J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

September, 2009

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Security Mental Model for Azure


    We’ve been exploring Azure on the patterns & practices team for potential security guidance.   To get our heads around it, we’ve had to create a simple view for our team that we could quickly whiteboard or drill into.  We wanted a way to easily compare with our previous security guidance.  Here’s what we ended up with …

    Today’s application security mental model …


    Compare that to our evolving security mental model for Azure …


    The key thing to note is that on Azure you have a managed infrastructure, but you still have to address application security issues, as you would in today’s on-premise scenario.  There are obviously more details to the story, but I’ll elaborate on those another day.  For now, the key is to simply notice how you can carry forward your application security skills to the cloud as a new deployment channel.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Experience-Driven Development


    Features don’t necessarily aggregate up to “experiences” and I would argue that today’s winning approach is …

    … Experience-Driven Development

    … Where experience means user’s can perform their goals successfully… the software makes them feel good and succeed at their goals.  It’s an integration of scenarios + experiences … and persona-based scenarios with goals.

    This shifts the focus to lighting up experiences over just shipping features or scenarios.  It also means a focus on “Experience Step-Throughs” to model and prioritize what you ship.  It seems like today’s software success is about shipping the vital few experiences that make an impact.  I know it seems like a subtle shift, but I still come across too many glitches that get in the way of great software … … I think we need “experience-first” … or more “experience-driven.”

    Experiences are the differentiator ... you can have scenario parity or feature parity, yet miss the boat on experience.  It's beyond user stories and scenarios with acceptance tests (though that's a good start.)  It's about measuring efficiency and effectiveness of the user experience.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    The Power of Patterns and Practices


    I wrote a post, The Power of Patterns and Practices, on Sources of Insight to summarize some of the benefits of using patterns and practices as a way to organize and share knowledge.  For simplicity, I think of patterns as a way to share problem and solution pairs in context.  I think of practices as a way to share methods or techniques.   When you combine them, you effectively have an efficient way to share strategies and approaches for success in a given domain. 

    While sharing patterns and practices has been effective in software, I think other industries can gain from finding ways to more effectively share patterns and practices.   Christopher Alexander, father of the pattern language movement, set a great example by creating a catalog of patterns for towns, buildings, and construction in the architecture space.  Along those lines, Michael Michalko, a former Disney imagineer, put together an amazing catalog of patterns and practices for creative thinking, in his book, THINKERTOYS.  The meta-point is that when you frame and name things, you simplify sharing knowledge in a meaningful and scalable way.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Sources of Insight is One Year Old


    It was a year ago today that I wrote my first post on Sources of Insight, where I focus on patterns and practices for effectiveness and skilled living.   I wrote up my learnings and highlights in my post, Sources of Insight is One Year Old.  My goal with Sources of Insight is to scale myself and to share my lessons learned in effectiveness more broadly.  The key theme on Sources of Insight is, “stand on the shoulders of giants!” and I draw from books, people, and quotes , as well as my own experience leading projects, building teams, and writing prescriptive guidance at Microsoft. 

    I’m a big believer in skills as a way to level the playing field and give everybody a chance at their best life.  Sources of Insight is my main clearing house for insight and action for work and life.  This way, I can focus my MSDN blog more on my adventures at Microsoft, including my project information, and technical insights.  I mentor a lot of people at work, so Sources of Insight is also a way for me to consolidate and share knowledge, while turning it into reusable nuggets.  I like to think of it as gems of insight, a post at a time.

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