Interesting elsewhere – 16 January 2012

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

  • Don’t forget who you are working for « We Love Local Government In both cases the assumptions I made, as a fairly IT literate individual was that a) people would share my belief that digital is better and that b) people’s spending habits would reflect this. In fact I was wrong.
  • Stumbling and Mumbling: Child benefit, ideology & bias But cognitive biases aren’t something which ignorant citizens have and which wise governments are free of. Policy-makers are also prone to them – either because they are as irrational as everyone else or because they have to pander to an irrational electorate. One of my big complaints against Nudge is that it fails to appreciate this sufficiently, and so panders to the ideological fiction that policy-making is or can be entirely rational and evidence-based.
  • “Digital memorials for mass graves” – Jim Kosem at London IA When thinking about designing a digital monument, Jim explained that your main competition was basically big lumps of concrete that tended to last for hundreds of years. That is quite some competition for software, he argued. We really don’t have a good track record of software ageing.
  • It’s all about the words | Government Digital Service We will be ‘designing for the common case’. That means we will take information that affects most of our users and putting it up front. If you are an edge case or exception – perhaps affected by something that only affects 100 people in the whole of the UK – then your information will still be there – it just won’t be in the first paragraph.
  • Why Facebook doesn’t have or need testers | ZDNet By paying less attention to quality, Facebook has been able to focus on other things, like making the company a fun place to work at that can attract and retain talented engineers. Facebook would probably be less fun if it cared more about quality. Facebook’s product is a website, so it can fix things quickly. It has a process which permits rapid deployment of new code, and rapid rollback of buggy changes. This reduces the cost of recovering from bugs.
  • The discipline that dare not speak its name « Martin Howitt’s blog We started strongly and soon had a very elegant programme for exploiting the organisation’s resources to drive higher productivity, better outcomes and lower costs. But no-one was interested. I now believe this wasn’t because people disagreed with it, it was because people didn’t understand it. And I think that has more to do with demographics than anything: there are still a large number of people at or near the tops of big organisations that have a blind spot when it comes to anything new: they can’t cope with big paradigm shifts and clever methods changing the way business is done.
  • What is ‘Information Architecture’? | Help | In the end, however you try and define it, information architecture boils down to consciously organising the content and flow of a website, based on some principles that can be articulated, that have been derived through evidence gathering.
  • Customer Experience v User Experience | disambiguity Given the choice of having a Chief Experience Officer (CXO from a UX background) or a Chief Customer Office (CCO from a marketing/CX background), I’d probably choose the latter – for the more comprehensive, well rounded view of the organisation and all its working parts than the interface obsessed UXer is likely to be. And I’m more confused about where Service Design fits into all of this than ever.
  • Leader vs. Loser – GovLoop – Social Network for Government Leaders may have different styles but one thing about them is always the same: They act as if they own the situation, whether they actually do nor not.
  • Elegant Code » Agile’s Coming of Age We know good and well that we can’t predict the evolution of a software project beyond a few months in most thriving businesses. Change just happens. Why then do we persist in thinking Big Funding Up Front is any different than Big Design Up Front? Some are making inroads with models of T&M funding, fixed cost, adjustable scope, and other techniques like incremental funding. However, for the most part we remain stuck in annual funding models because business Agility, the real promise of Agile, remains elusive.
  • Scroungers – honestlyrealThink of the coastline. Yes, another line. Isn’t it? It’s obvious where it lies. One side land, the other sea. Now look more closely. Still sure about that? Still confident that you can draw, with perfect accuracy, a boundary between the two? One that doesn’t shift faster than you can study it? One in which every crevice, nook, cell and grain can be defined as being on one side or the other. Of course you can’t. The coastline is a great theory, but a poor reality.
  • Fixing Twitter (Robert Brook) Interestingly, it Twitter is fixed for me, it might not be great for the money people. And if it’s fixed for them – which seems to be the direction things are going in now – then it might be more completely broken for me.