Gary Allison's Leadership Blog

October 2009

Tech News22 Oct 2009 04:32 am

Today is the big day all MSFT shareholders have been waiting for – Windows 7 is released.  I’m imagining the lines out the door of Best Buy for people waiting to but the new OS…

So, I have been truly awaiting this release.  You might have picked up along the way that I’m not exactly a huge Windows fan through these posts, but I really have been looking forward to this.  You see, like it or not, most of us are compelled to use Windows (see recent posts on why this is changing).  So, I have been looking forward to Windows 7.  Vista was such an overwhelming DISASTER, I really do want Microsoft to do better.

Here’s an informative post though that has me shaking my head.  It seems that installing Windows 7 on XP is not possible.  You can upgrade from Vista, (and it deletes the built in productivity apps), but you can’t upgrade from XP.  Since almost everyone is still on XP, including people like myself who was running VIsta and asked our IT group to upgrade me back to XP, this is a huge problem.

I can understand why Microsoft chose to do this – just think of how this simplified the testing effort – but come on!  More research is needed to see if this is completely factual, but I am blown away by the audacity that “people will just by new computers with Windows 7 preinstalled”.   Well guys, I have news for you – this is yet another misstep in your understanding of the market.  Instead of creating the normal tidal wave of hardware upgrades that accompanies a windows release, you’ve just pissed off the majority of people that have ever used your product.

No wonder Apple stock is over $200 a share.

P.S. Here’s another article from the Houston Chronicle.  SERIOUSLY!  Who is going to do this?  I’m blown away by this stupidity.

Agile Software and Effective Software Projects and Everyday Tech and Teams and Tech News17 Oct 2009 06:04 am

Oh, how I love this post by Joel on The Duct Tape Programmer!  This is such a salient point that applies to so much more than the context here.  “You see, everybody else is too afraid of looking stupid because they just can’t keep enough facts in their head at once to make multiple inheritance, or templates, or COM, or multithreading, or any of that stuff work.”

I just ordered my copy of  Coders At Work.

On a total Tangent, I just completed the transfer of my domain name off of Network Solutions to Dreamhost.  Dreamhost is awesome and dirt cheap.  They have one -click installs of just about everything you’d ever want to run on your website and their registrations are almost free they are so inexpensive.  I’ve been hosting with them for over a year and have had zero issues (other than imap email, but that’s another story).  I 100% recommend Dreamhost.

Agile Software and Effective Software Projects and Leadership and Teams17 Oct 2009 05:52 am

Lots of discussion lately about measuring productivity has had me spending time I should be sleeping thinking about the same.  I love accountants and finance folks.  I find them very bright and love the way they typically approach any business discussion from the point of logic, but they can be an intractable lot as well.  They’d love to measure software engineering efforts like a consultancy – hours in, output out, utilization metrics pop right out the other side of the equation.  More utilization of the team means more productivity!  Wonderful!  Its so simple and we should have figured this out so long ago.  All that time wasted counting KLOCS and function points….

Of course it doesn’t really work. You can count hours, or days, or whatever to your hearts content but you are only measuring effort.  And, measuring effort of a software development group is an exceptionally tricky (and potentially dangerous) thing.  Its not the effort that matters, but rather the results.  So how do we measure the results?  Ahhh there’s the rub.

What we need to measure is the business value of the stories the team is being asked to build.  For the consultant this is very simple – you are paid by the hour for the consulting performed.  Thus, hours billed X hourly rate = business value.  The business value of a software going into a product is not so easily measured.  But, lets assume this is a solvable problem.  It gets even more interesting in the planning phase when you are making product choices.  For a proposed feature, what is the busniess value?  Now suddenly, this is not a software engineering question at all.