Category Archives: Resources

Some reference resources that we provide on our projects.

Auto-Tune R1.4 Released

Welcome to 2015! Release 1.4 of the SQL/MX Auto-Tune plug-in has come out of our build machine and is now on the update site. We had to make a significant change to the plug-in extension point for this release, but since there are no production extenders, at this point anyway, the impact should be minimal. Please let us know if this is an issue and we can provide a backward compatible version. Note: We normally do not make incompatible interface changes, but this was a functional omission that needed to be corrected.

Connection sharing and profile management are significantly improved with this release and people are encouraged to upgrade.

Wisdom from WCDM: What Makes for Great Crisis Management Teams

I don’t normally cross-post, but this article is really a good bit of wisdom from my colleagues at the World Conference for Disaster Management, where I spoke a few years ago. The article is definitely worth the read, so I am recommending it.

This applies to large companies, governments, emergency managers, as well as a number of our clients who need the responsiveness and resiliency of being Indestructible. Please, if you read nothing else this week, read this article.


The Definitive Exercise Program for the Consultant on the Run

One of the key values we treasure most is humour. This is a document we occasionally circulate internally to help our own line people keep their humour through the rigours of air travel.

The Definitive Exercise Program for the Consultant on the Run

This exercise program is designed to help build your mind and spirit through laughter. No one, to our knowledge, actually follows this program; particularly because it could get them thrown off the plane or out of the airport. Remember that it’s a piece of humour and nothing more. The Nexbridge management team hopes you enjoy this regiment and that you don’t suffer undo hard disk strain. Best wishes and good luck.

A balanced physical exercise program, for mind and body, is made up of five key areas:

  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Dexterity


It’s always prudent to begin your exercise regiment with a good stretch to prevent injuries. Unfortunately, being a travelling consultant, you don’t have the time to do this first. The best stretching can be accomplished using a variety of props, such as passports, credit cards, or contact lenses.

  1. Get onto the plane.
  2. Walk carefully to your seat (see Balance).
  3. Lean way over to your seat, dropping your laptop bag and travel documents into your seat, which is, of course, a window seat. This can be enhanced by getting on last, and having to lean way over the two other people sitting between you and your seat.
  4. Remember that the laptop bag should be in the seat in front of yours.
  5. Still leaning over, slide the laptop bag under the seat.
  6. Drop your props in the aisle.
  7. Frantically search for your props between the legs of other passengers and hope that your hands (and contact lenses) don’t get squished.
  8. Remember that you should have put your props in your laptop bag.
  9. Take out the laptop bag, stretching way over the other passengers, apologizing profusely.
  10. Put the props into your bag.
  11. Return the laptop bag under the seat in front of yours.

This exercise can be enhanced by either accidentally sitting in the wrong row, getting on the wrong flight, or taking an airline with no preassigned seating.


Balance is key to your role as a consultant, so it’s good to start your trip with an easy balance exercise.

  1. Knowing full well that the airline will lose your luggage at the most inopportune time, make sure that you carry on your absolute upper limit of luggage. It helps to have as many pieces as possible.
  2. At check-in, hide the ten or fifteen pieces of accessories behind your back – you don’t want the agent glaring at you.
  3. Simply walking to your flight will be a good warm-up for what is to come.
  4. You’ll have to do that hiding act again, trying to get past the gate agent. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem, because consultants are usually good at hiding their real intentions anyway.
  5. Balancing your luggage carefully, walk down the aisle to your seat, adjusting yourself like a ballerina. You will need to do this because you obviously can’t walk in a straight line down the aisle with ten to fifteen pieces of accessories.

Not only is this exercise useful to you as a consultant. After a career of practice, you can use the skills developed here during your retirement. Of course, you won’t be able to carry the same weight, but being able to juggle all those presents for your grand-kids will sure make them happy.


Good health is enhanced by strength training. Being strong also helps you to put up with the abuse you have to take on a daily basis being in an unprotected, hostile, consultant-unfriendly environment. Fortunately, air travel gives you a really good chance to build your muscles.

