(These rules were first published in The Perils of Mount Must Read, December 2005 and posted and copyright on www.pbandsp.com in 2006.)

Rule number one: Never move data

  • Focus on legitimate location by classification and information type.
  • Use access control to limit change and use.
  • Use registered sources of information where the responsibility lies in them to keep data and standards current.

Rule number two: Only handle it once

  • Decouple normalized data from stored data by creating business rules for data lookup.
  • Attend to emerging standards by W3C and OASIS to ensure that the smallest amount of unique information is all that we store in any process.
  • Invest in real time valid feeds for standards of measure and control, so the standards are managed by the subject matter experts and the business is configured to leverage those controls.

Rule number three: Common language equals common mission

  • Ensure that all persons have ready access and training in the name and scope of all management functional areas, processes and programs by title.
  • Use the best current sources for a normalized glossary in including NIST, OGC, ISACA, ANSI, NISO, WTO, W3C, OISWG.

Rule number four: Believe in the myth that someone has already solved this

  • Even if a problem is yet to be solved, there are people out there who share your quest and who will only add to your vision and quality of a solution.  None of us is as smart as all of us.
  • If people who share your interest don’t seem to exist, keep looking.
  • Believe in the myth that YOU can solve the problem.  Genius is exclusive to people with the tenacity to continuously fail until they succeed.

Rule number five: Process optimization is what makes a process real

  • Being unique isn’t the only way to bring value.  Even if concepts can’t be patented, showing the world how to be faster, safer and more efficient holds great value.  Admitting existing work deserves alignment to current concepts is the first step.  Every rewrite makes us stronger.  Allowing others to make our own works better shows humility and true maturity.

Rule number six: Don’t re-work the design of others and claim to own their ideas

  • Use industry standard names to construct the names of all things.  Giving credit to great frameworks and standards validates mature methodology and service quality.

Rule number seven: Accurately represent the problem

  • Ensure the right stakeholders agree with what needs to be solved.
  • Isolate the known from the unknown.
  • Reuse repeatable frameworks and configuration, including a common language, a definition of programs and process.

Rule number eight: Only record the variance from the norm

  • Once a part of the configuration is defined, use it to extend the attributes of any other item.  Only record the unique variance.
  • Comply with norms and standards by limiting acceptable variance.

Rule number nine: Don't serve green eggs

  • Factor the reception of presentation as equal in importance to all other elements combined.  People can't use what they don't know they have.  Be sure the delivery looks and feels like a practice already common to the culture.  New tastes, textures, and smells are never big hits at a pot-luck supper.  They are less popular in IT.  They never work in business.

Rule number ten: Make it easier to get permission than forgiveness.  Then, show no mercy.

  • Factor protection of intellectual capital in the design and creation of content, approval, and process.
  • The construction of configuration and information based in correct business logic and standards shouldn't feel like secret sauce or be too complicated to simply explain.
  • Business rules make sense to the business.
  • Data Validation makes sense to data entry.
  • Without their visibility to the construction of an answer, we live at the mercy of people who were never able to accurately represent the problem.
  • Strive to make “easier to beg forgiveness than get permission” thinking both mute and obsolete.