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Connected

Connected, by Luke Gilford, is a portrait of a woman grappling with aging, self-perception, and transformation in a technologically optimized world. Jackie (Pamela Anderson) is a burnt-out AuraCycle instructor in the midst of a midlife crisis. She’s obsessed with self-improvement podcasts (voiced by Jane Fonda), and she is soon drawn to an advanced yet enigmatic wellness spa that promises to enhance her mind, body and soul. Guided by her effortless and nubile mentor, Luna (Dree Hemingway), Jackie will give up anything to feel “connected” — to herself, to the future, and to a precarious sense of perfection.

Force of Habit is a Good Habit for Agile

It’s wax_onwhat I heard in the New York subway. “Oh I do that out of a force of habit.”

Habitual things can be bad things, especially when they turn out to be addictions. But besides that, they are usually neither bad nor good. They are what make you “you”. They are what make you good at your job, or more efficient in what you do for yourself.

You lock your bicycle when you arrive at the public library, you put your reading glasses in your left jacket pocket. You do things because they make sense and stick to it.

When it comes to Agile we want to break through the tradition. But only when this tradition is holding you back from improving. In fact we want people to create new habits. To become more efficient.

It’s how we learn to do things. The first time we need assurance. We need to test the waters and we need to get more confidence doing what we do. This is how I learned to drive a car. And I was not very quick at that. It took me a while to feel comfortable driving because there is no real margin for error.

We want that force of habit.

Old habits die hard, so that’s why we need to find a way to break with them. As I mentioned in my previous blogs, one of the habits we have from old days is to estimate work in time. Another one is to take all the time you allotted for a ceremony or meeting. More efficient is to estimate relative to all the work that needs to be done so we can actually increase our work speed without the student syndrome slowing us.

Often I am brought into a situation because organisations fail to get their Agile implementation to work. Interestingly enough, this usually doesn’t work because items are missing or misunderstood. Because old habits or preconceptions prompt organisations to omit essential Agile ceremonies or change them into inefficiency.

In my trainings I often refer to the movie “Karate kid” where the protagonist wants to learn karate and is taught how to wax the car of his sensei. Most people remember when I mention “wax on, wax off”. The sensei, Mr. Miyagi, is teaching him not about the power of strikes or stance. First he is teaching the movement to make. I compare this with the training drilling platform personnel goes through before being allowed on the platform. In dangerous situations you just want people to do what gives them the best survival opportunities.

It’s building “muscle memory”, it’s learning people to become, as Maslow taught us, unconsciously skilled. To form habits. To leave the cognitive elements of your work unhindered by the everyday tasks.

How does that make an organisation do Agile better?

Many organisations strike standard elements from Agile frameworks. Unlike traditional methodologies, frameworks like Scrum don’t have a lot of redundant ceremonies or other elements. Not doing retrospectives or standups because “they don’t work in our organisation” is one of the biggest traps a transforming organisation can step into. Do them, keep doing them and in the meantime figure out why they work.

Learn to walk before you can run, learn to run before you start competing in a marathon. Build good habits. Agile coaches can help there. The force of habit will help you do Agile in the most efficient way.

Hide and Seek with a GoPro

The Two Most Important Metrics for DevOps

Mobile phone

In my earlier blogpost I discussed the purpose of DevOps, namely reducing the time and effort it takes to put software into production and allowing for more (continuous) production deployments. Why is this important? The typical answer is that in the digital age, SPEED is the name of the game and it is important to be able to increase the speed to market of IT solutions. Doesn’t everyone expect cool new features for their favorite software to be available on an on-going basis? Doesn’t “the business” require enhancements and new capabilities in business applications to be in production as quickly as possible? So great, DevOps (and Agile) should give us this speed to production. But how is success measured? Increased frequency of releases? Reduction in the amount of time it takes to perform a deployment? Reduction in the lead time from the start of a “project” to the production release of this project? Levels of automation? All these are certainly valid ways to measure progress in DevOps, but they are not the most critical “macro” metrics that tell us if we have improved SPEED in IT. These are [Read more…]

Blue Eyed Me

This is the world of the 99-cent lifeform. Like a social media profile or an online shopping list tailored to our hobbies, we collect genetically modified pets, engineered to look like their owners.

