set of practices, we don’t hold on to them but rather hold them as the best way we know how at the moment.

This portal presents both the best way we know how to do things (in the Framework, Learning and Library sections) but includes an integrated forums section as well. The purpose of the forums is more than just another user group. The intent is to provide a place where we can all learn together while discussing what we should do – not which approach we should follow. It is about true learning, discovery and creating better ways.

This is our commitment at Net Objectives – to take current approaches and both make them better and apply them only where they are truly useful. We don’t sell pre-canned solutions. We look to see what is needed and hopefully provide solutions to those needs. We believe part of what’s needed now is a better understanding of the Lean-Agile Mindset and organizational development. I hope you will participate with me in what I think of as a grand industry wide experiment – trying to improve the body of knowledge that is applied to the challenge of providing value through software development and IT. If you have a question or a challenge, the forums are here to provide a platform for you to ask questions and have both practitioners and industry thought leaders engage with you on creating solutions.

I hope to interact with you soon.

Al Shalloway
CEO and Founder, Net Objectives, Inc.