About markus

Consultant at Zühlke in Switzerland. HCI, Requirements, Agile and other software engineering, user centred innovation.

The team wall – or agile knowledge management

Here’s the situation: A customer asked us to improve the quality of their core system so that they again can act on the demands of their users and customers in a timely manner. We had a team room at our disposal and we again made extensive use of the walls. It turned out that the team wall made the difference!

Using the team wall has high impact on team performance.,

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Meet with user to create great products

Even though – as a UX professional – I must stress the importance of meeting users, I have to admit that the title of this article is not exactly accurate and just meeting users is not really the point. Having revealed this, I should probably explain what really matters when meeting users and give some indication on how to do it. This article covers two stars to road essentials: the UCD cycle and the UX levels.

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Bill & Chuck – and how they fight ideas into the market

Let me introduce two characters, Bill and Chuck. To be honest, they are personae distilled from people you could meet. They are especially interesting because of their behavior: Instead of collaborating to let ideas compete they fight to get their ideas into the market. And sadly, they have good reasons to do so.

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Five or one guidelines for the minimal viable product

In our current project, we use an approach of the minimal viable product and we steer it with the story mapping technique. From the discussions in our team, here are five guidelines (or just one?) for such an endeavor to ensure a better work-life-balance.

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User experience flow from stars to road

Companies, not surprisingly, want to make business. New products are not created just for fun but they should contribute to this overall plan. For that, a performing team combining a couple fields of expertise is an excellent asset. Each of these experts brings in their respective methodology. The article agile innovation from stars to road outlines a basic collaborative structure. This article is about the methodology from user experience.

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User story shopping – a sports event management system

The challenge awaits our project: How to deal with the many expectations from our customers that are far beyond the project budget? The answer in my current project – the sports event management system – is based on user story mapping. 

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What if there isn’t a product owner?

Scrum defines three roles: product owner, team, and scrum master. It is actually very simple. And for the team it’s great to have one person – the product owner – to deal with the really difficult stuff. That is the VVIP, the users and why the whole thing just will make money in the market.

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grok – negotiate – build up

In our current project, a software for managing sports events, user stories play an important role when it comes to development. Interestingly the focus of the requirements conversation changed completely from one level of maturity to the next. And there is a pattern behind it, as it seems. It leads to story mapping.

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What is a requirement? A probably agile answer

Requirements focus on value. This at least is the name of a category for this Blog. But what are requirements anyway? If you know the answer, fine. But for all those that are as confused as I am, this article gives the ultimate answer, or hopefully one as helpful as 42 was for Loonquawl and Phouchg.

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A case for features – a sports event management system

Currently, I’m involved in a project to develop an event management system for large sports events. The goal is to replace a few existing systems with one integrated system that is able to cater for the coming needs. End of elaboration is closing in and we’re planning for the incremental delivery to follow during construction. 

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Budgeting, estimation and release planning all turn around features (Part 2).

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User centred business analysis – a sports event management system

Currently, I’m involved in a project to develop an event management system for large sports events. The goal is to replace a few existing systems with one integrated system that is able to cater for the coming needs. The project will last for about five years. The project team will grow to approximately 20 persons. We apply an agile unified process.  

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Part 1: Understanding business is a success factor. We use methods from user centred design rather than from business modeling.

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“Planning poker? Not again!”

A few days ago, we had a discussion about Scrum and one person asked the question if it really isn’t possible to run effective estimation meetings with 16! persons involved. If you have an answer ready, wait. Once the problem becomes clearer, the solution is getting more interesting. It may rather be a question of maturity than of team size. 

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I’ve to look where there is light

In Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, there lived the popular character known as Dällebach Kari (died 1931). Even so his time is almost 80 years past, he is still remembered for many things, one of which was his pointed humor. Here is one anectode in the category practical philosophy:

One night two cops came across Dällebach Kari searching for something in the light of a street lamp. “Hey, Kari, what are you searching for”, they inquired. “I lost my chewing gum over there”, Dällebach Kari replied pointing towards a dark corner on the other side of a bridge. The two policemen were a bit lost and scratching their heads they wondered, “well, why are you searching here, then?”. “Because, obviously, I have to search where there is light”, was the reply.

So: can you spot the relevance to software projects?

Why Joey taped a picture of a cake to his wall

If you ever tried to propose an idea to somebody, you have certainly experienced a few personalities, like Joey has in this story. And after having met them Joey, for example, felt the urge to pin a picture of a cake in a sunset to his cubicle walls. For others, this is not sufficient and they have to create a lengthy comic strip. 

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