The Thunderbolt Moment that Led to Hubscope

by | Sep 3, 2016

I’m delighted to announce the official launch of Hubscope Team Edition, which is available for download now. This first release provides an ICT project template with other templates to follow based on demand. The journey that my team and I have been on to get to this point has been long and at times frustrating, but we persisted and overcame the setbacks. All that matters now is that I really can’t think of anything I would change about this release and I’m tremendously excited that people can now start to use Hubscope on their ICT projects. Without the support of my wife Paula and my business partner Tom this release would not have happened. I’d also like to thank everyone at Tom Sawyer Software whose visualisation platform is used to develop Hubscope.

If you’re interested in the story behind Hubscope I’ve summarised it below. If you just want to jump right in then don’t let me stop you but before you do I’d personally like to invite you to get in touch with my team using support@hubscope.com or if you prefer to contact me directly use steve.dickinson@hursleyhub.com. Please provide any feedback and especially any suggestions on how we can improve further.

 

So what was the motivation behind Hubscope?

Firstly an admission, Hubscope is the tool I could have really used on many of the ICT projects I’ve worked on over the past 30 years. These span many geographies, industries and technologies. So, as long ago as 2005 I decided to try and build it. Why, because you don’t know if you don’t try. Centruflow was born and from the experiences gained this became Hubscope. See here for more background: http://hubscope.com/hubscope-evolution/

Hubscope is Centruflow on steroids, but they essentially solve the same problem which is this, ‘how can I see, interact with and share the relationships that tie the different parts of a project together?’ See http://hubscope.com/connect-the-dots/ for more of my thoughts on this.

It’s important to visualize not just relationships between people but relationships between technical components, requirements, environments and deliverables: The who, why, what, when and how of a project. Without the ability to see the interdependencies every action and decision carries the risk of not being fully informed.

 

My Thunderbolt Moment

Over the years, my PowerPoint and Visio skills had been pushed to the limits as I carefully crafted diagrams to represent these things. The saying “a picture paints a thousand words” is very true as a diagram that the team gets behind and believes in provides a very potent focus point. The challenge is that these diagrams take an awful lot of time to create and maintain and they show an inherently narrow view as they usually only show one fixed perspective on the whole solution. Any more than one perspective on one diagram can be confusing. The other major issue is that ‘manual’ diagrams represent only the knowledge of the author, which is both subjective and current only at the time of publishing. My thunderbolt moment was this, ‘what if these diagrams could draw themselves based on information provided by the whole team and other trusted data sources?’

 

So what problem are we trying to solve with Hubscope?

  1. Many IT projects fail (they go over budget, over time or fail to deliver anticipated benefits)
  2. People wrongly think that it’s usually down to technology problems but in reality it’s due to poor communication. Poor communication between business stakeholders and the technical project team

We have a visualization tool that improves communication on projects and across an organisation structure and so decreases the overall risk that the project might fail in some way. The purpose of visualisation is to understand the structure of the underlying data, in this case data that describes an end to end ICT project. See here for more: http://hubscope.com/visualising-interdependencies/

Hubscope provide a visualisation of the project that is interactive and allows everyone to understand the relationships between requirements, services and technology. This allows everyone, not just technical experts, to become familiar with the team skills, the architecture and how these come together to delivers the required solution.

Once everyone knows what their role is towards building the required solution, people can find their purpose and become more effective. Also, if you are a consultant that provides advice to your customers based on finding how things fit together, this will solve that problem very well. No diagramming tool experience needed!

 

If you’d like to read some more

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