CUBAR (Customized Beyond All Recognition)…

by

Worker with screwdrive

In a recent conversation at a client (thank Jen Wimberly!), I heard a phrase that I think  should be added to the IT lexicon – CUBAR or CUstomized Beyond All Recognition.

Often times, we implement a “package” or COTS (commercial off the shelf) software package only to tailor it to meet our needs. That’s good – we shouldn’t have to bend our business process or rules purely to meet the needs of a software package. But, at the same time, we shouldn’t just make whole-scale changes to a software package to a point where it essentially becomes a custom solution.

I’ve often advised clients that if they find a software package that isn’t at least an 85-90% fit with their needs, they should consider other solutions or building something from scratch. Why shouldn’t they buy something even if it meets 50% of theirs needs? Because ultimately it gets CUBARed:

  • Making changes can be hard, often using proprietary frameworks or code that you have to work through; this limited amount of control can go from frustrating to just plain limiting – when you have to create extensive work-arounds for something fairly straight forward you should do more than just shake your head
  • All of your customizations have to be maintained by your staff – and it’s often poorly documented, keeps you from being able to update the package and usually leads to poor data quality; on top of that, you usually have to invent your own processes and governance controls for the customizations
  • Your customizations are often likely to result in unintended side-effects – such as creating security holes you didn’t know about, resulting in performance problems, etc.
  • And, of course, customizations often require the skills and expertise of outsiders – that charge a lot of money and all the knowledge walks out the door after the implementation

This isn’t to say that all customizations are bad. But beware the CUBAR – it essentially creates an inflexible, impossible to upgrade, slow performing mess of a solution that could have been done differently.

READ MORE

The Leadership Dog Years

The Leadership Dog Years

As a business leader, I feel like I’ve been living in dog years — so much has happened that this year feels more like seven. In the spring, our company — like many others — had to throw out our annual plans and quickly pivot to new ones. In the summer, we increased...

read more
Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

About a week ago, I completed the second live (virtual) training in the process of becoming a Certified Professional Coach through iPEC. Once again, my mind was blown! It reinforced for me that virtual workshops can, and do, work, and, in a lot of ways, I prefer them...

read more
Finding My Work-Life Balance

Finding My Work-Life Balance

In my previous post, I told the story of how I got back into consulting after becoming a mom. All of the diverse experiences I had during that journey have helped me to find my work-life balance by… Defining Boundaries “Go home,” my first boss said 12 years back —...

read more
How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

I Landed My Dream Job Throwback to 2014, I had completed my MBA, landed my dream job as a consultant, and was hoping that my new consulting career would exponentially ramp up my career growth for the next 5 years. This would position me to take on critical decision...

read more
Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

In August of this year, as part of our annual company meeting, our team at Thought Ensemble participated in the foundational session of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training led by Dr. Nika White, IOM, CDE (she/her/hers). One of the most meaningful moments...

read more
Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

It is often said that organizational culture is like a fog — it is all around us; it impacts our ability to see, to move quickly, and to deliver; but we cannot quite put our finger on it. Indeed, some organizations see their culture as a byproduct of operations,...

read more
We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

Why have we refreshed our brand, you ask? Well, as we have grown and matured as an organization, we felt that our previous brand elements no longer represented us as well as they could. You see, we founded Thought Ensemble back in 2008 to help companies better compete...

read more
Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

I recently wrote about how company purpose is being tested and inspired by all the events of 2020. This topic is very real for us at Thought Ensemble. We’ve been thinking a lot about what really matters as we’ve navigated the challenges of this year. While we’ve had...

read more