Apple's mistaken mystique

The Agile 2009 conference closed with a fascinating talk by Jared Spool. He's an extremely entertaining speaker, but what made Spool's talk especially engaging was the topic: What kind of teams are good at design? Or, to put it another way, why are some people user experience artists, and others just hacks?

Inevitably, when you talk about user experience, you wind up talking about Apple, the company that has based its success on building products that people really want to use. However, Spool gave a very different version of the Apple story than the one we usually hear. The starting point was this video, the view from 1987 of how people would use computers in 2010:

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Teleconference on Agile adoption next week

Next Monday, August 31, Forrester colleague Dave West and I will be presenting some of our preliminary results from our Agile adoption survey. (Which is still open, if you're interested in participating.) We'll be covering Agile adoption in both IT departments and technology industry companies, including the differences between the two.

Of course, everyone wants to know how many development teams have adopted Agile. My sneak peek for you is, "Substantially more than we had originally estimated." If you want to hear the full answer, here's the link for the teleconference.

[Cross-posted at The Heretech.]

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The Tidal Wave of Business Video

I just completed my teleconference on “The Mounting Tidal Wave Of Business Video Traffic” and during the teleconference we asked attendees to tell us what video solutions they were using.  The poll turned down before everyone could participate fully, so I wanted to open up the question to our blog readers as well.  What video solutions are you using? 

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Is BTM the true BSM?

BTM (Business Transaction Management) is starting to appear on the radar screen of many clients and vendors. BTM is based on the ability to trace a transaction path through n-tiers of infrastructure components in order to provide 1) visibility into the transaction, 2) a template that could be used to understand how the infrastructure supports the transaction and 3) a basis to define whether a transaction behavior in normal, that is within the resource usage bracket observed historically or abnormal, signaling a performance or availability issue. Many products have appeared on the market over time to support this transaction tracing or transaction tracking ability. Bristol Technology (now HP), MQ Software Q!Nami (now BMC) supported MQ Series and Websphere MQ. ClearApp (now Oracle) and dynaTrace have this capability built in their SOA-APM monitoring solution, Optier and Correlsense provide visibility into transaction paths. Now we find this capability as one of the requirements for Application Performance Management: IBM ITCAM has looked into this issue from the get go, CA is developing the capability for Wily, HP is working on expanding Bristol, Compuware and Opnet can take advantage of their network analysis solutions to provide this information, Quest Software has added this feature in their APM solution and Precise is also walking the same path . Why?

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Best practices for PM leaders

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had done some very interesting research on best practices for the people who run product management and product marketing organizations. Since we did the research for the Forrester Leadership Board (FLB) for that role, we couldn't share the final results beyond the FLB members themselves.

Good news: we have an excerpt available at this link (registration required to access it). We've anonymized the people we profiled, but their names and companies aren't the important details.

By choosing highly successful heads of PM teams, we got a glimpse into the future of PM. The thumbnail sketch of that picture: the profession is getting more clearly defined, because it is increasingly strategic. The PM role is making simultaneous progress as a profession, art, discipline, and the group with the broadest and deepest insight into the state of the overall business.

Big thanks to Steve Davidson for doing a lot of the work that made this excerpt possible. Steve is runs the FLB program for Technology Product Management (TPM) professionals.

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The Heretech, episode 17: Rich Mironov on Agile PM

This week, Rich Mironov of Enthiosys tells us what happens when the two worlds of Agile and product management collide. Plus, a look ahead at the Agile 2009 conference, a reminder about the two surveys we're running, and musings on why technology coverage in mainstream newspapers generally stinks.

Are you addressing the next big thing in mobility – the Mobile Wannabe segment?

Michele Pelino [Posted by Michele Pelino]

We are all familiar with the story – mobility is hot and is taking root within firms of all sizes. Why? Mobility solutions improve employee productivity and efficiencies. However, the down economic environment has changed corporate priorities. It is no surprise that our data shows that cost cutting activities for telecom data center, and servers dominate initiatives for the next year. See the report: Demand Insights: Enterprise Mobility 2009 for more information. 

But, there is another story. We found that nearly 35% of companies identify offering more mobility support including deploying mobile applications and mobile devices as a critical or high priority for their companies in the coming year. This is not shabby during these difficult economic times.

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Announcing the Agile adoption survey

Hot on the heels of the requirements survey (which is still available, if you haven't participated), we've launched the Agile adoption survey. Colleague Dave West and I are looking into the state of Agile adoption, looking for answers to commonly-asked questions like...

  • What aspects of Agile are getting stronger or weaker adoption?
  • How important are tools, coaching, and other aids?
  • How important is the flavor of Agile you select?
  • What types of organizations or projects seem to have the best chances of success with Agile?

If your organization is at any point in the Agile adoption curve, from an initial evaluation to a fully mature implementation, we'd love to hear how's it going. Here's the link that will take you straight to the survey.

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That was the week that was, part 2

The other big project this week was a detailed analysis of a company's corporate and product marketing. We have a specific methodology, called a Vendor Positioning Review (VPR), that measures the ability of a company's publicly-available marketing materials to speak to both technical and business audiences. We also assess the connections (or lack thereof) between the corporate and product marketing content. We put these details into a tool, and out pops an assessment that suggests some important changes that may be necessary.

The VPR is based on what Forrester calls the IT to BT shift. In this shorthand, IT (information technology) delivers value only if the right combination of business and technical experts, working in tandem, can figure out whether there's any business value in it. BT (business technology) delivers value more quickly, because its creators design and market it to address particular business problems that plague people in particular jobs.

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That was the week that was, part 1

If someone had stuffed me into the trunk of a car and driven to a remote location in the  Sierras, I could not have been more out of touch with the outside world than I was for a good chunk of the last week. As I mentioned earlier, I had two major projects to do on a short deadline, with barely enough time to finish them. Practically all other priorities went out the window, including (sadly) blogging and podcasting.

One of the projects covered exactly the same topic as a recent post, "Beware of the naked man," about differences in social media behavior across different demographic segments. The client wanted us to profile the same roles in different industries. Where did they go in Social Media Land, and what were they doing there?

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