Monday, June 21, 2010

I have a workshop and a bridge to sell you...come on by

Corporate Clown
Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: herval

I got an advertisement for a workshop about how to develop SaaS products. The title was, "Silly Agility--The Myth of the SaaS Agile Product Manager". Here is some of the text of the advertisement:

"XP was an attempt to replace waterfall development approaches with something new...[References a generic project]...objectively analyzed, [this project] was a failure; after five years the product wasn't completed and the development effort was terminated."

My first though is that this is a sensational advertisement to get bodies in the door of a poorly conceived of workshop. My second thought is that this is damaging to the career of person advertising it. Factually speaking: When the Agile principals were defined, it wasn't an exercise in creating newness for its own sake. Another objection, is that a "Agile" project that drags on and on then finally fails isn't using Agile principals in the first place. If its going to fail, it should fail fast rather than crew through a budget until the end. They don't understand Agile principals and shouldn't be talking about them in a talk they expect somebody to spend $200 on. I worry about the presenter's financial future though. My personal experience is that I have never met, or read about, a product manager disliking Agile once they tried it - unless that PM is more focused on the manager portion of their title than the product part. Who is going to come to this talk? I don't expect these to be people who are taking the industry in new directions. I think this a talk for people who are keeping the status quo. Statically these aren't the most successful people and not good clients to count your future on. Enjoy your echo chamber.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Android: What I like about you

Anybody who has been to our office knows I am an Android fan. My prediction is that the Android platform will end up with a much, much larger install base than iPhone OS. Originally, I felt this way because you can get a Android phone on every carrier for a lower cost than the iPhone - many of them are now free with a contract. This is good enough, but I have a new insight. The Android OS does a great job of directing your attention to highly important information. As such, its easier for new users to pick up and for busy people to use. How can this be? You should argue that the the Android OS so similar to the iPhone OS. You are right. However, it comes down to usability. The majority of people out there won't explore their device to find information. They just want the phone to do the work for them. If it doesn't smack them in the head it might as well not exist. Android has two crucial features that make it a helper more than just a smart phone.

First, Android brings important information to you in a non-intrusive way. If I get an email, phone call, SMS, or IM it see it on the very top in the tool bar. I can choose to ignore it or look at it. Its up to me. iPhone OS requires me to scan all of the badges on my desktop to find important updates.

Second, Androids have a back button. Its not the escape hatch home the iPhone and iPad have, but a button that lets you go back one step. I can explore my apps knowing that if something goes wrong I can jump back one step rather than completely starting over.

So its a helper and allows me to explore things without running into trouble. That's a good user experience.

:: Originally Posted on Pathfinder Development's Blog ::