  1. Choose a day when you know it will be turbulent. Bad weather is a good indication.
  2. If you can’t choose your travel day, bribe the pilot to rock the plane a lot.
  3. Instead of placing your laptop case under the seat in front of you, put it in the overhead bin. This probably should be done after you have completed the Flexibility exercise otherwise you might hurt your back.
  4. Sit quietly during taxi, takeoff, and climb.
  5. As soon as the fasten seat belt sign goes off, stand up, open the bin, jump way from all the other falling laptop cases, reach in all the way to the back for yours.
  6. Put the other passengers’ (who are obviously consultants too) laptop cases in the overhead compartment. Feel free to ignore non-consultant passengers.
  7. Remember your manners and offer to hand the other consultants their laptop cases only after you have put them in the overhead bin. They are likely to decline as they are probably exercising also.
  8. Sit down, open your laptop, and start typing.
  9. Two minutes later, when the fasten seat belt sign goes back on, quickly pack up your laptop into its case and return it to the overhead compartment.
  10. As soon as the fasten seat belt sign goes off again, repeat the process.

After much practice, you should be able to do this twenty or thirty times a flight, during thunderstorms.


As we all know, there is much we have to endure as consultants. This exercise helps us cope with stress and repeated futile activities.

  1. At the airport, deliberately go to the wrong terminal.
  2. Check in there, but leave at least one piece of I.D.
  3. Walk briskly to your gate, carrying your laptop bag.
  4. Remember, once you are at the gate, that you left your I.D. at check-in, in the wrong terminal.
  5. Walk briskly back to the check-in counter, forgetting your laptop bag.
  6. Remember, half way to the check-in, that you forgot your laptop bag.
  7. Run quickly back to the gate, hoping that no one stole your laptop.
  8. Pick up your laptop, then return, walking briskly, though relieved, back to check-in.
  9. Pick up your I.D. at check-in.
  10. Walk briskly back to your gate, knowing now that your are moments away from missing your flight.
  11. Remember, half way back to the gate, that you left your laptop bag at check-in.
  12. Speed walk, being late, back to check-in. Don’t worry about your laptop bag, because the attendant will be watching it.
  13. Pick up your laptop bag, check that you have your I.D. and run back to your gate.

If you have extra time, just for kicks, you can repeat this process by lose your credit cards while having a drink at the bar before your flight.


While dexterity is often ignored during an exercise regiment, developing your dexterity skills will improve your ability to perform tasks such as writing on whiteboards without getting your clothes dirty. This exercise can be combined with strength training (see above).

  1. In coach, with the seat belt on, pull the laptop case out from the seat in front of you.
  2. Open the tray, without dumping the laptop contents into the seat next to you.
  3. Place it on the tray.
  4. Open the lid.
  5. Turn your laptop on.
  6. Turn your laptop off.
  7. Close the lid.
  8. Repack the laptop case without dumping the contents.
  9. Close the tray.
  10. Put the laptop case back under the seat in front of you.
  11. Repeat 5 times.

I hope that this guide will help you become better, stronger, and more effective when you show up at your client. As an afterthought, you should probably look for airline lounges with showers so that you don’t arrive at your client smelling too badly of sweat. A change of clothes is also essential if you try to perform these exercises during the food service portion of a flight. Mustard and ketchup have a nasty habit of messing up a good workout.

Good luck.

The Ten F’s

The purpose of the architectural design process is to balance many diverse, and often conflicting, objectives. It is an ongoing creative process providing the means to deliver a vision. We have used this assessment technique successfully at many of are clients to come up with a quantification of the relative merits of different architectural constructs. This section introduces each of the F’s of architecture.


The key objective of architecture is planning for the future. Whether you are going for an open-ended system or a fixed-life product, knowing the character of the possible futures, and planning for the diverse scenarios is crucial to an effective architecture.


As with a the look of a building or web site, the architecture balances form and function to arrive at an aesthetically pleasing, realizable, and understandable form that meets the client’s objectives.


The needs of the client define the function of a system or complex. Whether you’re looking at systems analysis or needs analysis, function categories what a client can quantify in terms of needs or requirements.


To give something form, a framework is needed to build it. You may be talking about sound engineering principles to build a skyscraper, using generally accepted methodologies, or using structures like client/server. The framework also includes how the system will be built, managed, operated, and paid for.


The technological basis for the framework is the foundation. Without sound foundations, even the prettiest architectures have fallen into the sand.


In order to realize the architectural vision, the materials must be available and techniques must be viable.


When we talk about features in architecture, we involve the highest level capabilities of what’s being built. Is this an on-line system with book of record processing, a pipeline control system with measuring and monitoring devices, or an office building with movable internal walls.


