Monday, August 23, 2010

A couple of Agile links

Here are another couple of good Agile resources. First of all, a great find from Bruce, comes a slick 10 minute intro to Scrum.

Next, there is a report on the Consideration for using Agile in DoD Aquisition via the Herding Cats blog.

This report is the result of this assessment, and is meant to debunk the prevalent myth that Agile and De-partment of Defense (DoD) practices are incompatible. Our focus is on the software development arena, basing our information on actual acquisition experience and a sampling of the relevant literature availa-ble. We will not discuss specific Agile methods beyond describing Agile and providing a list of the most common Agile methods. We do, however, provide some helpful hints on considerations that need to be addressed when deciding to use Agile in the DoD environment.

The report is a great read of how the DoD looked into Agile. As you can imagine this is a very pragmatic write up and refers to Agile as a 'Lead Bullet' rather than a 'Silver Bullet'. As with most things, processes included,  there is no one size fits all - the skill is working out what and when to use each approach.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Why I work for Apple and the flaw in the appstore

That is right. I work for Apple*. Of course I don't actually get a salary. In fact I don't have employee number and you won't find me in the payroll system. However, I do sell Apple products. I don't mean to but it just happens. In fact I would guess that the majority of iPad and iPhone owners - also sell Apple products and don't mean to.

There are probably many different reasons, maybe showing off a new toy or showing people useful apps. How often have you asked someone, how are you finding your iPad and the next minute you are in the middle of a sales pitch of how awesome the devices is. Perhaps someone has inquired about a particular app and you give them the entire rundown or not only that app - but all your apps. I've noticed a fair few blogger have been writing reviews of the iPad - again selling the iPad to people that read your blog.

The apps store is integral to making the iPhone (or iPad) successful. It helps that the app store is integrated into the device. In one easy click I can review and purchase new apps, something to make my life that little bit better. Having the app store easy and accessible, means there is one less barrier to me finding, downloading and buying new apps which make my iPhone (and iPad if I had one!) a more treasured part of my life.

But the app store is limited and has a flaw - ME.  I'm the app stores single point of failure.

I still need the desire to want to search for new apps. I still need to press that button to see what is new or to search for 'an app for that'. That need could be from a review in a magazine, tv ads, online, being shown an app by a friend or a desire to scratch an itch (metaphorically speaking as I haven't found an app for scratching ...yet!). The store on it's own does nothing. Without something or someone generating the desire to visit the appstore it's just another icon on my phone.

Apple are clever and have removed as many of the barriers and made the process of searching, reviewing and purchasing has easy as possible. The 'path to purchase' is very consumer focused and painless.

This is something that Eric Mack and Bruce Elgort have understood, from what I have read on their blogs and heard on podcasts. They have invested time to make it easy for their customers to review and purchase their apps. Their apps are making Notes and Domino a more treasured solution for their customers - which as we have seen for the iPad and iPhone turns a great solution into an awesome solution and one where users are generating the desire in others to search, find and purchase the same solutions.

So whilst I applaud the efforts of  all involved for getting a great appstore and a great catalog available for those customers, who are searching for Lotus Notes and Domino solutions. I fear that unless said catalog (or store) is in plain sight, or unless users are motivated to search for a solution then their effort may be wasted.

In my opinion an appstore (or catalog) on its own, without reviews, tv ads and advocates is nothing more than yet another website.

 * I don't actual work for Apple. In fact I have never worked for Apple and any resemblance to any apple employee is purely coincidental. I do, on occasion, eat apples as they are a healthy and nutritious snack.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Lotus knows how to respond better to the needs of students

Here is a recent IBM case study about a Lotus Notes and Domino solution that Cirrus Australia implemented for a client. It's not unusual or remarkable as Cirrus Australia are continually developing and implementing solutions in Lotus Notes and Domino.

It is just business as usual. Much the same way as many IBM business partners around the world continue to sell, build and implement solutions every day in Lotus Notes and Domino. It may not be as attention grabbing or as headline worthy as perhaps other types of projects, technology and solutions. Nevertheless, customers are continuing to choose Lotus Notes and Domino based solutions, ticking along, without the fuss and drama - much like a well maintained Domino server.

Edmund Rice Education Australia transforms student record management across a multi-site learning network

Moving to a Lotus Notes environment with integrated custom applications enabled easier and quicker access to the information. Lotus Notes provided us with immediate benefits of efficient information management and automatic alerts on important student information

The Flexible Learning Centre Network Lotus Notes project has been so successful that Edmund Rice Education Australia is now also considering rolling out a similar system to another education program.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Why you should know Lotus

The "Lotus knows" marketing campaign has started this week in Australia, which is a great initiative. Lotus Knows has been running in other geographies and has hit our antipodean shores. IBM does not promote specific brands and as such the Lotus team has battled hard to get some funding for this type of  activity. It is somewhat ironic as the Lotus brand is the most consumer or business user centric brand in the large IBM portfolio.

Today Lotus is synonymous with Notes (and Domino). Which is a pity as this is just one product in the entire brand. This isn't a new phenomenon. I remember a time when Lotus was synonymous with Lotus 123. When someone said Lotus they actually meant Lotus 123. Not Lotus Freelance, Lotus Word Pro or Lotus Organizer, which at the time were also part of the Lotus brand.

The same is true today. There are more products in the Lotus brand than simply Lotus Notes. Some really leading edge and innovative products, that aren't even based on the Notes architecture. The Lotus Knows campaign showcases the product in scenarios such as;

Lotus to have a meeting in the cloud
Lotus should bring an umbrella to the meeting

The theme continues with other scenarios.

