One Month App

I was viewing Eric’s blog and came across the reference to the One Month App which was interesting project to determine if an application could be built in a month. They have used the Ruby on Rails framework and developed a nice looking cashflow application for small businesses.

Top marks for a clever marketing idea – both in getting some interest in the application, but more so, demonstrating that the guys at Clearfunction have got both a sense of style and an ability to churn out a great new application quickly. And no doubt they have plenty of click throughs to their site and their other products.

So, where are the other applications of this type of approach??  Could we see books written this way? Will we see commercial software sent to the global market for testing? Your comments are welcome, as well as useful links…..

People, process and technology – enter Enterprise 2.0

I’ve got to say I have an interesting concern – but a sense of delight at the possibilities – about the speed and capacity of change of Enterprise 2.0. Let me explain…

In the world of application development, there is a serious and mounting argument from the rapid development / iterative prototyping camp versus the waterfall (requirements, design, build, test, deploy, support) purists. When it comes to applications that affect corporations – that is, across the enterprise – I am a firm believer in the latter.

Iterative development is great when there are only a few people involved – or a small point solution that only affects a few people. When you start getting more people involved, the challenges go up.

The challenges include:

  • People – commitment to using a new process and a new underpinning system – and a common way of doing so
  • Process – is the process we are using common to all? Do we all do our own thing?)
  • Technology – solid analysis of the problems and a clear view of how to resolve them with technology

Now with Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0, the beauty is that these applications are breaking new ground in making the process neatly tied up in the applications and making it really simple for people to follow the process without having to think too much about it – or having to refer to training manuals or help guides. However, the ease of picking one up, configuring them differently according to different needs – but at the same time missing the opportunity to apply them consistently is the challenge.

The takeaway points to consider:

  • If you are going to go for a Web 2.0 application, do document your processes and make sure people apply it consistently within the organisation
  • Software developers can learn from the myriad of Web 2.0 projects smart ways of developing inviting interfaces and very simple and fast sign up and use approaches
  • The next raft of successful enterprise scale applications from the Web 2.0 environment will make a dent on traditional software only when sold, implemented and supported like enterprise software

All comments welcome!

Is Web 2.0 creating innovation – or is it happening because of it?


Isn’t it an exciting time to be alive? There has never been such a volume of innovation – or information for that matter. And by the time you finish reading this post, there will be plenty of others you can also dig into.

Right now we are seeing innovation in so many areas – biotech, renewables, medicine, engineering. Technology underpins the capacity to innovate – and Web 2.0 is also a seething hotbed of new ideas with a new commercial bent. But is Web 2.0 the source of innovation, or is it happening because of the innovation around us?

Well, both are true – but the demand for technology tools to help us collaborate continues to grow.

Portal Smortal – Sharepoint, Websphere, Oracle – what are we trying to achieve here?

When someone suggests they want a portal the very first question to ask is, “what does a portal mean to you”.

Portal, like CRM – and many other terms in IT – tend to be all encompassing words designed to solve a complex raft of problems.

“We can’t get to our information easily” “I spent ages trying to find a document that I know is here somewhere and gave up” “We have heaps of copies of the same document” “I want a dashboard or traffic light to let me know when problems have emerged so I can immediate action” “I am sick of signing in to lots of different systems”

There is actually a fair bit of complexity in this – but the answer seems to be Portal (or intranet / new enterprise content management system – take your pick).

Same with CRM:

“I can’t get a single view of our customers” “..no one understands who is doing what with whom” “I was trying to cross sell and they already told us they can’t buy it” “The client told me that they were already dealing with another of our divisions and our company should already have a heap of information on them already”

Again, complex issues – people, process and technology at play again.

So what do we do? Start with the business problems to be solved, then resolve the process issues – and then the technology solution becomes much more simple – and effective.

People, process, technology – still the 3 keys to successful application development projects

If you have found yourself in a situation where the process seems to change, accountabilities are uncertain and deadlines are missing, then perhaps you have a people, process and technology problem. Getting all 3 aligned is absolutely essential to ensuring a change process will work.

And they have to be resolved in that order.

1. People – what are the key issues: who owns the process, who is involved, what are their roles, are they committed to improving it and working together and importantly are they prepared to do the work to fix the problem

2. Process – a process can be defined as starting with a trigger event that creates a chain of actions that results in something being prepared for a customer of that process. Starting at high level and identifying the key big steps is important to see the process from end to end. Then moving into more detail to capture the various layers involved and various exceptions. Focussing on the high frequency (Pareto principle) transactions can have significant benefit to standardising the process. But also remember that it can be the non-standard transactions where service is slipping most or the potential for significant failure in the process may exist.

3. Technology – Now that people are aligned, and the process developed and clarified, technology can be applied to ensure consistently in application of the process and to provide the thin guiding rails to keep the process on track – to make it easier to follow the process than not do so.

Of course there is much more to getting a technology project right – but get the above 3 sorted out and you will be a long way down the path to project success.

Got any experiences or tips you’d like to share? I am keen to hear from you, so please add a comment….