Monday, April 30, 2012

FIM 2010 R2 Showdown: Classic vs. Declarative

Well I delivered my session FIM 2010 R2 Showdown: Classic vs. Declarative. During lunch they changed the location. But the room was packed by 5 min after I began (guessing about 45-50 people). Many familiar faces.

We had a rollicking good time. I presented how things worked with Classic and Declarative presented some findings and asked for other opinions. Boy did I receive them.

My basic conclusion is that Declarative can reduce the code used and in turn improve the maintainability of the FIM implementation.

Some folks agreed. Some few misguided folks disagreed Winking smile. I did take a bunch of ribbing from many who prefer the code.

We had lots of fun sharing opinions. I think all can agree that the Declarative Sync Rules give us a lot of promise for doing things without code and in a several ways falls short. Where we differ is how that affects the way we implement FIM. Some ignore the sync rules and do everything Classic. However, some of us try to use the Sync Rules for everything possible and the classic code only when needed.

One thing is certain, the product is definitely heading in the direction of more and more declarative capabilities.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Picking a mobile phone plan: AT&T

I am currently a Sprint customer, and I am in the process of considering a replacement. So I analyzed AT&T’s plans. I found some interesting things:

They have three individual plans that don’t include long distance to Canada but do include US long distance.

min cost $/min Over $/min Min over to break even with next plan Rollover Weekend min
450  $   39.99  $   0.089 0.45 44 yes 5000
900  $   59.99  $   0.067 0.4 25 yes unlimited
Unlimited $69.99       n/a unlimited

They include unlimited calls to other AT&T mobile customers. For $8.99/mo more you can get early nights and weekends.

The first interesting thing to notice is that on the 450 min plan if you will go 45 min over per month it is cost effective to go with the 900 plan. So if you will do 495 min/mo then the 900 min plan is better.

The next thing is that if you go 25 min over the 900 min plan it is more cost effective to do the Unlimited plan.

The most interesting thing is that if you are on the 900 plan and thinking about spending the extra $8.99 per month for earlier nights and weekends (7 pm instead of 9pm) why not spend $1.00 more per month to have all day be a night and weekend (since you have unlimited minutes).

Phoenix area part-time MBA program comparisons at public universities

Even though I already have the MBA from Eller College at the U of A I recently put together the following analysis for a friend comparing the MBA options in Phoenix from U of A and ASU.


Eller College of Management

(University of Arizona) Evening

Eller College of Management

(University of Arizona) Executive

WP Carey School of Business (ASU) Professional Evening

WP Carey School of Business (ASU) Professional Weekend

ASU Executive

Length and Start Date

20-22 months: January to August

16 months: August to early November

21 months,
August start date

19 months,
January start start date

21 months,

August start date


Scottsdale, Arizona and
Tucson, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Tempe Campus

North Scottsdale

Tempe Campus

Tempe Campus




$51,600 - $60,300

$52,300 - $58,600



Classes meet one night per week from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.,

plus initial residential session

a 10-day international trip

Classes meet Fri. 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sat. 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every other week

+ a full-week session

a 10-day international trip

Classes meet two nights a week from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Electives offered on Saturdays, online or at international locations

Classes meet every other weekend (Friday from 4:30 - 9:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Core courses consist of 60% classroom learning and 40% online learning
Electives offered online or at international locations

Classes meet every two weeks on Friday and Saturday

*— includes books and course materials, weekly dinner and meals, and hotel accommodations for residential portion of program; does not include international trip expenses or admission and enrollment fees

For cost compare

U of Phoenix is about $30k+

Thunderbird’s Exec MBA :

Tuition for the 2011-2013 Executive MBA-US program is $88,700 USD. Tuition is charged in a series of installments over the course of the program.

Opening Edit instead of view from a uocListView

When using the uocListView control in the FIM RCDC you can have it return a list of objects. However when you open them, they also open for viewing, not editing.

The key to this is to add a button control inside the uocListView control. You then specify the redirectURL property for the button. Additionally ShowActionBar must be true, ItemClickBehavior must be ModelessDialog (which is the default). Enable Selection must also be true.

I examined the Policy Explorer to figure this out.

