Thursday, September 12, 2013

Where is Your Technology Radar

Today TheHackerCIO is preparing presentations. Tomorrow he'll present on "Your Technology Radar" to a gathering of Chief Technology Officers in Silicon Beach, held monthly at Clearstone Venture Parners. If you're a CTO in the greater LA area, the LA CTO Forum is a great place to learn from colleagues and to get advice about problems or pointers to resources.

Technology Radars are an important tool to keep up with Tech. Invented by Martin Fowler of ThoughtWorks, they are produced twice a year. Lots of developers I work with await the latest Radar release with considerable anticipation. Our local Los Angeles Java Users Group has a weekly book club / study group, which sometimes spends a session discussing Radar items.

The idea, in essence, is to take inventory of all of the emerging technology that the consultants are seeing and getting interested in as part of their field work and recreational work. :-) Then the list is reviewed by the participants and assigned to one of 4 quadrants on a circular graphical display:

  • Techniques
  • Platforms
  • Tools
  • Languages & Frameworks
A circular graphic lends itself naturally to the notion of a Bulls-Eye. Accordingly, the outer ring represents an assessment of "hold", and successive inner rings progressively become more positive, ranging from 
  • Assess
  • Trial
  • Adopt
The Bulls-Eye, therefore, consists of those Techniques, Platforms, Tools, Languages, & Frameworks that should be adopted. A further graphical device is used for each "blip" on the Radar screen, to show change by placing a triangle around those "blips" that have changed since the last issued Radar. A circle, by contrast means the item has remained at the same level. To put it all together take a look at an example of one quadrant of a Radar:

And spend some time reading the May 2013 Technology Radar from ThoughtWorks.

The real point is, you shouldn't be depending on ThoughtWorks Technology Radar. Where is your own personal Radar? You need to be the one actively driving this process of systematic evaluation. To read more about this, read this article and, if you're in LA, join the Technology Radar Group and start working on your own Radar. 

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