CES 2011: Tablets, A New Era of Mobile Computing

"iPad's" by Ultmost
“iPad’s” by Ultmost

My last session of the weekend was the “Tables: A New Era of Mobile Computing” from Ben Bajarin (Director Consumer Technology, Creative Strategies). Ben had done some research and was essentially reporting his market view of tablets and things to focus on to be successful.

Ben is estimating 46-48 million tablet sales in 2011 and falling into the Lean Backward category (tablets used to consumer media & browse the internet) compared to the Lean Forward category (PCs used to producer content & perform work). When developing a tablet manufacturers must take into account shared and personal experiences; multi-user abilities to login and have secure access as well as personal access to your own apps, content and media. A good example of a multi-purpose device are Apple’s iPad, Motorola’s Xoom and RIM’s Playbook. An example of a use-case specific tablet are the Nook Color and Galaxy Tab.>

The “Apple model” is used by Apple, RIM and Palm and is part of a proprietary ecosystem. Content is a sunk cost, services drive loyalty, and all devices in the ecosystem work together as well as separately.

The “Android model” is open, customizable, and using the Android ecosystem. There are less hardware-loyal consumers, but they use Google services. Manufacturers need to figure out how to add value on top of Google/Android. The Motorola Atrix is a good example of added value and differentiation and the HTC Sense UI is another good differentiation to the Android ecosystem.

Success in the tablet market depends on hardware innovation, differentiation, software ecosystem & developers, services, personal cloud among other aspects. You need to know your consumer, integrate value added experiences, invest in differentiation, and integrate & develop services. Tablet vendors want to get back to owning the consumer instead of the mobile operator (e.g., “pay as you go” model).

Microsoft is desperate to get across this ecosystem. They need to find holes in Android and exploit there. It sounds like Windows 8 will be fully integrated across all devices (PC, phone, tablet) which begs the question, is Windows 7 considered Windows Me part 2?

Ethnographic research started with Age groups, but moved to Use Cases (Navigation, Media, etc.). Prices will follow netbook pricing, $199 price point will do very well, but prices will come down. The bulk of sales will be in the US, then UK with some in Korea & China (aka, developed markets). Early evidence shows consumer demand for magazine experiences, but consumer and business (including education) should be viewed as two niches of users.

Many thanks to NBCU for the opportunity to be here in Vegas, I hope to post again this weekend with some additional company & product reviews.


CES 2011: Gadgets Everywhere and the Role of Wireless

Gadgets Everywhere SuperSession
Gadgets Everywhere SuperSession

The last panel session that I sat through on Friday (my brain sponge was absorbent, but damn today was a lot) was one titled “Consumer 360 – Gadgets Everywhere and the Role of Wireless” and moderated by Rajeev Chand (Managing Director and Senior Equity Research Analyst, Wireless, Rutberg & Company). The panelists included Anand Chandrasekher (SVP Intel, GM Ultra Mobility Group, Intel), John Donovan (Chief Technology Officer, AT&T), Bill Ogle (Chief Marketing Officer, Motorola Mobility), and the sparkplug of the group Robert Stephens (CTO, Best Buy).

The panelists that 2011 will go down as the year of tablets with the main question being what is the N number of devices that the populace will support; sounds like it will be 3-4 and eventually whittle down to 1-2. From a cell carrier perspective we’re no longer an enterprise Blackberry voice & data users, but now you can pick up a tablet at a friends house, authenticate and get billed for it on your bill. Users appear to be willing to give up some data & privacy to access services that benefit or help them. Netflix and the Kindle are good examples of seamless experiences. Devices will adapt because of apps, but not likely because of the app being the main use.

As a side note, a great comment was let loose: “A user manual is a list of design failures”. I just LOVE that, it’ll certainly make its way into my cliches at work!

Since I was so engrossed in the panel discussion and didn’t take great notes, I recommend you check out the video from the session and enjoy it yourself:

Many thanks to NBCU for the opportunity to be here in Vegas, I hope to post again this weekend with some additional company & product reviews.


