James Mayes

Posts Tagged ‘Software Development’

How fast do you need to run?

In Personal Development, Start-ups on June 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm

I heard a statement recently which caught my attention.  When you’re being chased by a lion, you don’t need to be the fastest runner there – just faster than the slowest one.  I like things like this – they’re simple, they convey a clear message – they’re well suited to certain aspects of our world – the 140 character aspect in particular.

It got me thinking though – in terms of business, how does one “not get eaten”?  Does the same hold true? Can you simply ensure you’re not the worst business in your field?  Possibly. You might get by, you might scrape a living.  Trouble is, your competition in business is not simply one hungry lion.  It’s hundreds of them – and every other animal in the zoo, too.

For that reason, I think I’ll stick with trying very much to be the fastest runner there.  I might not succeed in being fastest, but it’s certainly going to help my chances of survival.

Things I’ve learnt about software development

In Personal Development, Software Development on March 4, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Time for me to attempt my first blog post of any significance, having launched only an introduction so far.  As you may know, I’ve been heavily involved in the launch of a new business recently.  A core part of this has been creation of an online application which allows us to take recruitment information into the Twitterverse, whilst also helping candidates connect with said information.

Whilst I’ve always harboured an interest in technology, this experience has brought me closer to the development cycle than anything I’ve done since playing with Pascal code on a VMS cluster at university. Coding wasn’t my strong point then and not much has changed there.  Apparently though, there have been major changes in methods…

I’d heard terms like Agile Development and Iterative Approach being thrown around by project managers, heard some getting very excited by the speed of change while other expressed frustration at scope-creep and cost over-run.  Well, we’ve spent the last six months working with a development team who are entirely iterative in their approach. For what it’s worth, I learnt a few things that I feel have wider application….

  • Ensure you all have the same understanding of the methodology you’ll be using.  We had the same big-picture understanding, but less cohesion at more detailed levels. An extra few hours really focussed on that in the early days would have saved time and tension later on.
  • Collaborate and demand in equal measures.  Collaborate by whatever means necessary to ensure everyone has the knowledge and tools to deliver. Remember who the customer is, demand satisfaction.
  • Sometimes, it’s good to go retro. You can talk for hours about layout of a page, but nothing beats a quick sketch, pencil on paper.  In a distributed environment, it’s then straight back up to date  – use a smartphone to distribute the images if needed. I guess the same would work for process design, data capture forms, etc.

There’s plenty more besides these, but while my blog’s finding its feet, I’ll hold some inspiration back for future posts. As always, feedback and comments are welcome – here, via Twitter …. or however you prefer.


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