Sunday, November 29, 2009

Spoken Web

A team of researchers at IBM India have embarked on creating a parallel of the World Wide Web. The research effort is named as Project 'Spoken Web'.

"The basic principle of Spoken Web lies in creating a system analogous to the World Wide Web using a technology most of us all have in common - speech. Spoken Web helps people create voice sites using a simple telephone, mobile or landline. The user gets a unique phone number which is analogous to a URL and when other users access this voice site they get to hear the content uploaded there. Interestingly, all these voice sites can be interlinked creating a massive network, which can work like the World Wide Web."

As I eagerly await the outcome of Spoken Web implementation for a project in western India (for Gujrat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation), I can't help but wonder..would this be the killer app that can bridge the digital divide prevalent in the developing countries? Only time will tell..

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Where Cynics Dare

I read an interesting post on organizational change management by Biju Bhaskar.. adding my 2c..

Many a times, while implementing organizational changes, we overlook the role of cynics. To me, having a cynic (who is equally passionate against the change) in the team helps in the following ways:
1. you get advanced warning on possible failure points
2. You get real time results on the change management process (i.e if you can help the cynic understand the merits of the change during the process..then you are on right track)

But then, the key is to create a conducive environment where even the cyncis 'dare' to stand-up for whatever they believe in. I would rather have bunch of highly opinionated people against the change, over having a set of people who don't have an opinion at all.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Agile Metrics

I am a firm believer in the age old adage 'You can not improve what you can not measure' (unrelated - here is an interesting antithesis). I believe in the importance of having the right metrics, especially in IT projects aiming to achieve continuous improvements.

Off-late i have interacted with some agile teams to get their perception of metrics in agile teams..responses have been varied, starting with outright cynicism to a mature approach towards using just enough metrics to achieve project goals. However one aspect was common through out, there is lack of awareness on various metrics options available for agile teams.

I would encourage project teams to look at all principles behind agile manifesto, and see which are the top three principles the project team values the most and consistently achieves in each iteration. Brainstorm within the team to see if the team can objectively measure progress for each of the three most important principles. Whether team velocity and burn down charts sufficiently describe team progress in each of the practices or is there a need to think about other possible ways of describing project progress?

If you see the need of looking beyond velocity and burn down charts, here are some starting points:

1. Heuristics for agile measurement: Refer to this seminal article on Appropriate agile metrics by Deborah Hartmann and Robin Dymond

2. AgileEVM : Pretty useful if you are in an organization with strong inherent PMI practices. Though AgileEVM is pretty neat in showing consistent business value, I personally am unclear on it's implementation in projects where the scope of work changes over time. Please share your experience if you have applied AgileEVM successfully in projects where the overall project scope increased during the project lifecycle.

Some metrics towards technical excellence
3. Running Tested Features: Ron Jeffries explans RTF. More detailed description

4. Static Code analysis

5. Code Coverage

What metrics do you use for your projects?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Andriod 2.0 on Motorola Droid

Code named as 'Eclair', Android 2.0 has some interesting improvements.

Check out the video on new features:

Motorola launches Droid on November 6th (first smart-phone running Android 2.0), with some nifty features such as:
- inbuilt app for gmail, facebook
- Google navigation
- plug in for flash 10

Would Droid be the iPhone killer?