One of the frustrations of managing software development is that different people have a different idea of what “Done” means. It can range from “It compiles and it’s checked in”, to “It compiles, and all the unit tests pass, and new unit tests were added for the new functionality, and the documentation was updated, as was the issue tracking system, and the QA guys signed off on it”. This is especially a problem with Agile development, because so much rides on a common understanding of the state of the software.
Alixx Skevington recently posted an article in the Agilistas group on LinkedIn called My Manifesto of done. It’s an interesting read, and a good start. He’s flagged it as a draft, so I don’t say that as a criticism. I know I’m going to follow that discussion (I’ve already contributed to it). Hopefully it will turn into something that companies can point a finger at and say “Do this”.
This is an awesome article. I found the link from the Semantic Web group on LinkedIn. I haven’t spot-checked it for accuracy, but there’s a fair amount of dispute over the history of computers and the Internet anyway. But this article is very enjoyable, and includes many related historical points, like when certain companies formed, and the history of tangential technologies that made the Internet possible. It’s a good read for geeks, and a great primer for geeks-in-training.
I got a link to this post from the Agile Alliance LinkedIn group. Yes, it’s an article about Agile software development. I love Agile (and rolled out Agile practices at my previous employer). It’s about people who go through the motions of Agile without really doing it, let alone understanding it.
If you’re not into Agile, though, the whole cargo cult meme is fascinating, and worth reading about.
FastCompany was, until fairly recently, a really good monthly magazine focused on design, innovation, business accumen, and success and failure stories. It’s important to me to keep up on both technology and business (follow the bits with one eye, and the money with the other), and that magazine really rounded out my reading. Now they’re completely online, and a daily email gives me a small dose of the same brilliant stories and ideas. I certainly enjoyed the magazine, but I admit I’m very short on reading time these days.
Today’s post has an article on how the most creative people (determined by them, of course) generally don’t twitter or facebook or scrob or blog (though there are notable exceptions). The author’s theory is that it’s not the time involved that prevents them from publishing, but the lack of apparent ROI for doing so. They don’t see the value in it, and powerful busy people don’t do things that aren’t going to benefit them in some tangible way.
Louis Gray, a seasoned technology blogger, blames the “corporate” mentality. Even though it seems like everyone (read: Oprah) is talking about Twitter, he says, the service primarily caters to young people and early adopters. Ditto Flickr and Last.fm. Older, more experienced CEOs and CEO-types–many of whom populate our list–are more reluctant to play along, especially if they don’t see any significant ROI on their 140 character missives. “We saw the same thing happen with blogs,” Gray explains. “Big businesspeople aren’t just going to start sharing themselves on the Internet for no reason. They need to hear about these services from trusted third parties,” such as friends, family, analysts and PR consultants.
I was heavily involved in semantic web, ontologies, and natural language processing in my last company. I was supposed to work on that in my current company. In other words, I’ve been following this stuff for a while. The realization I came to is that, while it would be cool if everyone added all this metadata to their content on the Internet, and the cylons could take care of complex tasks for us automatically, like “Book me a room in a hotel near the Hynes Convention Center next Friday through Sunday with one queen size bed, bill it to my Visa card, and send the confirmation email to my Blackberry”, it’s not going to happen. The simple truth is it’s a lot more work than most content creators think is worthwhile, and adding metadata to existing content is nigh impossible. Just to save some businessman about an hour poking around the Internet for hotel recommendations and booking a room. Read on…