Sunday, August 28, 2011

Do The Work!


I've been reading "Do The Work!", a book by Steven Pressfield and recommendation from the Accidental Creative. The basic is idea is that resistance is the enemy of progress and you should use it as a guide post to help you find your way. An easy read but I'd have to say it was dissapointing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Giving Up More Than You Realize with Twitter

It took my discovering an iPhone application called Glympse to help me understand what bothered me about using Twitter. That might sound a little strange but it turned out that what I thought was a problem with Twitter was really a problem with privacy.

The epiphany provided by Glympse led me to the realization that I was thinking about Twitter as if it were just another blogging platform. To think of a Tweet as a 140 character blog entry is to miss the whole point of Twitter and the privacy implications associated with its use.

Glympse provides a way share your location using a text message. It creates a text message that contains a URL. Recipients of your message can view the URL using Glypmse or a web browser. The URL provides time-limited location based information on your whereabouts. For example, you can send a Glympse to someone when you leave the office and they can track your progress home.

The key difference between a Tweet and a Glympse is that the Glympse is short lived and distributed to only those who receive your text message. A Tweet offers no privacy.

It is the real time and public nature of Twitter and the ease with which you can provide updates that create the potential for leaking location information. A location leak can be explicit or implicit. An explicit location leak might include Geo Tagging a Tweet or you might mention a location explicitly. An implicit location leak might be something as simple as a Tweet that says you are not home.

To see the implications of leaking location information in real time check out http://pleaserobme.com.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Eastgate's Tinderbox Program on an iPhone

Mark Bernstein at Eastgate Systems posted about a Tinderbox viewer that they are developing for the iPhone and iPad. Awesome!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Reason for Including Value in a User Story

Lately, I've been doing some research on how to write good user stories for Agile requirements and discovered a post on Mike Cohn's blog discussing his rationale for the user story template he prefers. I have one point to add to his comment on the value component of a user story being optional.

I think an important motivation for including the value component in a user story is that narrows and refines the scope of the story and adds clarity to what the story is intended to achieve. This helps to ensure that the intent of the story is understood the by the reader. It might also prompt questions if the reader disagrees with the value and those questions might lead to better insight or understanding.

Mike provides several stories in his article. Reading these stories with and without the value component changes the way they can be interpreted quite dramatically. For example, consider the story "As an estimator, I want to see all the items we will try to estimate this season".

The value component of this story tells me that its real value is enabling the estimator to check the relative costs of the other items being estimated. Without this insight, I might assume that the estimator just needs a list of estimates organized by season--an interpretation that really misses the point.

Adding a few words to highlight the value of the user story seems like very little additional burden when compared to the problems that a misinterpretation might create.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Using Getting Things Done to Find Your Purpose

I like Getting Things Done because it attempts to wrap everything in your work together into one cohesive whole. It does this by providing a model called the "6 Level Model for Reviewing Your Work". It provides purposes for different aspects of your work ranging from the next actions in a project through to your life's purpose.

I am constantly amazed at how much is written about developing a purpose, vision, goals and objectives. So much so, that I am going to add my two cents to the discussion for anyone that wants another perspective on how to achieve this. In what follows, I promise to be short and to the point.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Getting Things Done: Creative Uses for Calendars

Here is an example of why I really enjoy the practical and simple advice in David Allen's book Getting Things Done: today, I received a couple of invitations. One invitation is for a talk and another is for a weekend retreat.

I have to RSVP for the weekend retreat in a couple of weeks. Of course, I don't know if I can make the retreat so I need to defer the decision on whether to RSVP or not. The other invitation is something I will attend if my day opens up. How to effectively manage the RSVP other event so that I don't simply forget about them?