CES 2011: NBC Digital Model

NBC circa 1956
NBC circa 1956

As part of the Media Money Makers program track, I sat in on a quick presentation from some familiar faces: the executive team. The “From Broadband to Big Time: The NBC Digital Model” presentation from Vivi Zigler (President, NBCU Digital Entertainment), Steve Andrade (GM and SVP, Digital Development,, and Nick Johnson (VP, Digital Media Sales, NBCU) touched on several popular campaigns with shows & sponsors in 2010.

The Microsoft sponsorship of the School Pride webisodes let people nominate local schools to win a computer lab makeover with Windows 7. The HP sponsorship of The Office social challenge had fans display a show-themed posted in their office to earn Fan It points (which can then be redeemed for physical & virtual goods). The Bud Light sponsorship of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon centered on the world premiere telecast of “Stones in Exile” documentary and exclusive Rolling Stones content on the Fallon website. The Turbo Tax sponsorship was a cross-platform social media play that has occurred for three straight years and included on-air vignettes, custom expert guides, sweepstakes and a live treasure hunt. The Dove sponsorship of the Good2Go mobile campaign reached across several NBCUniversal sites, generates awareness of the Dove “go fresh” brand message and creates engagement with busy moms on the go with continually updated content.

They keep content and sponsorships relevant and meaningful to their users by reading show scripts in advance to identify potential integrations, they work with digital agencies outside of the Upfront to see what they’d like to see included. owns the content created for advertisers (eg. webisodes), all NBCU brands have significant digital teams, and some brands come to them while others they search out highlighting the solutions offers. All in all, a quick and interesting insight into how they interact with major advertisers and how that affects their planning and strategies for their year. Let’s see what they come back with at CES 2012 in terms of success in 2011!

Many thanks to NBCU for the opportunity to be here in Vegas, I hope to post again this weekend with some additional company & product reviews.


CES 2011: Innovation Power Panel

CES Innovation Power Panel
CES Innovation Power Panel

Day two started by stumbling into the press line for the Innovation Power Panel when all I was really looking for was the breakfast buffet line (how’s that for luck?). The panel was moderated by CEA President & CEO Gary Shapiro and included the following blue chip heavyweights as panelists: Ursula Burns (chairman & CEO of Xerox Corporation), John Chambers (chairman & CEO of Cisco), and Jeffrey Immelt (chairman & CEO of GE). While I’ve seen Jeff in person a couple of times and online and via webcasts many times doing GE/NBCU town halls, this was a much different perspective. It wasn’t Jeff as troop leader, it was Jeff as business luminary dispensing with a wealth of knowledge on the business landscape domestically and internationally.

The main topic was that the economy was down, Washington DC is a mess, and that innovators and entrepreneurs need to lead the charge back. Gary asked each panelist to quickly summarize how they felt; Ursula went with optimistic & nervous, John noted that we’re at an inflection point in regard to education & infrastructure, and Jeff talked about how the rest of the world was moving faster than the US. Jeff continued noting that China isn’t standing still, Germany came out of the recession stronger by focusing on exports “morning to night” as well as a R&D and job creation. He feels that the US needs to focus on technology & innovation in education.

Ursula graded our K-12 school system at D-, but the university level received an A- and as “probably the best in the world”. K-12 isn’t in the top 20, meanwhile India & China are improving by leaps and bounds. John added his concern that some state institutions might lose their edge because of state funding issues. Jeff continued that we need to set ambitious goals and got wonky with Six Sigma and mentioning the need to pick five X’s to move the Y. There are 1.5 million graduates in China a year while the US graduates more sports therapists then engineers (with a quip that there’s nothing wrong with a good sports massage).

Ursula mentioned that its not a fight with China, India, & Germany, but a focus on improving the US. The economic downturn made it easier to demonize non-US entities (especially on top of 9/11) but we need to do a better job coordinating between the business & government communities. Immigration use to encourage people to come and start companies in the US, but that’s no longer the case and that needs to change. Government policies discourage hiring Americans, but there’s progress and its moving towards encouragement. The main concerns focused on the US tax, immigration, & export policies.

