Mobile Web vs. Mobile Applications

It’s not a thoroughbred case study, but:

...users are able to browse useful, noteworthy, and most importantly, user-rated applications. The fact is there’s no equivalent for well-designed mobile web sites, no matter how Safari-optimized they are.

Good point. Good article.

via Idlemode

Phillip Calcado on pitfalls of velocity for Agile project management

If the Business Analyst or Project Manager gives Velocity more attention than it should be given, if he or she is more worried in counting points than listening to the team, if anything that would impact in Velocity is a taboo… then a project has a huge problem. In this scenario it gets clear that his or her goal is not to deliver quality software in a timely manner, it’s just to deliver anything that sort of works.

Full Article

Test-Driven Progressive Enhancement, for mobile?

A List Apart published a great article covering Test Driven Progressive Enhancement. Looks like a good practice, but seems… difficult, for mobile. Over here, we use a few different techniques to (try) overcome broad device support issues.

We know that: generally, mobile devices don’t support Flash; and Javascript support is patchy at best (although this is changing fast).

Box modeling isn't as much a problem, but there’s certainly inconsistencies with other browser standards, like link/active/hover state for href which is idiosyncratic, even for browser whose behaviour should be predictable.

So what do we do? Old-school targeted CSS policies based on user agent detection. Sound labourious? It is. Volantis helps, but brings it’s own problems to the party.

Then there’s mobile specific functional capability. I’m talking about things like vCard support and telephony (WTAI, tel). For those, we rely on design solutions that cater for heavy degradation while still offering a good experience on capable devices. This relies first on the designer’s intimacy with each device's capability and idiosyncracies. Secondly, we rely on some customised control systems (based on databases that hold ‘flags’ against user agent types from field testing) embedded in the mobile application infrastructure. It’s tedious work, and requires high maintenance.

Agile techniques in the wild

Scott Ambler gave this excellent presentation as part of Agile 2008 Conference last week, debunking a variety of assumptions, myths and a misconceptions surrounding Agile. Most discussion is based on field data gleaned from a large-sample survey distributed among the agile community intended to find out what is actually happening in the industry, not what should be happening (in an ideal agile environment). I found this interesting because generally, Agile is discussed in context to the latter, which I think causes some people to focus too much on being Agile while loosing sight of it's original intention - producing better products in more efficient ways.

Scott does a good job of analysing the various responses from different areas (management, development, project managers, design) and discussing what may cause some of the much-discussed tension between these groups.

By the end it's clear - common sense prevails, and 'successful' agile teams adopt the most appropriate techniques that help them deliver better products within the constraints of their environment. These are not necessarily the same techniques that Agile evangelists preach from scrum-master pedestals.