Here is an example that I first posted on the forum:

<my:Control my:Name="RequestViewCompleted" my:TypeName="UocListView" my:Caption="All Completed Role Requests" my:ExpandArea="true" my:RightsLevel="{Binding Source=rights, Path=Owner}">


<my:Button my:Name="Edit" my:Caption="Edit" my:ImageUrl="/_layouts/images/MSILM2/details.png" my:ClickBehavior="ModalDialog" my:EnableMode="OnlyOne" my:RedirectUrl="../customized/EditCustomizedObject.aspx" />


<my:Properties> <my:Property my:Name="EmptyResultText" my:Value="There are no role requests for this role." />

<my:Property my:Name="PageSize" my:Value="5" />

<my:Property my:Name="SearchControlAutoPostback" my:Value="true" />

<my:Property my:Name="SearchOnLoad" my:Value="true" />

<my:Property my:Name="ShowTitleBar" my:Value="true" /> <my:Property my:Name="ShowActionBar" my:Value="true" />

<my:Property my:Name="ShowPreview" my:Value="false" />

<my:Property my:Name="ShowSearchControl" my:Value="true" />

<my:Property my:Name="EnableSelection" my:Value="true" />

<my:Property my:Name="SingleSelection" my:Value="true" />

<my:Property my:Name="ItemClickBehavior" my:Value="ModelessDialog" />

<my:Property my:Name="UsageKeywords" my:Value="RoleRequestCompleted"/>



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

FIM DB Sizing Calculator

FIM has two databases (well three if we count the FIM Certificate Management service):

  • FIMService
  • FIMSynchronizationService

Here is a calculator in excel that you can download and use to calculate how big to make your databases.

In my experience the FIMService database size depends mostly on how many request objects are in the database.

The FIM Sync Database depends mostly on how much run history details (step object details) you generate and keep.

Let me know how you like it. Remember this is to give you a range and help you with your first order approximation. I tried to carefully spell out all of my assumptions (even taking a Goldilocks approach with High, Low and Probable assumptions) and make them accessible in separate cells, while still trying to preserve the simplicity of how many users, how many groups, how many MA’s dealing with each.

I have tried to make it accurate to my experience. However if you find an outright error or find that it doesn’t match your existing setup let me know.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Darth Vader – Project Manager Part 2

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on a project that was managed by Darth Vader?

In Part 1 I analyzed the good side of his skills. In Part 2 I tried to find the bad but I only find more good.

Once more thanks to George Lucas for inventing Star Wars and thanks again my co-workers for not utilizing Darth Vader's style.

More Good

Characteristic Example Comments
He promotes from within, and holds people accountable

[Darth Vader has just learned of Admiral Ozzel's big blunder, and activates a viewscreen]
Admiral Ozzel: [appearing onscreen with Captain Piett] Lord Vader, the fleet has moved out of lightspeed and we're preparing to...
[Ozzel stops, and suddenly begins to choke, clutching at his throat]
Darth Vader: You have failed me for the last time, Admiral. Captain Piett?
Captain Piett: Yes, my lord?
Darth Vader: Make ready to land our troops beyond their energy field, and deploy the fleet, so that nothing gets off the system.
[beside Piett, Admiral Ozzel utters one last strangled gasp, and falls over dead]
Darth Vader: You are in command now, Admiral Piett.
Admiral Piett: Thank you, Lord Vader.

Promoting from within can be a good thing, however, Vader’s method of creating openings is a bit suspect. Perhaps he should have studied Crucial Confrontations. He could have learned more appropriate ways to hold subordinates accountable. He clearly didn’t know how to “confront with safety.”

He should have prepared by mastering his own stories, then privately confronted him, described the gap in expectations, trying to motivate while lowering barriers.

That might have gone a little more like this
Darth Vader: Admiral Ozzel, come see me on my ship.
Admiral Ozzel: Right away Lord Vader.
[Ozzel arrives on Vader’s ship]
 Darth Vader: Admiral Ozzel, I detect a disturbing pattern of failures. Today, you emerged from lightspeed close enough to the planet for the Rebels to detect our fleet. As a result surprise was lost. On the following previous occasions I noticed similar results.
[Vader realizing that many failures result from a lack of ability and/or motivation, asks questions to try and find out which factors are involved.]
Did you plan for surprise, as I requested? [If yes then it is an ability issue, if no then motivation, he wasn’t motivated to obey.]
He can motivate the workers
[Darth Vader steps out of his shuttle on the Death Star.]
Moff Jerjerrod: Welcome, Lord Vader. This is an unexpected pleasure. We are honored by your presence.
Darth Vader: You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I am here to put you back on schedule.
Jerjerrod: I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast they can.
Vader: Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.
Jerjerrod: I tell you that this station will be operational as planned.
Vader: The Emperor does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation.
Jerjerrod: But he asks the impossible! I need more men!
Vader: Then perhaps you can tell him yourself when he arrives.
Jerjerrod: [alarmed] The Emperor's coming here?
Vader: That is correct, Commander, and he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress.
Jerjerrod: We shall double our efforts.
Vader: I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.
Wow Vader certainly doesn’t subscribe to Patrick Lencioni’s philosophy of building enough trust on your team to allow someone to feel vulnerable.

In this instance Vader is more of the project sponsor and Moff Jerjerrod is the PM.

