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1004RE: [agile-usability] Re: Craftmanship doesn't scale... hence usa bility?

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  • Desilets, Alain
    Jan 27, 2005
      I reviewed a workshop proposal for XP Agile 2004 (I forget who it was from)
      which was describing a process whereby at the end of each iteration, the
      whole team "celebrates" by spending half a day playing around with the
      system and eating their own dog food. That struck me as a really good way to
      put developpers in the shoes of users so that they can take better design
      decisions. Something like this might just turn developpers into craftmans.

      Unfortunately, the proposal for the workshop was turned down (I gave it
      thumbs up myself). I would have liked to attend it.

      Alain Désilets, MASc
      Agent de recherches/Research Officer
      Institut de technologie de l'information du CNRC /
      NRC Institute for Information Technology

      Tél/Tel (613) 990-2813
      Facsimile/télécopieur: (613) 952-7151

      Conseil national de recherches Canada, M50, 1200 chemin Montréal,
      Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0R6
      National Research Council Canada, M50, 1200 Montreal Rd., Ottawa, ON
      K1A 0R6

      Gouvernement du Canada | Government of Canada

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jeff Patton [mailto:jpatton@...]
      Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2005 10:47 AM
      To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [agile-usability] Re: Craftmanship doesn't scale... hence

      --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "jeff_grover"
      <jeff.grover@a...> wrote:
      > business problems. Since then, I've experienced varying degrees of
      > "agility/formality" and "usability/lack thereof"... but none
      > to interacting daily and one-on-one with the people for whom you are
      > building the software.

      I read the article ref you attached /finally/ and like it alot.

      Thinking about it, I think a problem with software design is in fact
      the /absence/ of craftsmanship.

      If I imagine the way a craftsman designs something I'd imagine him
      working closely with the person using the thing, asking them lots of
      questions about what they do, building versions of the thing, and
      watching them use it. I suspect lots of craftsman actually use the
      things they build. [Those west coast chopper guys love to ride
      motorcycles - but I know few software developers who love to play
      with medical billing systems.] Craftsmen have intimate knowledge of
      the people who will use their product.

      That's what UCD and usability people strive for. The absence of that
      intimate knowlede of who's using your product, why and how is, in my
      mind, the craftsmanship that's absent today in much of the software I

      I believe craftsmanship does scale - if we try. I believe many
      organizations and individual developers have given up trying. It
      frustrates me to hear developers ask "what are the requirements?"
      instead of "what's the person using this software hope to
      accomplish?" The first question is one asked by someone who doesn't
      care to know their user. The second question is the one a craftsman
      would ask.

      Thanks for posting Jeff!


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