It is notoriously difficult to estimate how long something will take to do. Take, for example, travel. A car journey to London from Brighton should be easy to estimate based on the distance divided by a reasonable average speed. But what is a reasonable average speed? Traffic should also be considered if the estimate is to be accurate and, for the same reason, roadworks. There are other considerations that would affect the estimate but what is obvious from this small set is that it is not possible to guarantee an estimate’s accuracy at this stage. If we take the example further, and look at how such an estimate would change over the duration of the journey, we can see that the only time the estimate can be guaranteed as 100% accurate is once the journey is complete – when the estimate is an actual. The situation is no different in software development and the accuracy of the estimation of software tasks also increases over time. This change in accuracy over time often referred to as the ‘Cone of Uncertainty’. Continue readingThe Cone of Uncertainty shows how an estimate will start with a high degree of uncertainty – either over-estimated or under-estimated – which then improves over time as more is known about the task(s). The diagram shows several common stages within a project and shows how accuracy will be increased as the project progresses. If, therefore, it is not possible to guarantee the accuracy of an estimate, then another approach is required.
Online publishing is an evolving industry, and an important aspect of that evolution is the ability of the supplier community to innovate. This means not only technology innovation but innovation in process and business models; the ability to offer publishers greater efficiencies in the publishing process and more choice. To date, publishers have had a rather limited choice when it comes to placing their content online. It was either a case of using an aggregated portal, which meant sacrificing control over functionality and user experience, or bespoke development, which would give you that control, but at the cost, usually, of a substantial investment in time and budget, and the risk that you might get it wrong. Software design is not a simple thing. Now the choice has widened. ’Rapid‘ processes and methodologies offer a new set of options. Continue reading
The practice of using IP addresses to identify institutional users is commonplace in most sectors of the online publishing marketplace, as it allows users to seamlessly access resources without needing to go through an explicit log-in process. But this practice has serious pitfalls which lead to significant customer service costs for publishers, and frustration for institutional customers. The increasing realisation by publishers that their users need community and social networking features in publishing platforms, but at the same time have little or no tolerance for additional sign-on procedures, leads to terminal pressure on this once tried and trusted method of authentication for institutional users. Continue reading
Here’s a quick visualisation of the publishing market landscape (click on the thumbnail for a larger image), focusing on the relationships between the different communities in this space. I originally created a much simpler version of this graphic for my keynote presentation at our recent S3UG 2009 user group meeting, but it stuck in my mind because I wasn’t happy with the way I had represented the relationships between the different communities on the original diagram. So I had another play with the graphic in Omnigraffle and I came up with this version which I’m much more pleased with. I’ve also included a PDF file of the publishing-micro-environment.