Awesome, I wonder if they need a web developer?
The largest source of waste in the startup, says author and entrepreneur Eric Ries, is building a product that no one will find useful. This is not a technical error, but rather a tactical one. Find out early if your product has merit by developing two teams in-house: One that works on problems uncovering who the customer is and what problems they are trying to solve, and one that focuses solely on the solutions for the current product hypothesis.
To sustain a business, Shutterstock CEO Jon Oringer had to balance his price for photos with his payment to photographers.
Well not the whole program hopefully ….just the web page. Of course this would never have happened under Sir Kev’s leadership ..he would have been in there sleeves rolled-up hand forging the correct html href himself. No need for these overpaid web developers. Now, don’t get me wrong I don’t want anyone to think I’m just some disgruntled ex-public servant web developer with an axe to grind when …wait a minute ;D
Business model innovator Alexander Osterwalder lays out reasons to map a product or service’s value proposition with the actual pains customers face. Using building blocks from his business model canvas framework, Osterwalder maps the relationship and discusses, with interviewer Steve Blank, how value is created.
I read an article today over at People10 titled: How Agile solves traditional pitfalls of IT Outsourcing and it got me thinking. To me that’s the sign of a good blog article; does it get you thinking?
I think the primary issue whether experienced via insourcing or outsourcing arises from a failure to consult, understand and manage competing stakeholder expectations rather than what development framework was chosen. To me a failure in this area can have project killing knock-on effects, limiting accurate and valid requirements which has the knock on affect of scope pressure or requirements creep which in turn pushes out timelines which invariably impacts budget--like falling dominoes. According to analyst Lars Mieritz review of recent Gartner research these knock on affects contribute to around 75% of all IT project failures.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves…”
Sometimes, both process and communication gets hijacked due to operational priorities, resource availability, organisational culture, external contractor priorities etc. basically a whole range and or combination of reasons. For instance if the business case has been ill-defined then whatever is designed may function perfectly but may fail to deliver the expected ROI. If the functional analysis does not go to transaction level then this can lead to the functional spec being ill-defined. If the requirements specification fails to explicitly outline in functional terms (read: tables, table fields, screens and logical processing) then what comes out the other end whether under a traditional Waterfall method or Agile method may also not match stakeholder expectations.
This is why so many companies now insist on their Project Managers using Prince2 as their large scale project framework because it involves a very strictly defined process or path which must ALWAYS be followed--otherwise you’re not using Prince2. As opposed to PMBOK which is more flexible in it’s methodology and maps better to Agile development.
So to that extent following the process of development--to the letter is all about ensuring good lines of communication all the way from staff engaged at the transaction processing level, respective business units, management and development teams--it’s all about good communication and more importantly open communication. We follow the process then so we can limit gaps in expectations i.e. developer expectations in terms of development overhead and maintenance, management expectations in terms of ROI and reporting and staff expectations about functioning and usability. So, a failure to maintain open communication amongst all the stakeholders and to follow the process adds significant risk to the project’s level of success, timelines, costs etc. and in the worst case scenario leads to a failure of the project.
Communication then is at the root of all project success or failure.
But getting a handle on communications means understanding the communications environment, stakeholder needs and expectations.
In traditional command and control management environments, management’s competitive advantage lies in being knowledge gatekeepers and communication controllers which in and of itself tends to introduce weak links into the communication chain not to mention plausible deniability for when things go bad which with IT projects they invariably do to some extent.
Managing staff expectations, fears and uncertainty are also key as you transition them from the status quo to learning a new way of doing things as well as reduced or even additional workload or responsibilities. Some of them may fear losing their jobs at the project’s completion and controlling the haemorrhage of staff departures prior to and during transition periods can add significantly to operational overheads.
Understanding that external contractor objectives are primarily about getting the contract and locking the customer in after all that’s where the money is and they have their own team to look after. That’s why their account teams invariably target executive management for the sale because they are the power brokers and decision makers and let’s face it they’re easier to sell to than IT who tend to ask a whole lot of pointy questions that are more likely to test the veracity of the potential outsourcer’s timeline, budget, technology and methodology claims.
…more to come in Part II
Google’s advertising model has been extremely successful, says CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founder Larry Page. Google has invested in technology to better target ads -- and they’ve found that targeting ads well is in fact comparable to targeting search results. Good news methinks for my pending project.
Some time back I tried to identify the elements of what makes a good photo as a means of being able to leverage those elements better in my photography. In other words what elements does a good photo need to cut deep into the viewer’s mind. I came upon an idea for the following model which I call the ATTentioN model or ATTN model for short because every good model needs an acronym. My model (read: work in progress) attempts to describe the elements that gain and maintain the viewers attention or as Barthe’s proposed, prick the viewer. This model’s basic premise is that every image, good, bad or indifferent includes some mix of ambiguity, technicality, temporality and novelty. Successful images I propose are especially good at leveraging novelty and ambiguity. I’ve outlined these elements in some detail below but I hope to flesh these out more in later posts with example photos, some of which I confess unashamedly will be mine. Let’s face it if you can’t promote your own photography on your own blog then when can you?!
ATTN Model V. 1.0
Basically, this is the question. A good photo should always ask a question of the viewer not provide the answer. It should ask the viewer to question their own assumptions--this is what holds the viewers attention.
Think juxtaposition, the co-location of two symbols that normally go together in a manner that is ironic, absurd or manner that challenges the status quo of a stereotype.
This includes use of depth of field, bokeh effect, framing, lighting, perspective, focal length, shutter speed, focus or zoom pulling, tilt, shift, ISO, compositing, post-production or printing; all used to emphasize or de-emphazise the subject of the photo.
Essentially, this is capturing or intimating time or timelessness during the moment/s before or during and/or after the photo was made.
The astute amongst you will immediately notice the absence of a photographic subject in the elements described above. The main reason for this is that a subject is always a given in a photo i.e. a photo cannot be about nothing. I talked about how all art must have a subject or representation in an essay titled Abstraction in the absence of representation. If you read all the way through that you deserve a medal.