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What's new with your User Experience?

I was sitting with some colleagues at the pub the other night, talking about one of my favorite subjects - Apple computer's highly innovate nature.  One person reflected that the one thing that made the iPhone successful was the touch screen.  That other devices had used a touch screen, but had not gotten in quite right.  Other devices that were using touch screens were clunky to use. He had apparently used several different devices with touch interfaces.  A benefit of the company he works for that has a loner program (want to try their software on a mobile device - borrow it for a few weeks).  I chatted with the person that runs the program, they have all the new toys and every week its like Christmas morning opening new packages.  What a brilliant program.

Yes, I'd have to agree that one of the keys to the iPhone's success is the new user experience it allows.  Along with the wonderful opportunity for people (mere babes) to use a computer with absolutely no instruction at all.  Countless people tell stories of their 2 and 3 year-olds using iPhones to navigate to their favorite applications.

I remember when Apple introduced the paradigm shifting mouse in 1984.  I taught a summer school program where 6th & 7th graders could learn to program (BASIC) with the Apple II Plus computer.  One half of the first day was teaching students to use the mouse.  The kids got it much quicker than the older teachers.  However I still spent hours teaching the user interface techniques of a mouse.  Can you imagine teaching someone the techniques of mousing?  Break it down - learn to point, to click, the timing of a double click, the advanced drag and drop.  With a touch interface this is needless.  We have been using a finger to point and touch since we've been 6 months old - it is natural.

I gave my mother a used first generation iPhone, no manual, no instructions, just sent it via mail in a box.  Now my Dad said she's just as bad as the young kids, constantly on the internet, reading, watching TV, multitasking and googling things in real time.  She's a Digital Immigrant.

My father never wanted to use a computer.  He said he would use one when he could just talk to it and it would type his reports and papers as well as his secretary.  Yes he worked back in the days when even middle managers had secretaries and typing pools. This didn't keep him from enrolling me into the 9th grade typing class.  I was one of only two boys in a 40 girl class for beginning typing.

My father foresaw the power of typing and of computers.  I was in typing class because he had so much stress working on his master's dissertation and computer classes he had to take in the 1970s.  In 1976 he was sure typing would be a skill I would need in life.  In 1979 he brought home an Apple II computer to see if it would interest my brother and me.  It did, I learned BASIC programming.  Then he bought the first personal computers (Apple II Plus) for students in the Stanley county school systems.

So learning new computer user interface has been in my family for years.  First user interface we learned, typing (1976), then mousing (1984), then touch interfaces (2007) with the iOS products, next....  voice.  My father's vision is happening.  My father-in-law uses Naunce's Naturally Speaking on the Mac to write proposals and email today.  My wife uses Naunce's Dragon in preference to typing. In the near future this may become the primary user interface.

This change in user interface will require changing your software application.  How close to the bleeding edge is your software application interface?  Are you planning for the future?  My family is willing to test it for you.  We are experts, including the 2 year old niece.


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Exercise:: Definition of Ready & Done

Assuming you are on a Scrum/Agile software development team, then one of the first 'working agreements' you have created with your team is a 'Definition of Done' - right?

Oh - you don't have a definition of what aspects a user story that is done will exhibit. Well then, you need to create a list of attributes of a done story. One way to do this would be to Google 'definition of done' ... here let me do that for you: Then you could just use someone else's definition - there DONE!

But that would be cheating -- right? It is not the artifact - the list of done criteria, that is important for your team - it is the act of doing it for themselves, it is that shared understanding of having a debate over some of the gray areas that create a true working agreement. If some of the team believes that a story being done means that there can be no bugs found in the code - but some believe that there can be some minor issues - well, then yo…

Do You Put “CSM” After Your Name?

I’ve noticed a new trend—people have been gaining titles. When I was younger, only doctors had initials (like MD) after their names. I always figured that was because society held doctors, and sometime priests (OFM) in such high regard that we wanted to point out their higher learning. I hope it was to encourage others to apply themselves in school and become doctors also. Could it have been boastful?

The Wikipedia describes these “post-nominal initials”:
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honor. An individual may use several different sets of post-nominal letters. The order in which these are listed after a name is based on the order of precedence and category of the order. That’s good enough for me.
So I ask you: is the use of CSM or CSP an appropriate use of post-nominal initials?
If your not an agilista, you may wonder …

David's notes on "Drive"

- "The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us" by Dan Pink.

Amazon book order
What I notice first and really like is the subtle implication in the shadow of the "i" in Drive is a person taking one step in a running motion.  This brings to mind the old saying - "there is no I in TEAM".  There is however a ME in TEAM, and there is an I in DRIVE.  And when one talks about motivating a team or an individual - it all starts with - what's in it for me.


Pink starts with an early experiment with monkeys on problem solving.  Seems the monkeys were much better problem solver's than the scientist thought they should be.  This 1949 experiment is explained as the early understanding of motivation.  At the time there were two main drivers of motivation:  biological & external influences.  Harry F. Harlow defines the third drive in a novel theory:  "The performance of the task provided intrinsic reward" (p 3).  This is Dan Pink's M…

Agile Story Estimation via Dog Grooming Exercise

Practice story estimation techniques with this exercise in dog grooming.

Related Post:
Affinity Estimating: A How-To by Sterling Barton.
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   Slideshare:  Affinity Estimation - Size 60 Stories in about 20 Minutes.
For each dog below, estimate the work effort (size) required to groom the dog.  Assuming that you have the tools and experience to groom dogs.  Grooming includes washing, drying, combing, nail clipping, and hair triming in some cases.

Start with the ever popular:
Golden Retriever (22-24 in, 50-90 lbs).

The short haired Dachshund (15-28 lbs).

The Standard Poodle (15-18in, 40-80 lbs).

Bernese Mountain Dog (25-28 in., 65-120 lbs).

German Shepherd (23-26 in, 50-90 lbs).

Yorkshire terrier (5 in, <10 lbs).

Beagle (13-16 in, 18-35 lbs).

Boxer (26-31 in, 55-110 lbs).

Bulldog (40-55 lbs).

Labrador Retriever (21-25 in, 55-130 lbs).

Great Dane (28-38 in, 120-200 lbs).

Komondor (25-32 in, 90-130 lbs).

Situational Leadership II Model & Theory

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought the technique needed to move forward was one thing, yet the person leading (your leader) assumed something else was what was needed?  Did you feel misaligned, unheard, marginalized?  Would you believe that 54% of all leaders only use ONE style of leadership - regardless of the situation?  Does that one style of leading work well for the many levels of development we see on a team?

Perhaps your team should investigate one of the most widely used leadership models in the world ("used to train over 5 million managers in the world’s most respected organizations").  And it's not just for the leaders.  The training is most effective when everyone receives the training and uses the model.  The use of a ubiquitous language on your team is a collaboration accelerator.  When everyone is using the same mental model, speaking the same vernacular hours of frustration and discussion may be curtailed, and alignment achieved, outcomes …