What Is a “Stand-up” and Why Do We Do It?

LINK: Guide to Agile Practices: Daily Meeting

standup-modell1I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to explain what a “stand-up” meeting is. I usually handle this question off-the-cuff, explaining that the meeting is daily, time-boxed (time-limited) to 15 minutes and usually includes each team member answering the Three Questions.

Today we had a high school senior job shadowing several of the IT folks and I was tasked with showing him the stand-up meeting used by many of our development teams. I wanted him to have a take-away from the meeting to help him remember the “what” and “why” of our stand-ups, so I turned to the Internet. I came across this fantastic definition of  the stand-up meeting (or “Daily Meeting” as they refer to it) from the Agile Alliance.

Why Israelis Brag About Their Big Head (Rosh Godal)

LINK: Word of the day / Rosh gadol: What sort of head do you have?

In this article, Shoshana Kordova does a great job of explaining the Hebrew terms rosh gadol (“big head”) vs. rosh katan (“small head”). While telling someone that they have a big head may be career limiting in English speaking circles, telling them they are rosh gadol is paying them a high compliment. Rosh gadol describes the ability to see the big picture as opposed to focusing on the small tasks. Hit up the article for a helpful discussion of the difference in these two types of people and why organizations have (and need) both.

Years ago a great post on the Joel on Software blog discussed how developers would ideally be rosh gadol. In reality, your team will consist of both rosh gadol and rosh katan resources. As a project manager or technical lead, identifying which type of thinker each team member is can help you guide them towards tasks they’ll be more comfortable and efficient with. It might also help you manage your expectations when dealing with these two types of individuals.

Leaders Building Leaders Conference

Union College Division of Business hosted a great conference today called Leaders Building Leaders Conference during the college’s alumni weekend. I was fortunate to present an Agile form Managers topic during the conference. I’ve attached my slides here and will try to get some notes from other sessions I’ve attended posted here shortly.

Agile Intro – Managers slides.

Jony Ive and Design at Apple

I’ve been an Apple fanboy since my days using an Apple ][+ back in 1981. Apple has always been about design, but with Steve Jobs return in 1997 and the rise of Jony Ive, the focus on good design reached an entirely new level. I’m fascinated by how Apple makes this work. In many projects I’ve worked on, good design is seen as a luxury to be considered “if there’s time at the end of the project.” Hint: there’s never time at the end of the project. I think good design is part of the technical excellence that must be the foundation of all projects in order for them to be flexible, sustainable and maintainable. For a glimpse into who Jony Ive is and how he’s changed Apple and industrial design, check out the interview.

Jony Ive

Photographed by David Sims, Vogue, October 2014

Three lessons for designing for the whole world: Margaret Gould Stewart at TED2014

I realize that some find Facebook’s design sense to be…well, nonsense, but Ms. Stewart’s lessons carry good advice to anyone building applications, especially those used by large, diverse groups.

TED Blog

Margaret Gould Stewart. Photo: James Duncan Davidson Margaret Gould Stewart. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

“What do you think of when I say the word design?” Margaret Gould Stewart, director of product design at Facebook, is here to talk about the kind of design that you normally don’t think about — the design of digital systems that are used by billions of people each day.

As examples, Steward reminds the audience that Google handles 1 billion searches per day. People upload to YouTube more in a single day than all of the US television networks broadcast in the last 5 years combined. Facebook transmits the photos, messages and stories of over 1.23 billion people, or about 1/6 of humanity.

“What’s really hard at designing at scale,” she says, “is that it requires a bizarre combination of two things, audacity and humility.” Audacity to believe that what you’re doing is important, and humility because it’s not about the designer’s portfolio…

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Can “One Windows” Fix Microsoft’s App Problem?

History of Windows logosWhat Does One Windows Mean for You? – Don Jones on Pluralsight blog

The idea of one Windows is intriguing, but as Don points out, it can mean different things to different people. The elusive “one application to rule them all” approach to cross platform support has been around for decades without ever truly coming to fruition. My experiment with Microsoft Surface over the last year has taught me that the tablet apps and desktop apps are entirely different animals. Microsoft’s attempts to build one operating system that does both desktop and touch at the same time has produced an OS that does neither particularly well.

I hope that Microsoft is leaning from the dismal uptake of Surface (and other Windows tablets). It’s all about the user experience. While people say they want to run all their Windows apps on any device, if the experience becomes a frustrating series of impossible-to-click buttons and text editing nightmares, they’ll decide tablet computing just isn’t worth it. Don’s view is that much of Apple’s success with developers hasn’t been because of write once/run anywhere software. Instead, he suggests that Apple’s iOS and desktop application boom comes from allowing developers to reuse code to create separate applications that cater the strengths of each platform. I agree. Microsoft has to embrace the advantages of each its various computing platforms (phone, embedded, desktop, tablets and Xbox) while making it easy for developers to move and reuse code between all of them.