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We have entered a new age of embedded, intuitive computing in which our homes, cars, stores, farms, and factories have the ability to think, sense, understand, and respond to our needs. It’s not science fiction, but the dawn of a new era.

via The Third Wave of Computing | Blog | design mind.

Scary? Powerful?

PierG

We have a practice at home: one day per week we have a ‘reading evening’. No TV is allowed: after dinner we take a book and we read all together.

Now what’s happening lately is that my 8-yrs-old digital-native heavy-iPad-user computer-enthusiast son started saying:

“OK Dad tonight we have our reading evening and you cannot read with the iPad, you have to use a paper book”

So I asked:

“why????”

And he said …. ok I don’t want to tell you the answer immediately :).

You guess: why he doesn’t want me to read with the iPad?

PierG

Courtesy of gluemoon, Some Rights Reserved

I remember when I did the keynote at XP2007 and someone told me: “amazing how fast you go in your company, I’m happy my users are not asking me to go that fast” I remember I said “they don’t ask because they don’t know you can go that fast“.

I always think of that moment when I see teams with slow process, full of unnecessary steps that are usually in place for at least 3 reasons:

  • historical reasons (= no one knows why AND no one asks why they are doing that way)
  • “because dept. XYZ/important person ABC once told us to do that way” (= no one knows why AND no one asks why they are doing that way)
  • for the illusion of control

When this happens, I suggest people to try something that I’ve learnt during my hypnosis training: time is not absolute. Time is not absolute in the sense that even if it were absolute, we just perceive it (as we do with reality in general). As we perceive it, we transform it through our senses. And as we transform it, it happens time can go faster or slower depending on … us.
As an example when you are on the dentist’s chair time is soooooooo slow while when you are on holidays … it’s unfortunately too fast :).

Now what if we apply this concept to your company, team, business, task, process?  Take your ‘lead time’: the time that is needed to go from the beginning to the end of the activity you want to speed up. Describe it putting everything inside: make a nice flowchart, Gantt chart, process map of what make you comfortable. Make it visual.
Now make the magic and say: what if I knew this stuff here can be done 10 times faster? Rule #1 stop saying “it is not possible” and start looking at all the components of your process as if you knew someone can go 10 times faster.

Our brain can be easily tricked: do you remember when your wife (or yourself) were pregnant? Do you remember how many pregnant girls you started noticing? Same stuff when you decide to buy a new car: it seems everyone in the world has that car all of a sudden.
This is called focus: your brain is so focused on this new important stuff that all of your energies go there and you start noticing stuff that you were not noticing before, your brain start automatically acting in a different way trying to satisfy your new needs.

Use the same trick here: convince yourself you can do it 10 times faster, 10xFaster:
What can you make differently?
Can you cut a step in your process?
Can you simplify?
Can you use different people with different skills to it more quickly?
Are different roles beneficial?
Does it help if  you change the way in which people communicate?
Do you have to change software?
Are you really sure you have to do that extra manual step?

Don’t let the context (rules, politics, …) limit your new behavior: you can di it 10 time faster!

Do it. For 30′. In team. Deeply. And then leave … because you know, in the moment you start this process, your brain starts to be focused in that direction and this is the best tool I know to start changing.

PierG

By By R/DV/RS, Some Rights Reserved

Every time I hear of a big IT projects, with a big RFP, with a big upfront multi-months/years analysis … I think of what happened to my friend Gianmarco some years ago.

He bought a house. The house was already partially built when he bought it (quite common in Italy). As soon as he bought it, he had some choices to make like: where do you want the light switch in the kitchen?
Yes because in the contract the constructor left some flexibility in the form of multiple choices on some things:  in this way he can manage some of the changes the owner will need.
Now the problem is that Gianmarco wanted the light switch in a position and of a type that was not part of the options so … he had to pay an extra something (Change Request) and he did it ’cause it was his house, his dream.
As soon as he had time, so many things to do!!!, he went to the furniture maker who designed a great solution but … unfortunately they discovered the new position of the light switch was not good at all. Unfortunately the work to move the switch was already done and so some more money where need for another Change Request.
So two choices: have a ‘not such great solution’ or .. pay another something.
As it was his new house, Gianmarco decided to pay again.
That was a great period for Gianmarco as, few months before moving to the new house, his wife discovered to be pregnant! Great news!
The baby was born few weeks after they moved to the new house and quickly they discovered that this unexpected ‘event’ was not compatible with the brand new kitchen: there was no big table or proper position where to ‘sit’ him and have him under the watchful eye of his parents. So??? Another Change Request 🙂
Now, going back to my IT projects I have a question: why do we, as IT people, learn from the wrong examples?
PierG

When a SW project finish, a Project Manager is a happy, a company can send the bill and … the team moves to another project leaving the code to the lucky maintenance team.