Understanding how a building will evolve over time helps shape the overall architecture. Is your goal to produce a cube o’ granite or a line of automobiles. Balancing cost of initial development and production with cost of ongoing expansion is part of the architect’s job. As long-term expansion increases in importance, the requirement for flexibility increases.


As repeated stress is applied to a system, will it gradually fall apart? Like riding a bicycle on a street full of potholes, which components will survive and which will fail? How will the system be maintained and how costly will be the repairs.


Finally, the architecture must take into account catastrophes. What happens when the design reaches its breaking point. Does it fail in a massive disaster of epic proportions or gradually fade into obscurity.

The Six “C”s

The team dynamics model used in facilitation assumes that a team is already set up and functioning. Most often, teams will exhibit confrontational or coexistence attributes. The innate desire of the facilitator is to move team members into a co-ownership environment. This usually takes time and much work. All was not without hope before facilitation was introduced, however. Good meeting chairs were generally able to move meeting participants into cooperative postures with relative ease. Collaboration was typically the unmet desire. This section introduces each of the C’s.


The worst form of team behaviour, coercion involves the convincing of participants to take action using active or passive threats. Pointing out that executing a task in a specific way is going to reflect in a performance review is a very common coercion tactic.


In virtually all environments there is confrontation. It becomes unmanageable when the conflict seems to be the sole outcome of the team interactions. Confrontation, in some organization can be useful in energizing people to actively participate. However, like wine, too much can be very detrimental.


Once a team moves out of a purely confrontational posture, admission of others’ value starts the team down the path of coexistence. Coexistence means that the team members get along with each other, and respect each others values and opinions. Teams in this mode can get stuck into a non-productive posture by viewing themselves as purely a social club.


Co-operative teams are ones where members are actually working with each other in a supportive capacity. This must be built on a sound foundation of coexistence otherwise the co-operation will be transient. People know whom to turn to for advice. Tasks are typically assigned to and performed by distinct team members.


Collaborative behaviour begins when team members work actively with each other to solve or perform their tasks. There is a key recognition at this point that skills to perform a given task may require more than one person.


Teams take on co-ownership characteristics when members realize that all tasks belong to the team and that their individual roles are in support of the team. Team members actively take on responsibility and accountability for not only their tasks, but for the team itself.

The Six “R”s

he relationships dynamics model used by Nexbridge assumes that relationships are already set up and functioning. Relationships, in our models are typically between producers (developers) and consumers (users). Most often, teams will, in general, exhibit reluctance attributes. Our goal is to improve the relationship to and maintain it in a responsiveness state rather than letting it sink down to revolt. Time is usually not on the side of either the producer or consumer. As time goes by, inaction or inappropriate action causes the relationship to decay. This section introduces each of the R’s.


OPositive0.jpg (19359 bytes) Responsive behavior is characterized by being able to meet or have met real needs, and to communicate or understand needs in a timely fashion.


OPositive1.jpg (19359 bytes) Hesitation or reluctance sets in when users are rebuffed or are told that changes cannot be made because the specifications have been locked down. Developers also become reluctant to have an open dialog with users for fear of new issues being raised.


OPositive2.jpg (19359 bytes) With repeated rebuff, and repeated issues coming up, both developers and users will inevitably develop resentment. Signs of this are users saying, “IT just isn’t listening to us” and developers saying “Those users cannot make up their minds.”


OPositive3.jpg (19359 bytes) Both users and developers become resistant to change after many change failures. Without adequate preparation, including training, even the best of systems will be met with resistance for fear that the mistakes of the past will be made again. Developers become resistant to making changes because of continual rewrites from wildly divergent specifications.


OPositive4.jpg (19359 bytes) Rigidity sets in, as an extension to resistance, when users simply refuse to take new systems. Developers start using phrases like “The specification is frozen. We’re not accepting any new changes.” Another form of this comes across as apathy. Users will say “Yeah, whatever” when new systems are planned for deployment.


OPositive5.jpg (19359 bytes) At the end of the road is revolt. At this point, users will go to outside or different sources for their products. They will change vendors, throw out products, including hardware. It is very easy to get to this point, very quickly, if the relationship decay is unchecked.

The Result?

OPositive.jpg (19359 bytes) When projects fail, developers and users are mired in blood. Users are the ones who often end up offline. The next time an attempt is made to deliver anything, the expectation is that blood will be spilled.