A Practical Approach for IT Governance

Archive for February 2012

A Governance Lesson From the Past

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Today Flight Management Systems allow flights to navigate to a destination within a few seconds of the time provided by the flight controllers at the destination (4-D Navigation).  What is more is that there are multiple ETAs (Estimated Time of Arrivals) for a flight from one destination to another.  Say a flight is from Chicago to Asia flying over Canada, Russia and on to Asia.  There can be many ETAs:  ETA1 where Canada tells a flight when to enter the fly zone it monitors, ETA2 where Russia may indicate its idesignated time, and ETA3 the final destination in Asia.  There could be more than just three ETAs.  Today Flight Management Systems has made it possible to meet the ETAs within a few seconds.

In the past when I worked on L1011 in late seventies, our first 4-D navigation was from LAX to Dallas/Fort-Worth which we could make within 30 seconds of our target ETA.  We all won an award from NASA for our work.  My contribution was minimal, I was just the programmer writing code in Assembly language, but we had brilliant scientists developing the requirements.  We had challenges, 16 bit register width (which we purchased a special computer to get 18 bits to get more precision), limited memory (16 Kilo Bytes) and a wind profile data that was updated only twice every day.  We had to be very clever about memory management, and when the manufacturer announced 64 Kilo Bytes, we thought we could fly the plane to the moon.

This reminds us the challenges we face today in IT are different than in the past.  In the past, our challenges were managing technology efficiently.  Today it is all about people:  our staff, our users, and our sponsors.  Governance can be challenging, but with the right tools and right management approach, it can be fun as well.

Written by Subbu Murthy

February 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Posted in IT Governance