October 2008 Archives

Link: Define ITIL for the IT layman | The IT Skeptic

You don’t need ITIL to run a static environment where nothing goes wrong and nothing changes and nothing grows. ITIL has nothing to do with technology, nor can it be implemented with technology. ITIL is about how an organisation and the people within it respond to planned and unexpected variations in the environment, from outages to changes to growth. ITIL defines human behaviour.

Every organisation needs the processes ITIL describes. Every organisation already has them. ITIL is just one way of defining a standard approach to performing them. You may not need ITIL but every IT shop needs to be doing what ITIL describes, one way or another.

Link: Wapedia - Wiki: Microsoft Operations Framework

Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) 4.0 is a series of guides aimed at helping information technology (IT) professionals establish and implement reliable, cost-effective services. It describes a set of service management frameworks for the entire software development life cycle.

Stack Overflow

Link: Stack Overflow

This is a website that provides lots of great questions and answers about software development.

Wire Frame Your Site [Design Practice]

Link: Wire Frame Your Site [Design Practice]

Implementing a few simple steps in carefully planning your site, before you create any graphics, can eliminate a lot of headaches. One method that I find very useful is the creation of a wire frame or “white site” model. I’ll outline the benefits and process of wire framing in this article.

Link: Writing Software Requirements Specifications | A Technical Communication Community

For technical writers who haven’t had the experience of designing software requirements specifications (SRSs, also known as software functional specifications or system specifications) templates or even writing SRSs, they might assume that being given the opportunity to do so is either a reward or punishment for something they did (or failed to do) on a previous project. Actually, SRSs are ideal projects for technical writers to be involved with because they lay out the foundation for the development of a new product and for the types of user documentation and media that will be required later in the project development life cycle. It also doesn’t hurt that you’d be playing a visible role in contributing to the success of the project.

This article will describe what an SRS is and why it’s important, discuss how and why technical writers should be involved with them, and discuss the critical elements for writing an SRS. Although this article does not attempt to address all aspects of developing SRSs, it aims to help you determine the scope for such a project, to provide some guidelines for writing SRSs, and to provide additional resources. Hopefully with this information, you’ll not be asking, “Why me?” but proclaiming “Why not me?”

Link: ArsDigita Systems Journal: Requirements Gathering for Application Design


A solution delivery team and a client agree to develop a software application. Together they agree on scope, specifications, timeline, and price. The delivery team begins coding against the specifications and at the initial milestone date meets with the client to review functionality. The clientâ�™s reaction upon seeing the functionality - “This is not what we were expecting!”
Even with a seemingly well-defined set of functional requirements, web service developers and customers often have different interpretations for how requirements translate into applications. But regardless of why or how these differences surface, the customer expects the development team to be accountable and to meet predefined project timelines and budgets. The outcome is solutions that are delivered late and result in significant incremental costs to the delivery team (e.g. additional development resources are needed, developers are overworked, morale suffers, other projects are neglected). Often the original project timeline is compromised and customers are generally unhappy.

With dot.com type clients, these risks are real but manageable. With larger, more established clients (e.g., Fortune 500), these risks can result in very public and damaging failures. As web service companies continue to grow and extend their customer bases, success will be largely predicated on how quickly and comprehensively they can get to know their customers and understand their needs.

Social software - the basics

Jon Mell - Web Ideas and strategy provides a simple explanation of Enterprise 2.0 and Social Software applications.

Joining Dots: Blog: Taxonomy in MOSS

Link: Joining Dots: Blog: Taxonomy in MOSS

Key messages from the presentation:

MOSS uses elements of taxonomy to improve search and navigation. The core feature is ‘columns’, used for metadata. Case study: a tag-driven user interface created for the New Zealand Ministry of Transport. A great end result but a lot of effort required to implement and maintain
MOSS does not (yet) provide taxonomy management tools. Taxonomy management is about defining and managing schema(s), and classifying content agains those schemas
Taxonomy is not the holy grail. Schemas need to continually evolve to be effective. Often there is a disconnect between the language used by those creating the schema and those looking for information that the schema is for. This perhaps explains why folksonomies have achieved more success than official taxonomies, but…
User tagging is less accurate or consistent than automatic classification. Comment from Google founder Sergey Brin: Semantics and tagging are great as long as computers are doing it [not people].” Automatic classification is by no means perfect either. Accuracy rarely exceeds 70% - lots of developm

Social Media vs. Knowledge Management

Venkat��s hypothesis in Enterprise 2.0 blog is that their is  a hidden corporate war going on between KM practitioners and social media advocates rings true.  I have seen it in the way Microsoft SharePoint, with minimum Web 2.0 capabilities, is embraced by IT departments while open source web 2.0 are shunned.  He has identified 5 social dimensions of this generational war:

  1. Gen X is Currently Neutral
  2. KM is about ideology, SM is about the fun of building
  3. The Boomers don��t really get or like engineering and organizational complexity
  4. The Millenials don��t really try to understand the world
  5. Boomers speak with words, X��ers with numbers, Millenials with actions

And 5 technological dimensions:

Expertise locators are not social networks

Online Communities are not USENET V3.0

RSS and Mash-ups are Gen-X ideas

SemWeb Isn��t Next-Gen, it is Last-Gen

SOA and SaaS are Gen X; Clouds are Millenial

�How the War Will End

It takes no great genius to predict how the war will end. The Boomers will retire and the Millenials will win by default, in a bloodless end with no great drama. KM will quietly die, and SM will win the soul of Enterprise 2.0, with the Gen X leadership quietly slipping the best of the KM ideas into SM as they guide the bottom-up revolution.��


Link: Scrumy
Link: Most Important Coding Principles | Mind Tree

Coding principles helps you to maintain good coding practice along with concrete product development. Coding principles also helps you write excellent quality of code with huge difference to overall performance and scalability of your application. Following are the most important Coding Principles which can save a lot for you when you are writing quality application for you or your client. Ensuring these coding principles you can save development time, management time and conquer lots of other bottlenecks which generally arise in later development phases. You can also use the idea of PHP Design patterns which can speed up the development process by providing tested, proven development paradigms.

Link: CompuWorks: Computer Training, Help Desk, and Consulting Services in Boston and New England area

Staff your help desk, train your users, and develop new applications: CompuWorks can help. We are New England’s largest independent training company and a leader in help desk staffing, consulting and software development.

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