IT is dead – Long live IT

Few days ago, I was browsing the LinkedIn feeds when my eyes got stuck on yet another new post arguing that…

Offshore Delivery Model was definitely dead

Whereas, I think it is just booming.

To be honest, I don’t mind if this perspective for ‘Offshore’ is right or wrong. I am tired of hearing a new prediction saying that an IT thing is categorically dead. Not because it’s IT but just because we heard that melody so many times, about so many things. My natural positive attitude drove me to more constructive thoughts. So, I decided to list some of the so-called dead IT topics:

Thin client will kill my Fat PCthin client

When this revolutionary light workplace concept was born in the 90’s, many opinion leaders prophesied the irremediable extinction of the Fat Client in couple of years. Feel free to have a look at the trend of computer sales below: [Read more…]

Woman on Hong Kong subway melts down when her phone battery dies

Source

The Future of Coding

DSC_8608_LOWRESMy kids don’t understand what I do for a living. To them “I work on the computer” and “I push buttons”.

Computer programming and designing apps that run on their PCs, tablets and phones is a concept that their Elementary aged minds just couldn’t seem to grasp. So, when the local coding community hosted an ‘Hour of Code’ day recently, I dragged them to it kicking and screaming.

Turns out they loved it.

Next thing you know they were writing basic code. Instead of playing with a joystick to control a robot they were changing variables and adding lines of code to program a Dash and Dot robot. They were even adding and editing lines of code to program games for popular characters like Star Wars and Frozen.

At one point my daughter made a mistake in her code and [Read more…]

Kisses in Tokyo

“ili is a voice translation device that translates your words instantly in a touch without connecting to the Internet. Dean, who is from the UK and doesn’t speak Japanese, uses ili to communicate with Japanese women whom he has never met before to ask for a kiss.

We don’t need a common language. We can communicate with anyone in the world even if we don’t speak the same language. Say goodbye to all language barriers!”

The above advert was branded as ‘sexual harassment’, but has been revealed as a stunt, after the CEO admitted the video was staged.The women in this video are all actresses; no one was forced to act against their will in any way.

Internet of Things in the Energy & Utilities Sector

energylightTo continue my series of blog posts about how to practice the Internet of Things, let’s look at how it can be used in different sectors, and first out is the Energy and Utilities sector.

One very interesting possibility with the Internet of Things is to make things visible that are usually not. Such an example is electricity, which is omnipresent in our lives, but still is not something we can see. One important aspect of electricity is it’s price, and that is also not visible in any easy way. Since most energy markets are open and prices vary over time, it could be profitable to keep track of prices, so that you can optimize your use of energy, e.g. wash the clothes when the price for electricity is low. More importantly, this kind of behavior will actually help the energy suppliers as the load on the grid is evened out over time. This in turn will have an impact on overall energy use.

The problem is that prices are not easily visible, and it’s a bit cumbersome to keep track of the suppliers web site or even their app. That’s where the Internet of Things can help, like putting a connected smart light in each home that change color to reflect the price variations. Then the whole family (even small children) can get a sense of the current price, and even more interesting, it builds a general awareness of energy use, which is increasingly important in these times of global warming.

Here is a video on how such a device can be put together.

 

Minimum Viable Bureaucracy (MVB)

 

Bureaucracy-1How much bureaucracy can an organization bare in order to be able to respond to disruptive innovation? As less as possible. We can frame that as the “Minimum Viable Bureaucracy”, in sync with the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) from the Lean Startup and DevOps practices. We need just that level of bureaucracy to maintain the choas we need to be innovative, and the structure we need to not fall into total disorder.

But the tragedy of organizational culture is that in it tends to optimize on the wrong stuff. The result is that mediocracy will take over. Although we mean to do well (I think), we don’t know what we’re are doing in optimizing the less important stuff: HR procedures, useless meetings, weird IT procedures, it all alienates people and dehumanizes organizations. No wonder startups can win the fight. It’s taking away resources from the more important elements: humans, clients, obsessions to do  best for them.

