Estimates Are Always Wrong

Success in business

There was a project manager that judiciously kept track of estimates and actual hours for every feature. Her goal was to eventually get perfect estimates. It was a pipe dream. No matter how many years you have been developing or managing information technology projects, there is no perfect formula for estimating hours. It follows that there is no correct project schedule either. How can you mitigate the risks? [Read more...]

Innovation on a dime – putting all the pieces together

zink-1Little known to my peers, in August 2007 after purchasing a laptop for my dad, a marketing flyer that came with the packaging had a catchy subject, “Join the IdeaStorm website and help us to craft a new wave of products”; the actual site still exists; at the time I submitted this idea “Bluetooth enabled printers: The technology is out, Bluetooth has demonstrated to be a reliable and fast way to transmit data. Network vendors even have Bluetooth printer adapter that sells for $99. Why not make a photo/laser printer with a built-in Bluetooth adapter?. Less cables, less weight for shipping, less space for packing and ability to share the printer without having a network (and a print server) setup.” [Read more...]

Too Much, Too Early

prototypeLast week, we were in a discussion about a new mobile web interface for a client. We were looking for feedback on the design. The initial design was presented and we expected to get feedback about the usage of screen space and the navigation model or flow if you like. Instead we received a lot of feedback about the lack of brand identity and proper use of colours. Looking back at the situation the design was already too much like a realized interface, which hinted towards the wrong discussion. We should have had a much rougher prototype of the interface where the design was sketchier to get the focus on the right (lower) level of the design, not on finalizing it. [Read more...]

Reduce Tomorrow’s Rework by Addressing Knowledge Debt Today

easy-debt-pay-off-tips-300x163Software maintenance effort usually represents between 50% and 90% of the total budget that companies invest in software engineering activities. Sogeti’s World Quality Report concludes, in alignment with existing studies and software professional experiences, that once a system is released, we usually need to come back to it (for corrective maintenance, evolution, quality assurance activities, etc.). [Read more...]

You Are Digital Marketing

-499649Long ago I used to enjoy getting the Publisher’s Clearinghouse mass mailing promising that Ed McMahon would show up to give my parents a check for $1,000,000. As a result though, I’d find myself looking through a ton of stamps for various magazines they were hoping my household would purchase.

Fast forward a few years and soon mass mailings were replaced by online banners and pop-ups as well as email marketing campaigns. These methods of marketing were often ignored by individuals as much as billboards on freeways are ignored. With email, the junk category and spam filtering technologies often blocked most of the unsolicited noise from the web. [Read more...]

Internet of Things: Culture clash or end of cultures?

brain“Could my loss of focus be a result of all the time I’ve spent online? In search of an answer to that question, I began to dig into the many psychological, behavioural, and neurological studies that examine how the tools we use to think with — our information technologies — shape our habits of mind.” [Read more...]

Design thinking in engineering

loadingThe “time to leave for meeting” message pops up on your phone. You leave the office, look up the address and get into your car. You unlock it remotely and start the engine, only to find that the in-car navigation responds with “please wait”. No indication on how much longer you have to wait, in fact, no response from the system whatsoever. And you remain. Waiting. [Read more...]

One Data per World

increased storage needs“Let him who has never been limited by disk space be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Companies, like individuals, are using less and less their personal computers or servers to store their data. The vast majority of worldwide files and data are stored in the cloud (Google Drive, Microsoft Enterprise Storage, Hubic, iCloud, Dropbox…).
These solutions offer expandable or unlimited storage solutions. [Read more...]

In the Architecture Office #6: Business, business, business…

Herbert BirchbranchPreviously in the Architecture PracticeChief architect Herbert Birchbranch (called Herb in the text) implemented a digital Kanban board as a mechanism to increase the throughput of work in his architecture office. Herb continues his journey to build a highly valuable and efficient architecture practise [Read more...]

Productivity, Throughput, and WIP in IT

productivityI once worked in the IT department of a large Insurance company and the running joke was that if IT were asked to produce an application that simply displayed “Hello World” on the screen, this would take IT at least 6 months to deliver. In general, IT is not typically described as an area of the company that is all that “productive”: Things get delivered that no one can remember having asked for, and they are produced too slowly. [Read more...]