Beware of the naked man

I forgot to cross-post "Beware of the naked man" last night. Since people kindly left comments to the post, I have to rectify that oversight.

The post is about the role of social media in product requirements. Is it a supplement or replacement for other requirements sources? How hard is it to get good information out of social media?

The misuse of social media

The "inbound social media" research grew to massive proportions, then underwent mitosis to become three separate documents, because it's difficult to encapsulate the discipline of using social media. Like any new field, social media are fraught with both opportunity and risk.

In the particular application that I was investigating, social media as a new source of requirements data, people can commit the same mistakes with this new source of information as they have with the old ones. For example, important players in the product development process often make decisions based on the customer with whom they last spoke. An equally common temptation is to listen to customers who echo what you want to hear, and disregard the rest.

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Picking the right social media for requirements

All three parts of the series on social media as a new source of requirements data are now published. The first shows how product teams can use social media to create reach more accurate conclusions than traditional sources of requirements (customer visits, enhancement requests, customer advisory boards, etc.) alone can provide.

The second document distills the lessons learned from attempts to use social media in this "inbound role" into a methodology, PLOT (persona, location, options, test). Since the choice of which social media can best answer particular kinds of questions isn't immediately obvious, I devoted the third document to that topic alone.

During the research for this series, it became glaringly obvious that there is a major dividing line in the type of information that product teams collect and analyze:

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Twitter without the airbrushing

Some recent statistics on Twitter show how the reality can be more convincing that the hype. Do we never learn that the eye-rolling, "Oh my God it's going to change the world" enthusiasm for a new technology buries that technology's real success in an avalanche of hyperbole?

 Click here for the full treatment at The Heretech.

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Should Google be the next Microsoft?

Google's announcement about the Chrome OS raises a whole lotta questions about the future of the operating systems market, or what an operating system really is, or how the Chrome OS fits into Google's larger strategy. As interesting as these questions may be, we also have very little foundation on which to answer them.

I have a much longer post here about the reasons why we can't reach any conclusions yet. Here's the short version:

  • Netbooks, which play a significant role in the prospects for Chrome OS, can be both a blessing and a curse.

  • You could say the same thing about the degree to which the Chrome OS depends on the Chrome browser.

  • Users may not see the compelling reasons to use this new platform, or even understand it fully.

  • Governments may not be thrilled about the implications for competition and privacy.

  • There's still a lot of murkiness about cloud computing in general that this does nothing to dispel.

  • Serious technical challenges lie ahead.