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Ruminations on Software Development Life Cycle (aka, SDLC) July 18, 2013

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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In my last post, I covered my recent efforts at software programming after a self-imposed hiatus. As a follow up, I wanted to talk about the development cycle. More specifically, the software development lifecycle. The most traditional development method is the Waterfall method. As it’s name implies, the lifecycle flows across phases with the result being a finished product that is tested to satisfy design requirements.

sdlc_lifecycleDeployment methods I have used include Waterfall and Agile among others and hybrids of these. As shown in the image, there is a feedback loop with testing that can introduce new/revised requirements. That starts the cycle over again, from the beginning. From my experience, there are two phases that seem to get short shrift. One or both of these typically get compressed due to project constraints and are sacrificed in order to stay on schedule. Those phases include Design and Test. What I have also found is that if you accelerate either of those, the project will reap a short term benefit. But, ultimately the project will not stay on track. Instead,  the project will re-visit one or both phases, which causes waste, and any gains in time expected are then not delivered.

As a programmer, I admit I have squeezed several phases. My advice – whatever process you employ, don’t cheat it. Having a solid design ensures requirements are addressed and adequate testing provides confidence for success at launch. Whatever method you use, adhere to the diligence in each phase and then keep progressing forward. Each phase should be  sized according to the project goal. Changes to existing code base can be minimal and have little design impact. Great! Testing should then focus on regression impact to ensure everything is working with new changes integrated cleanly.

Does your mileage match mine? Comments invited!

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Blogging evolution – what’s next? October 29, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Blogging is so easy. Everyone has access to tools to communicate original ideas, topics that catch our interest as blog posts. So, now that blogging has been around a while, what’s next? Let’s assume that anyone who wants to, can, and has, a blog. Typically, blog posts include a topic of interest, maybe some points on pro and con, an image or two and some links. What is the next evolutionary step?
Seems like we skipped the milli-blogs step as Twitter changed the game and brought us micro-blogging. Your ‘post’ on any  topic contained in 140 characters. Brief text and maybe a link. Continuing the evolution and thread, as we iterate blog best practices, consider what nano-blogs may look like. I can see a temptation to skip the content and just share links. Maybe a terse headline with the link.

We have this already with sites like ping.fm that broadcast your ‘posts’ to multiple sites.  I like that ability to aggregate accounts, post to one site and move on. Other services to re-post such as ‘Add This‘ or ‘Share This‘ provide a quick way to share content. Other sites have the ribbon with various share icons at the bottom of the page. Going forward, does using any one of these count as a blog post?

The next blog evolution (pico-blog ?) could involve a trail of the sites I liked, gave a thumbs up or viewed for more than 3 minutes. The time duration can be argued of course and I will leave the privacy issues aside for now. Point is, how does it get easier to indicate what catches my attention that I want you to be aware of? Maybe, there’s an future app that will show what sites I am looking at currently. I hope such a tool includes controls to manage what I share and keep private.

What are you looking for to make blogging easier? What will drive blogging to evolve? Is there a list for requirements somewhere? OK, if not a list, how about a common view on new features?

Twitter – fad or here to stay? June 8, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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It is amusing to me the consistent number of  people questioning the value and longevity of Twitter.  Mixing metaphors, I find the focus here is between the preacher and the choir here while the congregation is on the sidelines. There is no need to convince the converted. If you know what I mean, and I think you do.* 

Mind you, the ironic part to me is these are posts on the Twitter site.  Tweet equivalents include :

  1. “Do you think this will be a useful marketing tool?”
  2. “Is it just the new thing until something else comes along?”
  3. “Why should I use it?”
  4. “What do I talk about?”

On several other sites, I have read blog posts about it, columnists have written numerous articles, and lately, the mainstream media pundits have discussed at length. I’m sure you have seen and read much of the same.

My answers :

  1. Yes! Where have you been (using my inside voice)?
  2. It is becoming a common and accepted business practice to connect and interact with  customers.
  3. See above.
  4. Talk about what you know and hopefully, something that others will connect with and care about.

Imagine the related ensuing discussion on another topic. For example, a conversation gearheads might have on the comparative automotive merits between Chevy and Ford. Potential quips from that dialogue (diatribe?) would run something like :

  1. “I’ll take a classic ’57 T-Bird anyday.”
  2. “Shelby Cobra Mustangs rule!”
  3. “‘The ’72 SS Chevelle is one of the all time muscle cars.”
  4. “Corvette is the only American made sports car.”

The difference with gearheads is they have the conversation standing next to the car, or whilst enjoying sustenance and an adult libation. Imagine then in the Twitter scenario the debate in merits of Fords vs. Chevy occurred while driving. Doesn’t happen, except maybe in  a  ‘B’ movie scene.  And that’s my point – that scenario is the equivalent of those tweets on Twitter.

I say “Enough already! Move on people.” At this point, tweeting about the value of Twitter is redundant and a waste of time. If you get it, you don’t need to ask. If you don’t get it, observe, absorb and learn. Tangent topics to assess value and measure such as Heisenberg Uncertainty principle come to mind also, but I digress.  Twitter is a good tool; versatile, flexible, quick and reliable. Certainly a powerful and useful communication tool for our time but, it is not a panacea. 

To be sure, I use Twitter myself and have refrained from comment about its’ viability. Referencing Gladwell again, I submit we are beyond the Tipping Point now. There are enough mavens, connectors and salesmen/women that espouse Twitter to agree that it is beyond a fad.  Going forward as the lifecycle moves beyond a fad, the metrics defined and accepted to assess and measure value will mature. We will learn and agree on how to commonly gauge success. Just like we did with measuring horsepower, compression ratios, wheelbase and 1/4 mile times. For me, the SS Chevelle always  was just out of reach, but, that is another story.

 

*For those who used the Internet (not web) back in the before time, this was the catchphrase for a regular contributor to the Newsgroup for movies. If memory serves, his moniker was BillyBob. His reviews were laced with good ‘ol boy humor and inserted that phrase from time to time. Disclaimer here as the years I read them date back to the early ’80’s.

New ways we stay connected April 3, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag.
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Media communications is going through major changes as everyone knows. While content is king and always was, it is the mechanisms that are rapidly changing. A major growth area  for the digerati is the Social Media tools.  I know – obvious. But while those who are connected see it and use it more nad more, there are those who use the same old, same old to stay current, be caught up on news & events.

Nothing like a real example to illustrate the point. Today, there is a hostage situation in Binghamton, NY, a medium sized town in upstate NY where I went to college. A tragic situation where many lives are changed forever. I don’t know any details, need to catch up on that myself.

The Twitterverse is a buzz with posts and comments, observations about the situation.  The power of free speech in full view – editorials, notes about coverage,  positive thoughts and prayers and lots of other topics included. This change in consuming is my point here. How this story evolves – initial details, background, updates from those on site – how it impacts them directly. Fascinating history unfolding in front of us.  I have a tweet about it and a link on delicious – see the links via the widget. Also, check the twitscoop chart for this topic and

The behavior change is the tweets introducing a topic. From there, you refer to other media sources including web sites to find out more based on interest. Traditional media will provide analyis and reporting of course. We have seen several recent instances of tweets breaking news stories – plane crash in the Hudson and another in Amsterdam. I think we will come to expect Twitter to routinely inform us of major events as they occur. The speed to communicate is so powerful – we are collecting the data points to illustrate this and learn collectively how this new way helps us stay connected.