Voting Is Always Good, Right?
In today’s “social everything” environment, rating and voting have been added to all sorts of software, including classic project management systems and idea capture tools. Is voting the answer to higher quality decisions in product and project management?
On the surface, voting sounds completely reasonable. Who wouldn’t want to know which features or defects get the most votes, so that the work that is most important to the largest group of users gets done first? The fly in the ointment for voting-based decision making is in some hidden assumptions—assumptions that are not universally true. Read more…
We meandered through the Boston Museum of Fine Art today, and on the path I noticed a saying on the wall, in a gallery of photographic prints. In a flash, I realized it captures why I do photography, and it’s essence is why I am a coach, how I practice the craft of consulting and one of the key strategies to releasing project teams from obstacles so they can generate better results.
Revealing a subject in a new way is the core of so many things, as the generator of insight, as the trigger to see new approaches to help organizations and individuals to get “unstuck”, as the way to build collaboration and help teams to be more powerful, and often as the key in the lock of an issue that others haven’t yet found a way to open and solve.
Breakthroughs in coaching people and organizations, practicing the craft of consulting and navigating complex projects depend on a knack to take “what everyone knows” and turn it around to look at it from a unique direction. The moment this hidden vision is unlocked, new and sometimes seemingly impossible things become possible.
I think this I’ll put this one up on the wall here too!
The Agile software development movement and the realization that Agile techniques work in non-software environments have led to practitioner discussions asking “Are we Agile if…?”, or the Agile-but counterpoint “We’re Agile, but we don’t…”
Of late, many have repeated the mantra that Agile is a mindset, not just a set of cookie-cutter elements to be applied unilaterally. These elements need to be tailored to fit the organization based on it’s stage of development and environmental factors in order to create positive results.
It seems to me that deciding an organization’s level of agility based on adherence to a prescribed practice and ceremony list is not an evaluation process that fits with the key concepts of Agile itself!
The first element of the Agile Manifesto is “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.” Here is my approach, focusing on individuals and interactions, for answering the question “Are we Agile if…?”
This quick post is about a question from a project design meeting for a new mobile application. The application will have a gesture-based graphical interface, initially targeted for iPhone and later on for Android and other platforms. At issue is the question of whether use of screen gestures while driving represent a new driver attention risk.
My first thought was “Anything that takes concentration off of the road is an attention risk, similar to texting or holding a phone instead of using a hands-free system.”
A compelling counter-argument in the discussion was that the device would be mounted within easy reach of the operator, in a fixed location, and these are “large gestures” that do not require any screen attention or reading. Doing a gesture on a touch screen device like this is no different in terms of attention for the driver than reaching to turn on windshield wipers or to adjust a radio on the dashboard.
In thinking about this while driving this afternoon, I’ve shifted to agree with the counter-argument, and think that gesture interfaces, as long as they don’t take careful examination or reading of a screen shouldn’t be a new risk.
What do you think about this question? Under what circumstances would using gesture-based commands with a mobile app represent a new driver concentration risk, and under what circumstances are this sort of interaction benign?
The Hidden Return on Investment Discussion
There is an untold perspective, amid the blizzard of posts and comments about measurement of, inability to measure, or the non-sensical nature of measuring ROI (return on investment) for projects. When you are asked “what is the ROI of this?” you are often being asking a set of questions—only one of which has anything to do with money, investment or returns.
An effective response to an ROI question requires an understanding of the organizational view of ROI. Absent an awareness of the organizational view, answers may be seen as disingenuous and evasive. Neither attempting to divert a reasonable question, nor attempting to demonstrate that there is no basis for the question are productive strategies, regardless of the language used to disguise the maneuver.
There is a better, more productive path to answering questions about Read more…
The New Mainstream 3D Virtual World Project
Today’s mainstream users of 3D virtual worlds have expectations and needs that do not match those of pioneering explorers of these platforms. New projects are measured in different ways, and expecting a mainstream project to be successful using an explorer’s strategy is like expecting that you can win a road race riding a tricycle.
Early 3D virtual world experiments were driven by explorers trying to push the boundaries of possibility. These projects tested the feasibility of ways that a 3D virtual world could be used, and focused on trial scenarios to prove or disprove a particular usage theory. Success was often measured on technical terms, with users whose involvement was project focused and short term.
Mainstream projects take feasibility as a given, and create an environment to support day to day use by the regular members of an organization — as an educational platform, a place to enable distributed teamwork for global companies and academic institutions, as a virtual classroom environment, or a “better conference call”.
Mainstream projects have user-driven success metrics. Merely passing the “it works” test does not mean automatic project success. Successful mainstream projects result in “normal users” who are happy with the environment, find it to be compelling, continue to use it willingly and recommend its use to others. They judge the environment on how it improves their day to day experience while doing their real work, not based on whether it is a cool technology or has promising possibilities. They also have limited motivation to learn a new environment as an exploratory exercise, and must find value in the experience quickly in order to justify additional effort.
Mainstream 3D Virtual World Project Success Factors