Agile Academy Meetup: Usability & Clouds

MeetupAgile AcademyThe Agile Academy runs a quarterly meetup in Brisbane and held a meetup this week on usability, whilst their meetup in November was on Cloud Computing. Here is my wrapup:

Agile Is From Mars, Usability Is From Venus

  • lots of good agile usability discussion started by Jeff Patton on the agile-usability group
  • cobbled together design forces usability not to have the incremental design it needs
  • coding is creative, the only thing mechanical is compiling
  • be a tribe leader and collaborate, suggested reading is Tribes by Seth Godin. Teale recognised by her managers for her leadership for getting out there and posting to the internal Yammer site
  • goal directed design, focus on the goals of the user – design applications in terms of needs and goals and underlying motivations, so when the transport or technology changes, the design work is still relevant
  • poetpainter.com (Stephen Anderson, Interaction Designer) – who are we designing for and what are we designing for, fundamentals of experience design (http://www.poetpainter.com/thoughts/category/Models–Frameworks/)
  • get into the head of users with user needs – motivation keywords to articulate user needs – increase positive aspects, maintaining status quo and decrease negative aspects – flopped as a workshop but worked wonders as a survey (and surprised the business as to the candid responses from the users)
  • user goals – who I want to be (life goals), what I want to do (end goals) and how I want to feel (experience goals)
  • use success sliders to understand how important the project team view usability
  • personas – need to have understanding of users and need to do impact analysis
  • storyboards do not need to be neat, just a rough drawing to determine if you are hitting the mark
  • put the name of the persona in the storycard (not just the role) such as: As a [role of user] [name of persona]…
  • use MOSCOW (Must, Should, Could, Won’t) for prioritisation
  • 960 grid system – consistent framework for screen design
  • parallel track system – designers one iteration ahead of developers and business two iterations ahead of developers
  • the featuritis curve – more features you add, the harder it is use
  • 5 second usability test – realise that the middle part of the page is the most important part of the page, helps business understand where to put content – see http://fivesecondtest.com for example, but Teale creates her own with PowerPoint
  • for more on usability testing read the Handbook of Usability Testing or use TechSmith Morae (but this is very expensive)

From the question and answer session:

  • hard to manage parallel development two iterations ahead because stories always change, Marina Chiovetti added that research suggests this only works for a maximum one or two week sprints/iterations whilst Phil Abernathy suggested that the use of usability frames means that screens are being tested with the users upfront
  • Tealse does not use wireframing tools but rather does these in a workshop by hand. She only uses Adobe Photoshop when needed. Someone suggested that Adobe Fireworks is also a good tool and has templates on 960 Grid System
  • PAC analysis – People, Activities, Context

Agile, Lean & Green IT Come Together

Gavin Keeley presented at the Agile Academy November 2009 Meetup:

  • President Obama mentioned green as much as the global financial crisis in his innauguration speech
  • commerical use of IT is responsible for 2% of CO2  emissions, larger than the airline industry
  • of all PCs in use, only 6% of capacity is utilised
  • power is the biggest issue for data centre managers – can’t get enough off the grid
  • Suggested reading: Green To Gold by Esty & Winston
  • Amazon is the poster child for cloud computing, issues with latency in Australia thoughcloud – getting capacity just before you need it
  • agiles final frontier – how do we get colleagues in infrastructure on the journey with application developers
  • VMware at Virtualization Forum 2009 – View, vSphere, vCloud, vApps (what was Spring) – 85% market share
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V also on the bandwagon
  • Xen – open source virtualisation technology – Oracle only allowing certification on Xen
  • latest buzzword – the software mainframe – that’s restrictive, how about the software data centre
  • 3tera doing interesting things in the grid space
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