Outline of ProgrammeX

Prof. dr. D.B.B. Rijsenbrij

1. Introduction previousnext

Strange as this may sound to the many leading businessmen and politicians who are still afraid of mice and keyboards, IT is only beginning to seriously impact the way businesses, governments and individuals behave and operate. When isolated computers and incompatible proprietary networks give way to the common communication protocol and addressing scheme known as Internet, hundreds of millions and soon billions can easily communicate, connectivity is potentially universal and distance effectively ceases to exist. Simultaneously, Moore's law delivers increasingly massive processing power, allowing extremely complex and power hungry programs to run in cheap desktop boxes. At the same time, someone else's law delivers gigantic storage capabilities. In this Outline of ProgrammeX, professor Rijsenbrij and his colleagues give striking examples of what the combination of these forces will allow, e.g. world-wide integrated supply chains and mass customisation, and, in an orthogonal and more intellectual dimension, the capture, storage and re-use of knowledge including elusive but critical "insight".

Business and technology consultants and various kinds of engineers are needed to tame these forces and turn them into systems fit for purpose, and fit for use. Cap Gemini employs more accurately consists of 36,000 such brains, including some 6,400 in The Netherlands. For reasons not entirely clear to the Latin mind, possibly because of some typical Dutch passion for permanent learning and intellectual self-improvement, Cap Gemini Netherlands has always nurtured a unique passion for the austere discipline of Software Development Methodologies. This gives unique authority to the authors of this Outline of ProgrammeX when they put into evidence a trend seldom realised by non-specialists: the continuous and accelerated evolution of software development skills, e.g. the skills needed to turn brute hardware into useful applications. Furthermore, this evolution not only has impact on individuals' skills, but also on collective skills, e.g. how development teams are built, organised and managed, in what sort of framework they operate, how they interact with the clients and users of systems to be developed. When it was successful, the old "waterfall" approach delivered systems that were difficult to modify. Indeed the wise CIO was careful not to fix what worked, and systems were changed as little as possible during their working life. On the contrary, post year 2000 development methods and techniques will deliver adaptive systems designed for a world in a state of permanent transformation. The new developers will have to continuously understand the client's changing needs. Furthermore, in spite of demands for ever-increasing functional power, they will have to deliver systems ergonomic and reliable enough to be useable by literally anyone, anywhere, at any time. Architects are not artisans anymore; they will rely on solid standardised frameworks and components. Finally, in this new world, the most essential individual will be the Programme Director with his or her unique ability to understand the various dimensions and to conduct vast programmes through permanently changing complexity. The reader will find all these evolutions and more, most competently explored in this Outline of Cap Gemini's ProgrammeX.

Eric Lutaud
Group Vice-President Cap Gemini
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website: Daan Rijsenbrij