Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Want a Better Way to Do Things? Start Fresh with Zero Based Design

Want to achieve radical changes in your business? Have you become distracted from long-term goals? Are you too busy putting out fires to look past short-term tactics? Perhaps it is time to consider a shake-up

Zero-based design (ZBD)encourages people to cast aside assumptions to expand the scope of discovery. It comes from the term “zero-based budgeting,” an accounting principle that implies every line item in a budget is to be reevaluated on an annual basis, under the assumption that nothing should be sacrosanct.

The name was first coined by Paul Polak and Mal Warwick in their 2013 book, The Business Solution to Poverty. The authors delineated their methodology for building a business from a frugal, grass-roots “Zero Point,” that grew to deliver economic value on a societal scale.

While ZBD has evolved since 2013, a few activities stay central to its approach:

  • Defining the Zero Point: More than a fictitious “blank slate,” the Zero Point is the suite of capabilities, systems, and processes you would keep if you were to rebuild your business all over again.
  • Designing the North Star: A clearly articulated and accepted description of the ideal target state is given for the business, its people, and their customers.

With ZBD, it is necessary that the North Star is visionary. It frames the ambition for business and informs the roadmap of labor required to succeed in this best target state. It helps to elevate the thinking within the business and stimulate the proper designing and activity within the short and medium term.

ZBD starts with an observation, then looks for the simplest and most likely explanation. As a result, it can appear foreign to those familiar with the traditional inductive or deductive thinking that permeates business management. It some ways, it resembles the Lean (Toyota) Method for problem-solving.

For example, ZBD practitioners tend to observe human behavior and distill the most likely insights from what they have witnessed. Abductive reasoning is a form of logical inference which starts with an observation or set of observations then seeks to find the simplest and most likely explanation for the observations, and the resulting insights, then inspire designers to generate game-changing ideas and then pose the question “how might we” rather than ask “why can’t we.” Such priming questions are crucial, as they foster the belief that innovative outcomes are achievable and that we can overcome obstacles that would otherwise be considered insurmountable.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

What is Kubernetes?

The rise of technology called containers, popularized by the company Docker, has helped spread virtualization of apps by simplifying building VM images for deployment. This approach lets a developer package their app or micro service with everything needed to run, so it works the same way the development sandbox as it does in Amazon's or Microsoft's cloud. While Docker's containers provide the tools for making code portable, developers needed a way to coordinate these containers to work with each other across servers and clouds, at massive scales — and Kubernetes, an open-source software project that started at Google, is the most popular approach. It has exploded in popularity, now being used by at more than 54% of the Fortune 500.

Kubernetes (an ancient Greek word for "pilot.”) was started by a group of Google engineers based on an internal project to help manage the search giant's massive infrastructure, but it is now an independent open source project that anyone can use or contribute to — and it has grown faster than the creators ever imagined. In a nutshell, Kubernetes helps developers run their applications at massive scales, taking advantage of lessons learned at Google. Because Kubernetes is open source, the code can be used, downloaded, or modified by anyone for free.

Just in the last year, we've seen some major acquisitions that signal how seriously tech giants are now taking Kubernetes: IBM spent $34 billion to purchase Red Hat; VMware's acquired Heptio. Both these moves have a lot to do with Kubernetes.

There are three typical ways of using Kubernetes: most popular is to run it from a major cloud provider like Amazon, Microsoft or Google, all of whom offer hosted Kubernetes services. Or, enterprises can buy a customized, fine-tuned version of Kubernetes from a company like VMware's Heptio to install on its own servers. The third way is to just download and run the free project and create an environment in a hosted private cloud or datacenter.

Kubernetes is able to manage all these clusters at once, and keep the code running continuously even as it organizes and re-organizes these containers on the fly. The end result is that developers can build, test, host and run large-scale applications on the cloud, with the Kubernetes software doing much to keep everything running smoothly.

As an added benefit, Kubernetes users get one more key advantage from all of this: Because Kubernetes runs on just about any kind of server, and most of the major cloud platforms, it's easier for users to take their application and move it from one to the other, or just write their software to run on multiple clouds at once.

Read more here...