Moff Jerjerrod is clearly operating in a culture of fear and refuses to reveal bad estimates of the situation. So he is clearly using avoiding to hide the truth. Avoiding is a form of Silence. When we feel threatened in a conversation we tend to move towards silence or violence depending upon our natural tendencies as well as the power dynamics of the relationships involved.

One of the two of them needs to recognize that safety is definitely at risk in this conversation, well Jerjerrod’s life too. They need to make it safe. How you do so depends on whether you are working at cross purposes or one of you is feeling not respected. Another factor is why. So in this case it doesn’t seem to be respect so much as not having the same purpose. Is it a result of a misunderstanding or do they genuinely want different things?
Jerjerrod’s purpose in this conversation seems to be to not get in trouble, lose his job, his life and get his family exiled to Tatooine. His strategy in the conversation is to avoid the conversation with “pleasantries”, then a desperate confession followed by an overly “optimistic appraisal of the situation,” another desperate confession, and finally a somewhat fatalistic acceptance of the impossible deadline.

Vader’s purpose is to get the Death Star operational on the Emperor’s deadline. His strategy is to make veiled threats. Although coming from a 6 ft. plus Sith Lord who has choked several co-workers to death with a slight movement of his fingers, the threat is not so veiled.

They need to invent mutual purpose.
Jerjerrod: Lord Vader we seem to have some different strategies, but I think we both want the same thing: to get the Death Star operational without working people so hard that they make errors that can result in tragic mistakes later on, such as leaving an exhaust port unprotected that could lead to a chain reaction and destroy the death star. Do you agree or do you see a different goal?

Vader: The power to destroy the Death Star is insignificant compared to the power of the force. Ahem sorry, I was compelled to get that out there. Yes I believe that is the goal.

[Vader and Jerjerrod retire to a conference room to discuss the PERT and GANTT charts and see what they can do]

Quotes from the Star Wars movies, found on:

Nothing new under the sun

Just a few weeks ago I was discussing with my team how Cloud computing bore a lot of similarities to outsourcing of Data Processing back in the height of the mainframe era. Just this morning I saw the following on Dave Kearns blog “While it’s true that there is really nothing new under the sun – “cloud computing,” for example, has remarkable similarities to datacenter computing from the ‘60s and ‘70s – it’s also true that there is always a different way to look at data, facts, or technology which can give insights into better ways to conduct business.”

Back in the 1990’s my father had founded a software company to help organizations manage their Local Area Networks. During that time he said that the LAN market was paralleling many of the trends that had occurred in the mainframe world. Ever since then I have found instructive to study those trends.

Kearns, makes several points among them, then in talking about cloud apps, “people were still having the same discussion that they’d had 10 years ago – only the names were different,” now arguing  about datacenter vs. the cloud and previously it was Linux vs. Windows. Instead, he says we should “pick the right application or service – that one that best fills our need. Choosing the platform first is like choosing a restaurant because of the color of the plates they use.” Pretty funny, however I disagree (at least partially). For one thing, even in eating the plate does matter. The plate size more so than color. According to Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success (page 114) “plate size [has] an enormous impact on how much it [takes] .. to get equally full.”

While I agree that the business needs need to be considered first, platform must also be considered. Just as the plate size can make a big difference for someone trying to manage their weight, so too can platform make a big difference to someone trying to manage their data security.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What does “no commitment” really mean?

I recently received a mailer for YouFit Health Clubs, offering me “$1 down, $10 month with no commitment” for a club they opened near my house (limited to the first 125 to sign up).

Sounds good, but following the principle of caveat emptor (buyer beware), I always read the fine print. According to the “Billing for Monthly Dues” agreement you may “discontinue your Month-to-Month membership you may do so at any time with a payment of a twenty-five (25) dollar processing fee.”

You also agree that “monthly dues are subject to a $5.00 per month increase of dues if EFT payment is stopped or changed.” Sounds like even changing the account I use would result in the increase.

Hmm. That sounds like this no-commitment includes a commitment. Although it sounds reasonable, I wouldn’t call the arrangement “no commitment.” Perhaps they meant that compared to some other gyms there is virtually no commitment.

This serves as an important reminder to fully understand your commitments and customer requirements.

It is important to verify customer statements, like “all employees get AD accounts.” They may commit that this is the truth but their commitment may turn out to have some “no commitment” buried in the fine print.

You must dig deeper for the other shoe – so it can drop. There is always an exception, even to this rule about exceptions. For example, “all employees get AD accounts, except employees below grade 12.” Watch out for the exception to the exception “Except when the employees below grade 12 get approval from their manager. Unless someday their manager revokes their AD account.”

So will this “no commitment” gym get a commitment out of me? Perhaps, after all as a married man I am not afraid of commitment. Although I might be afraid of “no commitment.”