The 70-year squeeze

1951 saw the worlds first commercial business application.

J Lyons and Co. automated valuation jobs, then payroll. Then a few other companies, who didn’t have computers, wanted to borrow their machine. So J Lyons established a ‘Bureau Services’ division (which could arguably be the earliest IT consulting company).

Since then, the 3rd Industrial Revolution has been in full-flow with a very prominent theme.

The definition of standards:

  • 1956 – Software Engineering
  • 1957 – BCS
  • 1961 – TQM
  • 1963 – IEEE
  • 1969 – PMI
  • 1970 – Waterfall and Agile
  • 1978 – JAD
  • 1980 – SSADM
  • 1986 – Six Sigma
  • 1987 – ISO
  • 1988 – Spiral Model
  • 1989 – CMM
  • 1991 – RAD
  • 1992 – V-Model
  • 1996 – Prince 2, PMBOK and Scrum
  • 1997 – UML
  • 1998 – RUP
  • 2003 – Agile Alliance and IIBA
  • 2005 – BABOK

That’s our immediate past.

The 70-year squeeze of frameworks, methods, models, approaches, processes, notations, languages, and more. Relentless standards that draw lines in the organisation, best practices which work within these boundaries, and detailed procedures to follow along.

The space for creativity has been removed and how you do what you do is shaped for you, squarely.

You’re conditioned to think inside a box.

The 9th stakeholder

A couple of years ago I experimented with a new personal assistant.

Amy Ingram helped me to schedule meetings. Amy learned when, where and how long I liked to meet.

But what made Amy different was that Amy is an email AI scheduling assistant.

Machine learning.

But there was also some big human learning too…

From the beginning of the relationship, I was learning how to interact with Amy to ensure understanding. Requests being asked and answered, communication sent back and forth.

Then at one point during a conversation, Amy stopped me in my tracks…

Amy said, “One way is to shoot me an email “Amy, please cancel this meeting.”

That one word in there.


Did I need to say ‘please’? This is an AI interaction. How had I been interacting up until this point? Had I been all ‘computer-like’ using command language such as, ‘Cancel Meeting’? Was my human behaviour (ironically) being adjusted by a machine?

Just what is the protocol for interacting with AI?

Interestingly I had been communicating politely, quite unconsciously, as the conversation with Amy unfolded naturally.

Amy has a last name, Ingram. Amy engages in conversation. Amy needs to be communicated with clearly. Amy asks clarifying questions. Amy learns. A relationship was established. I minded my Ps and Qs.

Whether as a ‘User’, a ‘Developer’ or a ‘Tester’, AI is your next stakeholder.

Soon we’ll be working together, side by side. AI will be a colleague. AI will have their own views, needs, processes, requirements and rules, etc.

This world is heading somewhere and how you work is going to change.