It’s all there in writing. Either you look at Clayton Christensen’s “overshooting” theory on disruptive innovation, or in the systems theory of Hannah Arendt’s treatise on the “Banality of the evil”. In the end organizations end up to be mediocre, because they are obsessed with procedures and optimizing what the install based system needs. It just a matter of time for a new generation of companies to take over that focusses on matters of real life.

One way out is the Steve Job’s kind of leadership. He would not get fooled by mediocracy. The other is to introduce another system, the Minimum Viable Bureaucracy, and create a new space for innovation and creativity.

IBM tries to bolster cloud growth with developer tools

A women holds her laptop as she walks in front of a cloud computing logo at the booth of IBM during preparations for the CeBIT trade fair in Hanover, March 9, 2014. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

A women holds her laptop as she walks in front of a cloud computing logo at the booth of IBM during preparations for the CeBIT trade fair in Hanover, March 9, 2014. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – IBM’s efforts to bolster its cloud offerings could get a boost from new developer tools it is unveiling on Thursday.

The tools are aimed at helping IBM stake out more of a claim to an area key to its growth: the network of computers known as the cloud, where its customers are increasingly stashing more of their data and computing work.

In doing so, they often sidestep more expensive IBM technology, meaning IBM needs to bolster its own cloud offerings to compete.

The new tools help developers work faster, build more functions into existing software applications and create predictive analytics apps. They form part of IBM’s Bluemix service, designed for building Web and mobile apps.

Internet-based companies like accommodation service Airbnb and ride-service Uber have relied heavily on cloud-based software development. As well as attracting developers who work on projects for newer companies, IBM hopes to attract more established companies with which it has long-term relationships.

“IBM has a tremendous asset,” Derek Schoettle, general manager for IBM’s analytics platform and cloud data services, said of its customer base. “Helping them taking advantage of cutting-edge data services is a built-in advantage.”

The offerings compete against toolkits offered by Microsoft and others, he said, but offer more management.

Once built on IBM’s platform, the apps will be compatible with services offered by many cloud providers.

Over 100,000 apps a month are launched using Bluemix, IBM said.

When IBM reported its financial results last month, it said that while revenue fell overall to $81.7 billion for the year, cloud revenue grew 43 percent to $10 billion.

(Reporting by Sarah McBride; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Source : www. streetinsider.com

The Best of 2015: 60 seconds magic technology

The power of NOT in design

Some say strategy is what we are going to do, this only tells part of the story. What we will not do also is an important part of your strategy. Exactly the same goes for design. What is smart design, from a user perspective, or even a user experience perspective? What is in scope for an interaction, an interface? And also what is not in scope. What is not smart for this user? Who is not the user? ‘Not’ can be quite powerful.

If we talk about strategy, we usually state what we are going to do, to deliver. It’s usually what we choose to do. I’d like to add that what we are not going to do is equally important for your strategy. Choosing what not to do is sharpening your strategy much more than just a bit. Choosing what not to do in addition to what you will do makes a much more complete strategy to execute.

Warning

Creating creative ideas in design also takes a huge leverage on the use of not. In the practical problem solving method for innovation, known as [Read more…]

Disney launches a wall-climbing robot: Wally

They’re calling it VertiGo: a wall-climbing robot that is capable of transitioning from the ground to the wall, created in collaboration between Disney Research Zurich and ETH. But I think Wally would have been a better name 😉

The robot has two tiltable propellers that provide thrust onto the wall, and four wheels. One pair of wheels is steerable, and each propeller has two degrees of freedom for adjusting the direction of thrust. By transitioning from the ground to a wall and back again, VertiGo extends the ability of robots to travel through urban and indoor environments. The robot is able to move on a wall quickly and with agility. The use of propellers to provide thrust onto the wall ensures that the robot is able to traverse over indentations such as masonry. The choice of two propellers rather than one enables a floor-to-wall transition – thrust is applied both towards the wall using the rear propeller, and in an upward direction using the front propeller, resulting in a flip onto the wall.