The US is only one out of five countries (with the other four being small countries) double tax via overseas & local taxes. The unfortunate reality is that jobs go where the markets are and based on the US policies its not wise to hire heavily in the US. Jeff noted, however, that the days of labor arbitrage are over; it takes two hours to make a fridge, so he’ll do it in the US instead of Mexico; there’s only a 10% increase for US-based call centers so we’ll do that in the future now. John finished with admitting the government has a complex equation with about six variables, but if we address each variable logically then we’ll make a drastic improvement across the board.

As a summary, they stated that we used to have around eighteen of the top twenty companies in the US, but that we’re now at five and going to zero. In order to truly create wealth again in the US, we need to focus on technology & innovation.

The full video of the panel is available here.

As a side note, just about every (no, scratch that, EVERY) panel discussion or keynote used Taio Cruz’s Dynamite as an intro. And while it’s a great song, it gets old pretty quick when you see it mashed up against CEA graphics multiple times a day. Here’s hoping next year shows CEA branching out into multiple artists or at least multiple songs from one artist. Spread the royalty love guys!

Many thanks to NBCU for the opportunity to be here in Vegas, I hope to post again this weekend with some additional company & product reviews.

UPDATE: Interestingly enough, thirteen days later President Obama named Jeff Immelt to chair his new President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.


CES 2011: Social TV

CES 2011
CES 2011

Friday’s day-long panel discussion track continued with the Social Television – The Merger of Content, Social Interaction and the Video Platforms panel. The panel was moderated by Richard Sussman (VP of Digital Entertainment, The Nielsen Company) and included
Michael Kernan (Chief Executive Officer, NuMedia Studios), Greg March (Director of Digital Media, Weiden + Kennedy), Raviv Moore (VP Business Development, Eyecon Technologies), Marty Roberts (Vice President of Sales and Marketing, ThePlatform), Christy Tanner (General Manager,, Matt Wasserlauf (CEO, BBE), and Gayle Weiswasser (VP, Social Media Communications, Discovery Communications) as panelists.

We’re seeing the formation of telecommunities with viewers chatting while watching and even seeing some networks work it into their broadcast with Fox’s Fringe as a prime example. One in ten watched the 2010 Oscars while on the internet, but there are issues if you have to pause to take care of the kids and then jump to live to get caught up with the group instead of watching linearly.

Discovery saw 14,000 users for a live chat during an east coast airing and 5,000 during a west coast airing of Captain Phil’s farewell from Deadliest Catch. Along with the viewer participation, they saw 135,000 page views and 15,000 comments during the live chats while the live broadcast of the episode on July 13th, 2010 garnered 8.5 million viewers and was the #1 show on cable that night for men & women aged 25-54. In terms of the differential between east & west Coast, they felt that many west coasters tuned in to the east coast broadcast.

In October 2010 Discovery added GetGlue stickers and saw 1,400 get the MythBusters premiere sticker with a potential social media reach of 1 million users. If viewers continued to view the live episodes on Wednesday, they were able to unlock additional stickers. In under three months of check-ins, there were 38,000 for MythBusters 12,000 for Sarah Palin and 10,000 for Storm Chasers. Discovery Super Fans get a discount code to use at the Discovery Store online by checking into a show five or more times. They’ve also added the check-in widget to select fan sites to help spread the word about the program.

Eyecon provides software to allow consumers to discover media more efficiently. thePlatform is a video management system that allows publishers to take their content to different destinations. They can work with content providers and video sites to build in ads to roll on embeded clips as well as ensure specific hashtags appear when something is retweeted.

NuMedia Studios partners with advertisers and talent to create content for web and TV. Recently they launched with and sold the show to VH1 as a smart comedy tv show. It had 57,000 views and 2,000 comments in four days after launch.

Specific Media acquired BBE to bring together display and video. Their video is targetable and more than 10 billion US impressions and 1.9 billion video streams monthly. Mom Life was a 2010 Webby winner with 52 million unique users for season one & two, 100 million web streams with the twenty five episodes integrating 40+ brands.

