More Robust Browser-Side Networking

What happens to your web application when used over a flaky network connection? Does it swallow errors and stop responding? Does it bounce users immediately to the browser’s built-in “no connection” page? Does it give you a way to continue using the application when network connectivity is restored?

It used to be acceptable to simply say that a web application could only be used when there was a consistent, reliable network connection. They are web applications, after all. But it’s time to stop using that excuse. Read more on More Robust Browser-Side Networking…

The Many Uses of Pairing: Replacing Post-Work Review with Collaboration

One big thing that Extreme Programming got right is pair programming. Rather than waiting until work is complete to review code with another developer, the authors of XP figured that if having two pairs of eyes on code was important, why not do it continuously? Read more on The Many Uses of Pairing: Replacing Post-Work Review with Collaboration…

Book Review – Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change

I appreciate books that provide an easy-to-remember, visual framework for the key points. Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, Second Edition is one of those books. The framework is a six-quadrant grid meant to help identify ways to influence key behaviors in ourselves and others. Read more on Book Review – Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change…

Utilize Your Software Consultants to Frame Product Management Decisions

As software product consultants, we’re typically not in a position to take responsibility for significant product management decisions. However, we care a lot about the decisions that are made and want to know that our customers have the best information and context to make their decisions.

At every stage in a project, from sale to delivery, we can provide important information to help frame product management decisions. Below are a few things that a good software consultant brings to the table when product management work needs to get done. Read more on Utilize Your Software Consultants to Frame Product Management Decisions…

Smart Strategies for the End of a Project

We talk a lot about what we do before and during projects: how research, design, and planning (RDP) activities can shape a well-informed project plan, how we can manage a project’s scope to meet a budget, and how we can make delivery to production work for our clients. But what about when that’s all done? What’s important when a project is over? Below are a few tasks that should be considered as a project wraps up. Read more on Smart Strategies for the End of a Project…

7 Tips for a Joyful Return to a Software Project

We start a lot of new projects at Atomic, but we also spend a lot of time working with our clients to continue adding new features to software products that we built some time in the past. I recently returned to a project that I spent nearly two years building after eighteen months away from it, and I wanted to share a few things that can make jumping into a past project a joy. Read more on 7 Tips for a Joyful Return to a Software Project…

How Do We Know Our Software Works?

Yes, really. How do we know that software we build actually works? How can we know that it works? What observations and actions contribute to a holistic, fact-based, confident understanding that software I just helped build does what it was intended to?

I want you to feel a little anxiety about that question. Forget for a moment that you’re working with smart people who participate in practices that help bolster your confidence. Instead, dwell on the frightening reality that people are flawed and make mistakes on a regular basis. Human communication is always incomplete, good intentions don’t guarantee good results, and it can be genuinely hard to build a broadly-shared mental model about how a problem should be solved. How do we have any confidence that our software works?! Read more on How Do We Know Our Software Works?…

Technology: More than a Constraint for User-Centered Design

User-centered design that ignores the technical landscape is folly. The designs may tell compelling stories and cause stakeholders to pull out their checkbooks. They may make everyone feel like all those dot voting exercises were time well-spent. But without a healthy view of technology to ground them, they’re nothing but fever dreams drawn in the swirling brainstorm vapors still choking the air in your project room. Read more on Technology: More than a Constraint for User-Centered Design…

Avoiding Bias in our Job Interviews with Scripts & Personas

I hate the idea that we might miss hiring an awesome teammate at Atomic Object — especially if we lose the opportunity for a stupid reason like an unintentional bias in our interview process. Several of us recently read Thomas Ptacek’s post about fixing broken developer interviews, which has spurred our efforts to improve our ability to gather consistent, concrete, unbiased information about candidates throughout Atomic’s hiring process.

As a result, we’ve added two things to our toolbox that we believe are helping avoid harmful bias in our interview process: an interview script, and personas. Read more on Avoiding Bias in our Job Interviews with Scripts & Personas…