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New Member Introduction - Jim Jarrett, Usability Manager, Rockwell Automation

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  • james.jarrett
    Hi folks! I just joined the group, so I ll introduce myself a bit. I m the Usability Manager for Rockwell Automation. I have a small central group of
    Message 1 of 176 , Oct 19, 2007
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      Hi folks! I just joined the group, so I'll introduce myself a bit.

      I'm the Usability Manager for Rockwell Automation. I have a small
      central group of specialists that guide and support our many
      development teams in user-centered design and usability.

      We're a $4+billion company that does hardware, software, networks,
      etc for industrial automation. Most factories in North America, and
      a significant portion elsewhere, use at least some of our stuff.

      We have about 400 software developers (+ 300 folks in other roles
      focused on software) working on a variety of software products
      (programming tools, configuration tools, GUI builders for HMI, data
      visualization, workflow management, production management, decision
      support, etc).

      Recently, we have been piloting some projects in agile methods,
      particularly SCRUM, and I have the challenge of building our UCD
      capabilities across all of our projects, both staged and iterative.
      The agile methods are gaining a lot of interest and mindshare, and
      I'm interested in understanding how UCD best fits in those
      projects. I don't want agile to lead us to building yet more "tools
      built by engineers for engineers" that have poor usability and end-
      user productivity.

      I look forward to participating in this conversation.
    • Scott Preece
      Hi, I think it s more about not squashing joy than about encouraging it. Most of us take a lot of pleasure in doing this software thing, and many look for
      Message 176 of 176 , Dec 1, 2007
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        Hi,

        I think it's more about not squashing joy than about encouraging it. Most of us take a lot of pleasure in doing this software thing, and many look for jobs that let them extend that pleasure by advancing efforts that interest them in one way or another. I suspect there may be some really effective leaders who can actually build an additional sense of joy around project accomplishments in their teams, but I think that's stretching it and that much of the potential for joy of work is personal and internal. It's more about enabling and not disabling joy than about creating it.

        Organizations, managers, process designers, and everyone else involved have infinite opportunities to make life miserable, so not killing joy is clearly a good thing to encourage. I'm just not sure how to state this in the form of the Manifesto's values statements. We value Joy over what? Most of the obvious choices, like regimentation, professionalism, achievement, speed, order, are either things that organizations would stoutly deny encouraging (like regimentation) or are things aren't inherently anti-joy (like professionalism). Does any organization consciously promote misery in its staff?

        Maybe it's best to assume that valuing joy is part of valuing people?

        regards,
        scott


        ----- Original Message ----

        From: Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>

        To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com

        Sent: Saturday, December 1, 2007 4:31:23 AM

        Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Joy in work [was: interminable]



        Hello, Brian. On Sunday, November 11, 2007, at 2:34:38 PM, you

        wrote:



        > In fact, I'd go further. I claim that an error of the original

        > manifesto was that it left some values out that, as it happens,

        > should have been explicit. One of those is that work should be

        > joyful. Back in the first half of this decade, people on teams used

        > to tell me, "This is the best project I've ever worked on!" I'm

        > unhappy that what I hear today is more "my job doesn't suck as much

        > as it used to". We've let joy in work slip away in our effort to

        > appeal to more people.



        This is a tough one, for sure. I have guided my work life in large

        part from a joy focus, or at least by noticing, sometimes later than

        I should, that joy was absent, and moving to a place in the currents

        where more joy comes floating by. I would hope that everyone can

        find joy in what they do, though it seems to me that many never do.



        Despite the truth of the notion, it seems unlikely to "sell" to

        business people. This means that it will be "good business" for

        Agilist business people to downplay this and other humanistic

        values, so as to appeal to "hard-nosed" business people.



        I think that what might work in that regard is to find, describe,

        ultimately "prove" that working in ways that give more joy also

        gives better business results. This means that the "ways" in

        question have to be things to do that are not so much like "follow

        your bliss" and a lot like "make sure your people take the time to

        write unit tests because your product will reach an acceptable level

        of quality faster." This would need to be true, of course, and in

        fact I think it is. Then it needs to turn out that having and taking

        the time to write the tests provides an increment of joy to the

        programmers, which certainly can be the case.



        In any case ... it just seems darned hard to address these things,

        and it really could get in the way of at least some people's

        business focus on selling Agile. I'm very interested and not very

        certain what ought to be done.



        Lead us ...



        Ron Jeffries

        www.XProgramming. com

        I know we always like to say it'll be easier to do it now than it

        will be to do it later. Not likely. I plan to be smarter later than

        I am now, so I think it'll be just as easy later, maybe even easier.

        Why pay now when we can pay later?







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