2 Fundamental Reasons Why Your Marketing System Must Be A Platform

I’m biased. There. It’s out. I work with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget) and the experiences and learnings from it colour my views.

The system you choose must be a Platform. Now I’m not talking PaaS (Platform-as-a-service) in the sense that you need to build your own from the scratch. I’m talking about a Platform in context of having a system where you can add on capabilities – from the same vendor or from new ones – without having to change your core system.

There are two fundamental reasons why your marketing system must be a platform:

1: You might start small – but you will scale

Like most companies, you might end up starting small. This is rational and perfectly sound decision. We’ll start our marketing venture with just migrating the weekly newsletter. Then when you’ve confirmed and are happy with the performance – you start thinking, what’s next?

Could it be social targeting? Online ads? SMS? More dynamic email capabilities? Welcome Flows? Other customer journeys?

Regardless of your plans or thoughts – you need a system that can either scale to that point or has the capability that allows you to build on it (or buy 3rd party systems) to achieve your goals.

2: The world changes – but faster than before

Some would argue that the world is stabilizing for marketers, while many others would argue the opposite with IoT and ever increasing amounts of data. With some social media disappearing, others emerge with decreased attention spans and increased demands from customers. The world is becoming ever more complex – and if your marketing system, isn’t a platform where new capabilities can be built, it stands zero chance of anticipating and preparing you for the future.

The Next Big Thing: a new report on Machine Intelligence

The sixtieth anniversary of AI will take place in 2016. Many things have changed since the concept of AI was first launched. Following two winter periods and too many high expectations, the situation is finally clear: anyone who wishes so can start with machine intelligence tomorrow. Even the major players such as Amazon, Microsoft and IBM are embracing the current ‘AI for all’ era. Big Data, Machine Learning and the cloud offer you the chance to make more intelligent organizational decisions. Is something still missing in your toolbox? In that case, you can simply go to GitHub and check what kind of tools e.g. Airbnb, Google and Facebook have donated in that area.

[Read more…]

Workplace Generation Wars

generation warsNext time you go to the coffee machine, please  take a look and try to determine the different generations you work with. Feel free to take some time. Baby-boomers, Gen X-ers, Gen Y-ers, etc. Can you see how those generations are co-habitating among your business world? Although underlying, it is a true Workplace generation war!

But before we go deeper into this battlefield, let me first define myself. I’m a pure Gen X-er, MTV Generation to be exact. During my cursus I had to manage both younger and older people. Still the case today by the way. Moreover, dealing with pre-sales activities, I go and visit my customers, mainly to understand their business needs and so I have to scrutinize within many working environments and human habits. [Read more…]

4yr old Girl tries Oculus Rift for the first time

I especially like her last comment when her dad is talking to her. “Dad, I can’t see you, because I’m in the movie”. And that’s the big game changer, by wearing the Oculus Rift people will become part of the movie, the game or any other virtual environment. They have transferred their mind into another environment.

How to implement DevOps without buying new tools?

Builder_Tomas_Jussing_LOWRESDevOps is the new thing in IT. Many of our clients are either considering implementing DevOps or are well underway. For the moment, I’ll leave aside the question what DevOps actually is, because there appear to be as many interpretations of this as there are implementations.  The purpose of DevOps however is pretty clear: reducing the time and effort it takes to put software into production and allowing for more frequent production deployments. It is the companion of Agile but tackles the speed problem from the back-end of the SDLC (deployment, QA, environment control) rather than the front-end (requirements analysis, code development, integration testing).  Where Agile seeks to bring together business owners, developers, architects and testers, DevOps seeks to bring together final QA, environment operations, DBA, code management, and deployment operations.

It is obvious from the purpose of DevOps that to improve speed you will need to improve the level of automation in any of the steps involved in the deployment processes. And in order to improve levels of automation, tools are needed. So, what tools should you have? [Read more…]