I was talking with a Cambridge University student recently, in particular about their University Card. It’s a very useful card, that in one way can be described very simply. As far as I understand, the card lets students, academics and staff across the university access rooms and services, by proving their identity electronically. That’s something … Continue reading The big and small idea
A little while ago, I was asked “What makes software good?”, which was followed up by “How do you end up with good software?”. I thought that they were excellent questions, and I will give my answers below. I don't claim to have the answer, just an answer. I’ll try to limit esprit d’escalier / … Continue reading Good software and how to get it
I recently noticed myself using gendered language to talk about computer things where gender was irrelevant. This got me thinking about language, and prejudice and discrimination, more broadly. Beyond the obvious, decency-related reasons, being more open to how people are different from you could help you do your job in IT. Gendered magic The trigger … Continue reading Language, discrimination and software development
This is part two of a series on obsolescence, value, cost and things like that. It's mostly about computer hardware and software, but drawing on other things too. Cars and computersBuilding to last Boots and white goods The Discworld books by Terry Pratchett are full of wisdom. (They also have interesting characters, humour, and an … Continue reading Obsolescence – building to last
A computer system, like a car or a coffee machine, is something designed to meet some requirements. These requirements usually force the designer to make a compromise, based on which requirements get more attention than others. (Which is the best car? It depends on whether speed, size, sustainability etc. are most important to you.) One … Continue reading Random numbers to protect privacy in a pandemic app
I vividly remember an appointment with a sonographer when my wife was pregnant. On one hand, it was a skilled professional using a combination of acoustic gel, a wand that contained a microphone and loudspeaker, a portable computer that did signal processing on what the microphone picked up, and a monitor that displayed a visual … Continue reading Emotion and software development
Requirements for an IT system come in several shapes and sizes. Even if you manage to get requirements that are clear, concise, comprehensive, unambiguous and agreed, they could still be badly behaved. I will try to warn you of some of the perils that requirements can cause. Well-behaved requirements Before I get onto badly behaved … Continue reading Not all requirements are created equal
From UIE and also Medium, Melissa Perri (Product Management Consultant, etc.) has written a very interesting article on product strategy. It should grow out of business goals, and concentrate on outcomes rather than deliverables: What is Good Product Strategy?