Category Archives: Software development

Software development articles generally relate to the implementation stages of the development process. We also discuss overall approaches and strategy to creating and managing software products, including waterfall, agile, and other methodologies.

Agile Cadabra

Agile is not magical. Changing from a waterfall process to an agile process changes how your team works, and helps eliminate inefficiencies. Adopting an agile process does not let you magically have a more successful product. What makes agile powerful is also makes it dangerous.

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Whole Product Game

How can Theodore Levitt’s classic Whole Product approach help with defining a product roadmap?  I’ve been revisiting his concepts and their use recently, thinking about how to revise them for some exercises I’ve been doing with product teams.

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Why Do Products Fail? – Ignoring Context

Wrapping up the your product failed because you didn’t enable your users to realize value branch of the root causes of product failure, is this article on the context in which your user is using your product.  If you ignore your user’s context, they won’t be able to realize the value you provide – or won’t be interested in solving those particular problems at that particular time.

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Why Do Products Fail? – Forgetting that Users Learn

Next up in the series on the root causes of product failure – products that fail because you have ignored the user’s level of experience.  The first time someone uses your product, they don’t know anything about it.  Did you design your interfaces for new users?  After they’ve used it for a while, they get pretty good at using it.  How much do you think they like being forced to take baby steps through a guided wizard now?

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Why Do Products Fail? – Incomplete Solutions

This article continues the series exploring the root causes of product failure.  Even when you target the right users, and identify which of their problems are important to solve, you may still fail to solve the problems sufficiently.

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20/20 Vision – Innovation Game in Action

Having an outside-in bias as a product manager is important – you need to understand how your customers (or your customer’s customers) would value capabilities you might build into your product.  When running a workshop to collect that information, playing some “serious games” is a great way to get more and better information.  We ran a few 20/20 Vision games last week, to great effect.

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Specializing Generalist

The ideal agile team is made up of specializing generalists – but what does that really mean?  The goal isn’t to prevent functional silos of expertise, it is to allow people to cover for each other.

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Agile Estimation, Prediction, and Commitment

Your boss wants a commitment.  You want to offer a prediction.  Agile, you say, only allows you to estimate and predict – not to commit.  “Horse-hockey!” your boss exclaims, “I want one throat to choke, and it will be yours if you don’t make a commitment and meet it.”  There’s a way to keep yourself off the corporate gallows – estimate, predict, and commit – using agile principles.

This is an article about agile product management and release planning.

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Agile Documentation

Agile values working software over comprehensive documentation – it is 1/4th of the original manifesto.  That doesn’t mean don’t document!  It means don’t document more than you need to document.  Documentation does have value, but the practice of documenting got excessive – that’s why a reaction to the bad stuff earned a spot as one of the pillars of agile.  How do you avoid over-reacting when changing a culture of over-documentation?

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Good Stuff on Agile and UXD

Best practices for user experience design and agile.  I don’t have the brainpower at the moment, or the experience and eloquence in general, to say it better than these guys.  So this week, I’m phoning it in, and deferring to these folks to say it far better than I can.

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