TV Guide focuses on original content, linear TV listings grid, and full episodes from networks, cablers and web outfits. They have 23 million unique users, iPad/iPhone/Android apps, 300,000 fans of their pages (tv shows, movies, celebs), syndicate to mobile/YahooTV/OMG, and launched check-ins for tv shows on their site in October under the moniker of “I’ll Watch”. They’ve noticed that their top twenty checkin shows don’t match the top shows according to Nielsen or fan page counts. The Glee Christmas episode was #1, but #7 was It’s A Wonderful Life and Sons of Anarchy was in the top twenty.

In general in social TV and online video the advertisers set the KPIs while on TV its GRP. Any way to record fans is beneficial (eg., unlocking special content). Vindico provides an ad serving system that can help with this. Measurement online as a whole is a disaster, meanwhile TV has a digestible metric in GRP. Online doesn’t have a common vocabulary for metrics. Across both platforms (TV & online) we need to measure live, DVR, on demand & online to get a true idea of ratings. Comcast wants to allow subscribers to watch their on demand library online and then take the ability to watch to mobile devices as well.

Many thanks to NBCU for the opportunity to be here in Vegas, I hope to keep posting this weekend with additional company & product reviews as well as panel session updates.


Test Driven Development = Good, Acceptance Test Drive Development = Bad

For the most part, that was the message at the “Acceptance Testing: Just Say No” by James Shore Meetup tonight at the offices in Santa Monica, CA. James structured the talk as though it was a “fill in the blanks” Anonymous meeting (you know, Alcohol Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, etc). The concept of Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD) Anonymous was actually pretty clever and came across pretty well, at least to me.

As for my general notes on the talk, he started with some background on the ATDD area focused on Ward Cunningham and his creation of Fit (aka, Framework for Integrated Test) as an original unit test tool that was co-opted as an ATDD tool. Fit spawned Fitness which is a wiki-based table tool, again, co-opted as an ATDD tool; another TDD tool mentioned was Cucumber.

James noted that it’s unfortunate that its easier to quantify the costs of co-locating teams than quantifying the hidden costs of not co-locating teams, but that in the end it’s better to co-located teams for success. For anyone who’s worked on remotely located teams (me being one of those folks), this doesn’t come as a surprise. I’ve found that my more successful projects, products, and roles were ones where I was co-located with customers and developers.

James mentioned four types of bugs and how to work to eliminate each. Requirements errors can be eliminated (or shall I say reduced) by having customers co-located with the product/development team. Programmer errors can be reduced by using Test Driven Development (TDD). Design errors can be reduced by continuous incremental design, by doing constant code refactoring, and by building in slack each week to do so. Systemic errors can be reduced by performing an RCA on all errors identified. More on these types of errors in a bit.

Now, how would a team work to reduce these four types of bugs? In serial or parallel fashion? Good question, so I asked James. His response was to take a large chunk and just do it, failing that go with TDD first. Outside of his own book and Michael Feathers’ referenced below, a good resource for guidance on adopting TDD are his Let’s Play TDD webcasts that go through real world examples as well as his chapter on TDD in his book. His experience seems to point to the Kaizen approach not working for TDD.

James stressed the importance of cultivating an attitude of “bugs happen to other people” which is an attitude that makes me drool. Having a team that thinks & acts like that? Now that’s sexy. (I know, I know, I’m a nerd.)

The best way to solve co-location issues (i.e., having remotely located teams) without co-locating is via expensive video conferencing equipment or better by plane flights to meet in person. Reading between the lines here is that you can spend all the time & money to get close to a co-located feeling, but until you’re actually co-located you won’t get all the benefits of such a work environment.

In terms of helping solve the issue of eliminating or reducing bugs on legacy software, James recommended Working Affectively with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers. And to read more in-depth on James thoughts on reducing the four types of bugs, check out his blog post on Alternatives to Acceptance Testing.

In short, combine TDD with great customer collaboration and co-located teams.


Sustainable Product Development

H2O Natural Spring Water
Sponsor: H2O Natural Spring Water

I recently attended a panel discussion from PDMA-LA and IDSA-LA titled “Best Practices in Sustainable Product Development“. The following are some rough notes & thoughts I took down while in attendance.