You should start seeing the ads around the streets, in magazines and newspapers and  you can check out the videos, which are interesting AND amusing at the website

So why should you know more about the Lotus brand ?

As I've said, the Lotus brand contains some very innovative and leading edge solutions to the way business consumers are wanting to use technology to be more productive, efficient and agile. It is these users that are driving their IT departments to keep up with what they use outside of work. Lotus has solutions for these consumers and done in a way to keep your IT and security folks happy. Solution such as;

Social Computing

When you think of Social Computing, think of Facebook® for the enterprise. Social Computing products and services offer companies an easy and cost-effective way to uncover unknown and latent expertise, react to changing workforce dynamics and adapt to changing markets. 
 Collaboration in the Cloud

Access via the cloud to the latest and greatest in messaging, social networking and web conferencing facilities is one of the fastest growing segments in the marketplace today. All you need is internet access and IBM can provide you with a package of solutions in a cost per person per month basis to achieve your organisations collaborative, web conferencing and social networking objectives.
 Telephony & Conferencing

Foster innovation and business agility by making it easer for people to find, reach and collaborate with one another through a unified communications experience from their familiar devices, applications, and processes. Capabilities include instant messaging to PCs and mobile devices, conducting web and video conferencing as well as “click to call” features and capabilites. 

Web Portals & Dashboards

Strengthen relationships by giving your customers and partners a new online voice and include them in your business processes. Web portals help customers, employees and partners to work more effectively together. They put people, information and tools in one place that’s consistent, personal and convenient.


Mashups allow you to combine (to “mash-up”) disparate sources of information – mashing them to create purpose specific knowledge in real time. This can help organisations boost creativity, innovation, and responsiveness by unlocking and transforming existing data into new applications that address business challenges.

Email, Calendar and Instant Messaging

Flexibility and the ability to make business decisions quickly are key to determining the right advanced messaging solution to meet your company’s unique business needs. IBM provides flexible and scalable messaging solutions that empower people with a single point of access to people, business applications, and resources across and beyond the enterprise.
So if you hear your colleagues, friends or more importantly your competitors talking about any of the following names, then they are talking about Lotus products and they know, what Lotus Knows.

Forms Turbo
Live Engage
Live Connections
Live Meetings
Live Events
Live iNotes
Live Notes

If you would like to know what everyone else is talking about then checkout the website or get in contact with me or one of my colleagues at

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

iPad a game changer or eye candy ?

I was on the fence about the iPad. In fact I was leaning towards the opinion of  'it's a gadget for those with disposable income' then I saw this and changed my mind.

Digital Magazine Motion Cover and Feature for the iPad

Watch both video's and see how the nature of publishing could change. The nature in which we consume information and be entertained is about to enter a new era. It could be as life changing as when the first television was introduced to the living room. Time will tell, for sure, but you can envisage the potential. Already my iPhone has changed my own browsing behavior around the home, and I can see that others are keen for the iPad to be the next step in the evolution.

The tactile nature of the interface is far more intuitive with your fingers, than a mouse and keyboard for consuming. Like eating pizza with a knife and fork, it's way more natural using your hands. That said, creating content and entertainment will be a tougher call.

There is already a lot of  hype and some will go to extraordinary lengths to be the first to have the first of a new wave of devices.

Of course not everyone will agree, some will use the iPad to entertain others in new and unique ways.

Personally, I'm not a bleeding edge person so I'll wait and watch the transformation and see what the next version will be like.

It sure is pretty though!

Monday, March 22, 2010

FYI : Understanding the IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.x client directory structure

 Worth a repost for those who have not seen it.

This article explains the changes that were introduced in the IBM® Lotus® Notes® 8.5 File System installation and describes them with respect to the installation, setup/launch/run, and uninstall phases in the client's life cycle. Also included are answers to some FAQs on the client file system.

 Thanks to Stuart for sending through this info.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My take on Dec's open source post.

I was going to post a comment to Declan's post about the yellow bubble open source developers and reflect on my experience. However, seeing as how my post for 2010 are below par, here is my first post for 2010!

Brians' comment struck very close to home in relation to my experience. It was only when I either worked for a company in a non technology sector or when I worked (almost) for myself, that I could freely contribute code, applications and snippets that I thought might be useful.

I'm glad that I did, as I feel as though I've returned something back to a community that had helped me along the way. I even tried, rather woefully I might add, to contribute to Peters .Scrum project, until it became very obvious that free time and energy are at a premium at this stage of my life, when other commitments like family, kids and a new job demand more. I see similar pressures effecting a number of the key members of the yellow open source bubble.

I guess that the sole focus of cutting code has given way to other pursuits and the new blood is not following in the footsteps troden by those before them.

Why is that ?

Well, for a start, there are more technologies to choose from to invest your free time. iPhone, Flex, Air, Silverlight, LAMP to name a few. One argument for proprietary software is that the developers are paid to build the software, where as open source developers will choose technology to invest their time in based on what is interesting and what is likely to be profitable, either financially, or in standing within a peer group that they wish to belong too. The argument goes, that majority of open source developers will follow the trend of what is popular and when the next shiny trend comes along, their contributions will follow, leaving behind older projects to go stale with little to no progress.

I guess that this isn't a yellow bubble only thing, but effects open source in general where the code continuation is pretty much down to the good will and enthusiasm of a few.

Of course having your contributions, reused without credit does little to motivate. The expectation from far flung locales that you will provide free and unlimited support to help their business simple because you have donated your time, intelect and energy in the hope of helping those who are keen to help themselves, rather than those that wish to be spoon fed - does little to encourage continued goodwill.

With all that in mind, would I contribute to open source again ?


When will that be ?