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Quick Poll: How well do we work together?

Just back from User Experience Week 2006 - which is a great intersection of practioners/industry experts from both profit/non-profit worlds of user experience/interaction designers/product managers/information architects....anyone involved in excperience design. more on conference to come as I get time.

Attended a great session by Chris Conley of Gravity Tank, ITT Professor about how we have really lost teh ability to work together creatively and collaboratively with organizations. I'm curious to hear your thoughts?

Workshop: Discovering requirements from use cases

Not summarizing the class contents, but just recording some thoughts. My disappointment is not with the instructor, who has great knowledge and interest and integrity -- a career focused on transforming software development art into repeatable craft; rather, I felt let down (as I so often am with methodologies) by the fundamental impracticality or impossibility of the methods being taught.

His premise was all about the primacy of requirements, that deeply comprehensive and accurate requirements make true engineering possible. I believe that. Yet human language-based requirements are wildly difficult to disambiguate, even with exhaustive effort; therefore, he proposes use case development and many other mapping activities to flesh out these details until validity/verifiability is fully realized.

Training Summary: Managing Multiple Priorities

Training Summary: Managing Multiple Priorities
Instructor: Anne Pritchard
MicroAssist July 31, 2006
Topic: How to become effective and efficient in handling multiple goals.

General Comments: The class was held at the Norris Conference Center next to Beall’s at Northcross Mall. MicroAssist provided a nice lunch. The instructor followed the agenda in her handout, but she didn’t read her handout. She aligned the topic with appropriate analogies and solicited input from the students. She was prepared and enjoyable. This was a nice refresher course.

The Fallacy of Premature Optimization

I came accross this article, which goes into one of the major software design misconceptions out there. I've heard this echoed many times: XML doesn't have to be compact, the network will get faster; Java doesn't have to be fast computers will get faster, etc.

I've also seen many systems bogged down with fundamental designs enforcing poor performance. Most of the time the problem is designers that don't understand the impact of shared resources on a web server. They worry about CPU cycles on individual requests when they use a property heavy remote object, or abuse a database with multiple small requests in a transaction.

The iMIS 'Rainy Day' list

Over the last year we have had a list of 'rainy day' things to do with iMIS. These are basically quick tasks that an iMIS consultant, or an iMIS system administrator, can do if they have a few hours spare (generally when it is raining for some reason - hence the name 'rainy day' list).

This list floats around on email and generally comes up again when consultants have some free time.

It occurred to me that this is not just something that we do in Australia. In fact, the list is a perfect candidate for a wiki that can be accessed by consultants and system administrators globally.

Buses don't take credit cards?

Boss,

I know you only care if I pass my exams, however you really need to know the extent to which I went through.

At my age, you really have two problems, your memory and a need to go to the bathroom. Since these exams really require use of ones memory, I subscribe to the Zen approach of study, review and on the day of the exam, lots of rest, no stress, eat light, drink water, use the bathroom, arrive with plenty of time, and focus. My wife volunteered to take my daughter, Terin to daycare and leave me with some extra time to review (ok cram) and focus before the exam. So I happily packed my 2 year-old into mom's care, kissed them both good-bye and never even noticed Terin dangling my set of keys in her fingers.

Looking for an iMISer

We conducted a Breakfast Club Seminar in Brisbane this month which went very well and, as per usual, we took on board relevant client feedback.

Something I thought to be very interesting that was suggested to me was the fact that organisations are always looking for experienced iMIS users. Think how many times you have been asked - "Do you know of any experienced iMIS users looking for some work?". We had one attendee at the breakfast specifically there to network and see if she could find someone who knew of an iMISer.

Program summary: High-tech training for low-tech people

ASTD Austin July 21, 2006

Program: High-Tech Training for Low-Tech People
Presenter: Katrina Schold, Manager of Client Education & Support at Convio (previously at Dell, Tivoli/IBM, Hire.com, and Best Software)

Topic: How to adjust training to transfer appropriate technological information to a non-technical audience: tips for reading and managing a diverse audience, responding to signals, and explaining technology despite a student's inexperience or misgivings.

Free mobile (cell) phone calls

Our corporate mobile plan in AP was updated a few weeks ago so that all mobile calls between any phone on the plan is now free. Previously, we were paying upwards of 30 cents/minute for these calls.

Today, I was working remotely, and spent about 3 hours on the phone - all for free. Last month that would have cost me $80 in call charges.

I thought this was interesting in light of the new VoIP offerings that are now available in their many forms, including the internal ASI system and well known public systems like Skype. Is this a response from the large telco's to make sure we continue to use their services? Our telco is Telstra - the largest in Australia - and I believe they are also making similar moves for home phones so that you get unlimited calls for a fixed monthly fee.

Julie moves to Melbourne

Over 10 years ago Julie Willett started working for me on the back veranda of my home in Brisbane, Australia. That was in 1995 and iMIS was just starting out in Australia. We had about 6 customers at the time, and Julie actually worked at one of them - BOMA - and her dad was the Executive Director there. He was also a life member of AuSAE so it was in Julie's blood to become an active participant in the association and fundraising sector and help our customers achieve great things through innovative solutions.

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