Of designers and developers

In today's post at The Heretech, I come out of the closet. Yes, I am a bigger history geek than you can possibly imagine. Hello, my name is Tom, and I play wargames.

However, by playing a lot of games designed to simulate historical events, I've learned a couple of things that apply to designing products in the technology industry. Specifically, how do you create a design teeam that can overcome some of the common pitfalls, such as unnecessary complexity? To read more, follow this link.

[P.S. Thanks for pointing out the problem with the link. Typepad is intermittently eating the hyperlinks I enter. From now on, I'll just have to test them before I publish.]


Why use cases should drive technology design

During a briefing from Microsoft's xRM team, the question of how to integrate structured and unstructured data arose. If xRM (the Dynamics platform) is good at the structured stuff, and SharePoint is good at unstructured content, what's the right way to bridge the two?

Back in my Oracle days, we faced exactly the same question. At a technology level, there's no obvious answer. Bring together two development teams (the structured and unstructured specialists), and you'll first get a lot of technical-level discussions. How should security work? What API changes might be needed? How will metadata span the two kinds of information?

Unfortunately, there's no immediately obvious answer to these questions. In fact, the options are so broad, and the risk of technological quagmires so great, that the endeavor might easily grind to a halt. People ponder the options, argue over which one is best, go back and ponder some more...

Read more

Podcast: My interview with the Cranky Product Manager

Stepping out of the shadows, the Cranky Product Manager and I talked about the sources of crankiness in the technology industry in this week's Heretech podcast. The conversation also ranges from the reasons why product management is a "wretchedly awesome" job, to how overzealous Agile advocates hurt their cause.

To maintain anonymity, I masked the CPM's voice. A couple of listeners have already compared the effect to the Cylon voice effect in the old Battlestar Galactica series. I'm not sure if the CPM would be flattered or mortified by that comparison.

In the same podcast, I also review a movie that you've never heard of, but which has a lot of relevance for a recent hot topic in the PM blogs.

Agile Executive post on "regime change"

Many thanks to Israel Gat at The Agile Executive for posting my thoughts on how Agile is following the same path that many revolutions take. After you've had some initial successes, and take your new programme seriously, what now?


Making a SaaS of yourself

I've worked on both SaaS products and on-premise ones. While the challenges may be different, I was never at a loss for things to do in product management and product marketing. In fact, some of these tasks became more challenging, not less so, in a SaaS world.

Which makes me wonder, why on earth would someone who purports to be an expert on SaaS say that PM is not necessary in SaaS applications? To get my complete reaction to this recent post on SaaS University's house blog, click here.

New PM podcast, with Adam Bullied

This week, I interview Adam Bullied of Write That Down. Among other topics, we discuss why PMs shouldn't try to be mini-CEOs. (Or just tiny.) For the actual podcast, click here.

What's the Dev team's interest in social media?

Most aficianados of social media emphasize the customer-facing applications of these technologies. By now, we've all heard interesting stories about how Marketing used blogs to get the message out, Sales used forum postings to help qualify leads, and Support used Twitter to respond to users wrestling with technical problems.

Exciting, new-frontierish stuff, to be sure, but you hear far less about Development's social media strategy. What about the "inbound" applications of social media?

That question was my inspiration for what turned into a three-part series on "inbound social media." The first research document appeared today (Forrester subscription required to read the whole enchilada). The second and third parts are coming shortly.

A lot of development teams are skeptical about their company's investment in social media. Frankly, they don't see what's in it for them. Worse, it threatens to be a distraction from their mission to execute, execute, execute.

Read more

New podcast for PMs: interview with Ed Yoozer

Ed Yoozer is the measure of all technology design. But have you ever really had a chance to get to know him? We fill that gap in this week's podcast. (Be sure to stick around for Yoozer's views on social media.) Plus, a short review of a book on product requirements that demonstrates, yet again, where good intentions can lead.

Click here for the link to the podcast on The Heretech blog.

So you want to start a revolution

Today's shopping experience at my local Safeway inspired--nay, compelled--me to write a post over at The Heretech about revolutionary changes in the use of CRM. If there is a CRM revolution that's going to happen, or already is happening, how far is it likely to go?

The short version of the post: Don't look to Maximilian Robespierre for answers. (And not just because he's dead.)


Reboot camp

Learn how Superman's never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way has relevance to technology product strategy at The Heretech.