Heidrun Mumper-Drumm spoke about green packaging design noting that packaging equates to 75million tons and 1/3 of our waste stream by weight (~20% by volume). Some ways she noted to reduce this is the use of low impact materials like water-based adhesives in labels, recycled materials and bio-based materials. Other improvements are to make packaging smaller & use less materials. Also under recommendation are eliminating some materials completely like PVC and laminates. Two other recommendations outside of materials used were to properly & legibly give the recycling info of components and to consider packaging as multi-functional (ex: a water bottle used as a vase). A question from the audience pointed our Puma’s new show packaging and Heidrun noted that shoe packaging seems to increase with the price of the shoes with the exception of Louis Vuitton who ships by boat instead of air and cut their carbon impact by 30%. It appears as though she alludes to the supply chain as another way to cut environmental impacts. Heidrun gave a particular shout-out to Women in Green Forum as it outlines women’s impact in Environmental Industries.

Topher Paterno spoke about green materials such as bio-degradables/organics and recyclable/recycled items. A specific note was made of a project between Intel and the University of Delaware that created a circuit board from chicken feathers and soy. He also focused on materials management that allows for easy ways for consumers to return or otherwise re-use a product. After a question from the audience, Topher recommended Ecolect and MaterialsCollection as good reference sites to find green materials.

Dave Pedersen spoke about greening the supply chain and its 5 components: Plan, Buy, Make, Store & Move. The constraints in this field are Cost vs. Quality vs. Service (aka Free, Perfect & Now). He noted that “going green” introduced new constraints of carbon, waste, water & social impacts. Transportation & Facilities have a huge footprint that affects “greenness” and a way to help reduce that is a paperless work environment.

Susan Collins spoke about waste stream management and highlighted how primary packaging & refrigeration accounted for the majority of the footprint for Coke. She also noted that aluminium has the largest carbon footprint by an order of magnitude over other products and that the US goes through 200billion bottled containers per year.

H2O Natural Spring Water
Sponsor: H2O Natural Spring Water

Paul Shustak spoke about being a green product company at Kor. As if prompted by Susan, he noted that less than 20% of bottles get recycled and that the Kor One bottle attempts to create an emotional reaction to water & bottle to entice consumers to use their product over Nalgene or plastic bottles. They also have a different charity that receives a portion of their proceeds and each water bottle color corresponds to a different charity as part of their “Thirst For Giving” campaign. Of the four colors available it was notable that the orange one related to a donation to the Container Recycling Institute of which Susan is the Executive Direction, small world eh? Paul noted that in their research consumers usage responded directly to extreme convenience & incentives. He wrapped up by noting CalMAX was a materials exchange service that allows for companies to put up their excess materials for sale to others looking to purchase specific materials at a discount.

Overall, the speakers all seemed to be passionate about their place in the sustainable product development ecosystem and were aware that they were each but a small component in helping to reduce humankind’s detrimental impact on the Earth. And a final note on the sponsor, H2O Natural Spring Water, is the paper water box the new plastic water bottle?


Happy Birthday To Me!

Its official, I’m 31. Old? Nah. Mature? Hmmm, nope. Ready for what the next year brings me? You betcha!

Thanks to Jessie & West I got an amazing early birthday gift of being an Uncle. Thanks to Crystal, I’ll get an amazing after birthday gift of being a Father. What more could I ask for?

I’ve given it some thought and I’m hoping to that on top of the blessings of becoming an uncle and father, that I’ll be able to accomplish the following in the next year.

1) Be the best father, husband & friend I can be.
I’m certain that the next few weeks & months will be difficult with the lack of sleep and any additional stresses of becoming a new parent. I just hope that I can keep my head out of my ass and be patient with “Uno”, helpful with Crystal and dependable with my friends. I’m hoping all of you out there will keep me honest on this one.

2) Blog regularly.
I’m not going to say blog every day or blog once a week, because I know how spare my time will be. Regardless, I want to keep up this site as a way to keep everyone updated on “Uno” and for me to continue playing with all the fun technology in WordPress. If anyone has tips on great WordPress plugins or a lead on a great customized theme maker, let me know!

