Better information systems — VPEC-T (contd.)
A lot of this may seem like common sense. Like much penetrative thinking, it seems simple and obvious once put together. It is common sense, but Green has a telling phrase “common sense doesn't scale.” A ‘hero’ may be able to keep a small team focused on the business while considering the human factors, but for that to happen in a larger team, chances are you'll need some thinking tools. I think VPEC-T is such a tool.
And just one final point about that name. It's actually very useful. “VPEC-T” turns out to be a compressed mental checklist that can quickly be played back in your mind in meetings, as you write up the findings of a study or as you discuss the information system ‘to be’.
I hope this has tempted you to look into it more and maybe give it a try. The cost of doing so will be negligible. It will affect your thinking in a positive way when studying how an information system is to be changed or built from the ground up
The only book I know of that covers VPEC-T so far is Lost in Translation by VPEC-T's originators, Nigel Green and Carl Bate (Evolved Technologies Press). What I've described in this article is just the essence of the new thinking. The book goes a lot deeper, of course. It does occasionally read as if written by a committee of consultants (hey, I'm a consultant, I plead guilty as well), but that concern quickly fades when you see the power of the message it puts over.
Sources of more information:
Green's 2006 article “The problem with processes” was the first publication of some of the concepts behind VPEC-T, and his recent “Tao of IT” series of posts looks like a promising source of further thinking on the topic. The book itself “Lost In Translation” is available from BookDepository (who I always use because they ship worldwide free of postage charge).
There's a follow up to the book, called “Found In Design unBook” which is worth a look.
Roy Grubb 2008- © All rights reserved, Hong Kong
Roy Grubb is a Certified Information Systems Practitioner and a Fellow of the British Computer Society
(Thanks are due to Adrian Apthorp for tipping me off about VPEC-T. I understand from Nigel Green that Adrian was one of the first guinea pigs and providers of feedback during the development and verification of the ideas behind VPEC-T, many years ago.)