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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?