3) Read 6 books.
I figure a book every 2 months has to be a reasonable goal. And yes, parenting books will count. I recently read The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and am partially through several other books. I hope that reading will give me some material to help generate blog posts to help accomplish goal #2.

4) Make something.
No, not another baby. I’m hoping to work on making something tangible outside my normal work. Maybe its a coffee table, maybe its an iPhone app, maybe its a web TV show. Who knows, but I want to make something, I want to be a producer and not just a consumer. Got an idea or want to work with me on something, let me know!

5) Get my fighting weight to under 200lbs.
Its been quite some time since I saw 190 something on the scale. Ok, its been a looong time. I felt really great last year as I was training daily at the Core Performance Center in Santa Monica for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. I’m hoping that I can work in some regular workouts into my schedule and get back to under 200lbs, which if I recall correctly the last time I was in this ballpark was my honeymoon. Ouch, that’s 5 years ago.

6) Participate in 6 races.
I did 2 5ks and 2 triathlons last year, all were enjoyable. Well, the swim at the LA tri REALLY sucked (I now know more-or-less what it feels like just before you drown) and the 2nd half uphill run at the UniCity 5k sucked as well. Regardless, the feeling of crossing the finish line is amazing. I’m planning to beat my Sprint times at the Nautica Malibu Tri, to aim for the Olympic distance at the LA Tri, to do a duathlon and triathlon with Brian C. down in the OC, and to round out the rest with my friends on the NBCU Race Team (you guys rock!). Plus, all these races should help in accomplishing goal #5. Know of a race in the LA area that you’d like to do, let me know and let’s race it together!

7) Homebrew.
Ok, so this definitely isn’t going to help with goal #5, but I’ve got the supplies for home brewing with the somewhat-ghetto intro-to-homebrewing Mr. Beer kit. I’ve done one batch before back in 2007 or so. If you live in the LA area or are planning to visit LA, let me know and I’ll reserve a special bottle for you!

8) Go to church.
Let the record state that on more than 3 occasions in the last 2 months that I’ve tried to get Crystal to go to a Catholic church out here in LA. Not a Lutheran church where I’d be welcomed at communion, but a Catholic church where I’m not welcome to eat Jesus. Should I consider converting to Catholicism? Maybe. I want to bring some more spirituality back into my life and for “Uno”. Know of a great church in the LA area, let me know!

9) Vegas.
As in, visit Las Vegas. I drove from Bullhead City, AZ to Vegas last year to drop Crystal off at the airport there, but didn’t stay or stop off in the city. I live within driving distance and have for almost 2 years. Its about time I make a trip. Now just to convince Crystal that I its a good idea. Want to hit up Vegas with me, let me know and we can plan it together!

10) Enjoy SoCal, enjoy life.
At the end of the day, I want to be able to say that it was a good day and that I cannot wait for the next. To me, right now, that means enjoying the sunshine & warm weather that SoCal affords me, enjoy outdoor activities, enjoy good food & drinks, enjoy friends & family, and be grateful for all the I have.

Ok, so that’s a pretty good top 10 goals to aim for. If I can wake up on February 25th in 2011 and say that I managed to accomplish each of these, then I’ll be in a pretty good place. So, that’s it, those are my goals. Happy Birthday to me, now let’s start partying and get working on that “enjoy good food & drinks” this weekend… cheers!


Agile Journal Seminar: Agile Comes to LA

The following are my notes from the Agile Comes to LA seminar on Thursday, December 17th 2009. The event was sponsored by AccuRev, Coverity, Electric Cloud, Rally Software, and BigVisible. The event saw leaders from each sponsor talk about how Agile software development techniques and the tools that support them can help you reduce risk, boost the productivity of your existing organization, and cut development costs.

