Monthly Archives: March 2014

Don’t Automate Half-Way

I watched in horror as the updated application was deployed to the test server. The application was fine, having been subjected to the first test by the developers, but the deployment process was bad. There were various home-built utilities to run with very specific parameters in order to build the deployment package that would then be semi-automatically installed on the test server. It took a new developer a whole day and 20-30 attempts to build a simple deployment package.

You reap the full benefits of automation – what I call “automation nirvana” – only when you automate all the way.

The Automation PlateauThere is more on automation in tomorrow’s issue of my weekly Technology That Fits newsletter. Sign up here.


Come back when we’re open

I subscribe to Microsoft Office 365 and had a payment stuck on an expired credit card. Even though there was a new card, the billing system kept trying the old one.

In a modern cloud service, I would open a service request and expect things to be handled for me. But this is Microsoft. And with the arrogance of the monopolist they used to be, they require you to please show up when they feel like serving you.

Your users expect to be able to submit a service request 24×7 – not to have to wait until standard business hours Monday to Friday.

Good User Experience at Low Cost

The business wants IT to deliver a good user experience at low cost. Many people in IT considers these two goals to be conflicting, but they are not. The secret to good user experience at low cost is to use existing best practice, codified in User Experience Design Patterns.
UX patternsSo where do you get these magic, cost-saving design patterns? A good starting point is the very comprehensive library of UX design patterns that Oracle is making freely available.

There is more on this topic in tomorrow’s issue of my weekly Technology That Fits newsletter. Sign up here.

The Future of User Experience

I’m off to the Netherlands for the first and finest Oracle User Experience Event in Europe, arranged by Oracle Platinum Partner AMIS Services BV at their offices in Nieuwegein.

AMIS and Oracle are pulling out all the stops – Oracle is flying in their top UX talent to speak, AMIS has lined up some of their experienced consultants, and they’ve even invited a few outside experts (like me).

I’ll be co-presenting with Killian Evers on Boosting Business Productivity Through Tailoring and with VP Jeremy Ashley on Reconsidering applications: 10:90:90. I’m also giving the presentation UX today with ADF twice.

If you’re within a few countries of the Netherlands, you need to be in Nieuwegein tomorrow. More info here:

The Cost of Coding

When implementing a standard system, too many organizations allow the programmers to reach for the programming toolbox right away. It might initially seem faster than using the customization features of the application, but over time, the cost of custom coding just keeps adding up.

The Cost of ExtensionsThe most crucial decision when implementing a standard system is how much custom coding you allow. Do not underestimate the cost of coding.

The graphs comes from my weekly “Technology That Fits” newsletter. In this week’s issue, I discuss customization vs. coding. Sign up here and send me an e-mail if you are interested in this or other back issues.


How many stars do you need?

The latest Michelin Guide is out, and Copenhagen added another two stars for a total of 15 of the coveted Michelin Stars across 13 restaurants.

In order to reach the exceptional level of a Michelin-starred restaurant, you need to have an absolute world-class chef. And he (almost invariably a “he”) needs a good team around him.

However, most development team does not need temperamental world-class artists. For independent software vendors, who can sell thousands of extra copies of exceptionally good software, might make sense to enter the fight for highly-paid top-level talent. But most organizations are building in-house software that needs to be functional and user-friendly, but not necessarily compete with Facebook and Amazon.

You need a team of competent craftsmen and the ability to call of top-level talent when you need it – to review architecture, mentor your team and solve difficult problems. But you don’t need to hire your own stars.


There are 115,814 in line ahead of you…

It’s the time of the year when the Danish Tax authorities release the annual tax statement, and all 5 million Danes want to see if they have to pay extra or will get a refund.

This used to be a day of crashes, downtime and unavailable systems, followed by ritual gnashing of teeth by politicians and the press. Today, the system simply places people in an orderly queue – I’m number 115,815 and my expected waiting time is 1 hour 29 minutes.

Skat queue-itThat’s proper use of technology. No matter what the load you are experiencing on your servers, there is no excuse for your site simply being down. Are you prepared?


Defective Reasoning

Again and again, I’ve seen significant decisions made based on defective reasoning. One of the most common errors is the fallacy of the converse – the belief that if A leads to B, and B happened, then A must have happened.

Defective ReasoningThis fails to take account of all the other things that might have caused B. But many people don’t see this because these other explanations are beyond their cognitive horizon.

I’ll talk more about this in tomorrows’ issue of my weekly Technology That Fits newsletter – sign up here.

User Experience Event in the Netherlands

Together with other leading experts on User Experience from Oracle like Vice President Jeremy Ashley, Managing Partner Lonneke Dikmans from Vennster and CTO Lucas Jellema from AMIS, I’ll be speaking at the OAUX Expo in the Netherlands on March 18th.

I’m speaking on two topics:

  • How to tailor an application to your user’s needs without coding
  • How to implement a good User Experience in Oracle ADF for the cases where you do need to write code

If you’re within a couple of countries from the Netherlands, I encourage you to sign up for this event to hear the latest on modern User Experience.