Is the project team deeply motivated to build a product who can last for long? Is the maintenance team skilled (and willing and has the right incentive) to make the system working better and better?

Mmmm….

Here is a possible recipe:

Form long-lived teams around applications/products, or sets of features.  A team works from a prioritised backlog of work that contains a mix of larger initiatives, minor enhancements, or BAU-style bug fixes and maintenance.  Second-level support should be handled by people in the product team.  Everyone in the team should work with common process and a clear understanding of technical design and business vision.

via Projects are evil and must be destroyed | Evan Bottcher.

What do you think?
PierG

ok I know some things about IT projects:

1. many IT projects I know usually fail

2. the vast majority of big IT projects I know in Corporate IT fails

Now the question is why? Because if I can understand why, maybe I can solve problem and suxk less 🙂

Unfortunately there are many reasons, but I want to underline one of these reasons that’s particularly true for big projects that span across different business units or areas in a corporations (like CRMs, ERPs …): lack of Product Owner.

Who has the ownership of the project? Who’s accountable for the functionality of the Project / Product as a whole? Who’s responsible that what’s been developed is good for the company and is coherent with the company strategy?

Yes you can find Owners for each business unit or area (maybe!) but what about the Corporate view? Is IT responsible for it? Has IT knowledge or power enough to close this gap?

PierG

I’ve collected some resources about “UX and friends” and I want to share them with you. I hope they can inspire or be helpful!

10 Most Popular Drawing iPhone Apps 2012
http://smashinghub.com/10-most-popular-drawing-iphone-apps-2012.htm

How ‘Lean UX’ Can Improve Application Development
http://www.cio.com/article/703557/How_Lean_UX_Can_Improve_Application_Development?taxonomyId=3172&page=1

Organizational Challenges for UX Professionals
http://uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2012/04/organizational-challenges-for-ux-professionals.php

Designing For Mobile – Best Practices for Superior User Experiences
http://www.the-cma.org/about/blog/designing-for-mobile

PierG

A friend of mine, Managing Director of an european firm, called me a couple of years ago. He used to have a problem with his team: no one was taking care of responsibilities. The team was pretty focused but everyone was working his own “‘piece’ and putting the pieces together was not giving a good result.

So he called a senior manager and put him in charge of the product: no questions, he was responsible of the good and the bad of everything on that product.

Things were going better … till after some months he started suffering the same problem that his Managing Director used to have. And so he applied the same solution: took a couple of his top managers, splitted the product in two, and gave them full responsibility.

Things were going better … till after some more months they started suffering the problem the Senior Manager and the Managing Director used to have. And so the two Top managers applied the same strategy splitting the product and giving each of them some well defined responsibilities to some of their directs.

And so on through several layers of the organization.

My friend the Managing Director called my few weeks ago: he is happy the company is still open 🙂 but he has the same problem. Everybody is now responsible … so nobody is responsible.

He need a new recipe: any suggestion?

PierG

Talking with my friends @anpesoli and @absolutesubzero I gave a name to something I was thinking and preaching around. This idea is called Prediction Martkets.

The theory behind Prediction Markets is that the crowd has a wisdom that sometimes might give interesting results if compared with the wisdom of the experts.

Here is the wikipedia definition:

Prediction markets […] are speculative markets created for the purpose of making predictions. The current market prices can then be interpreted as predictions of the probability of the event or the expected value of the parameter.
People who buy low and sell high are rewarded for improving the market prediction, while those who buy high and sell low are punished for degrading the market prediction. Evidence so far suggests that prediction markets are at least as accurate as other institutions predicting the same events with a similar pool of participants.

If you want to know more, just drop me a line.

PierG

Corporations have CEOs, investors and a disdain for failure. Because they fear failure, they legislate behavior that they believe will avoid it.

Cities, on the other hand, don’t regulate what their citizens do all day (they might prohibit certain activities, but generally, market economies permit their citizens to fail all they like).

via Seth’s Blog: Cities don’t die (but corporations do).

PierG

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