George Schlitz (BigVisible): Agile Hits Ground in the Organization
+ Required, if humorous, reading: You Might Be a CrAgilist If…
+ Educate PMO on new ways to report progress (e.g., Burndown Charts)
+ Educate Compliance/Audit on difference/changes w/Agile
+ Ensure measurements reward the behavior that you want (How do we reward the new behavior?)
+ What does career development now look like?
+ Combine benefits of diverse methods: theory of constraints, lean & agile
+ Don’t measure individuals, measure teams and their success
+ You can’t really create an Agile standard for all teams to follow, just get started w/the basics and let the team determine for themselves what will work for them

Cliff Utstein (AccuRev): Automating Agile Software Development Processes
+ AccuRev – process driven SCM software
+ Product quality is fixed, business requirements persist (increase?), resources may be cut, little/no schedule relief
+ increase throughput by improving software development processes: automating & optimizing

Behrooz Zahiri (Coverity): Managing Software Quality in Agile Environments
+ The earlier you find a defect, the cheaper it is to fix
+ Cheapest to fix: in development; more expensive to fix: during integration; even more expensive to fix: during test; most expensive to fix: during production
+ Static Analysis – like a spell checker that finds your most difficult bugs
+ Coverity helps identify bugs for open source projects at, 11,303 defects have been fixed since March 2003
+ Coverity supports C, C#, C++ and Java

Martin Van Ryswyk (Electric Cloud): Making Agile Work
+ Continuous Integration = Agile; checkin & get instant feedback on integration problems
+ Fast builds (“espresso” builds), automated builds & test on-demand
+ Access for developers/QA/etc. to schedule builds, on-demand builds or stimulus builds
+ Auto build after code checkin to get fast feedback on build integrity/code quality
+ Include pre-flight tests to help reduce build failures

Alex Pukinskis (Rally): Case Study: Customizing Agile Tools for Project Success
+ Current fave book: The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development by Donald Reinertsen
+ Three meetings: daily scrum, scrum of scrums & regular retrospectives
+ New Rally build due out 12/19 will allow for setup of different types of dashboards built on roles (developer, manager & executive)
+ Remove obstacles for team members ASAP to limit overall delays
+ 100 day delay starts with multiple 8 hour delays

Additional notes from discussions:
+ Look into Bamboo to help with Continuous Integration/automated builds

UPDATE (7 Jan 2010 @ 12:32pm PST): I’ve added links to the presentation files.


Transitioning to Agile Product Development

Last week I attended a PDMA LA roundtable discussion on “Transitioning to Agile Product Development“. The discussion was moderated by a PDMA LA board member and featured the following panelists:

I was hoping to come away with some lessons learned and best practices on transitioning an organization to an Agile one, but the discussion ended up being more of an overview of Agile as many in attendance were unfamiliar with some of the basic concepts. I did manage to meet some interesting people and continue building my local Agile network, but not quite specifically what I was hoping to achieve, silver lining I suppose.

Regardless, the following are my notes from the event. Note that I’ve tried to note the panelists initials where I can attribute my note to them:

  • S.D. – continuous feedback from customers on demos; requirements flexible, time & resources/costs are fixed
  • Basic tenets outlined in Agile Manifesto
  • S.D. – 8hr workday creates a certain # of defects, 10hr workday creates 11x more defects than an 8hr one
  • Comment that Scrum helped elect recent governors of VA & NJ
  • The Standish Group found that 7% of features affect a customers buy/build decision, 13% will affect you vs. competitor decision, 64% no one cares about
  • S.G. – Contracts can be written w/Agile adjustments instead of hardcoding features/cost/date, Mary Poppendieck has some resources on this
    [Jeff Paul – here are some references I found: Agile Contracts by Mary & Tom Poppendieck, Agile Contracts pitch by Mary in 2005, Lean Contracts essay by Mary in 2002]
  • Should be constantly improving processes
  • Understand # hrs/resource & # hrs/sprint and estimate user stories better
  • Check out Reed Hasting’s presentation on Slideshare
  • Check out the Business Agility whitepaper on the site
  • Assume a single project team to get to Agile process & show benefits to help transition larger org
  • Get good coaching & training

I hope to attend more events in 2010 and will do my best to summarize them here… cheers!