Video of my talk at NDC Oslo 2015 on "Don't demo facts. Demo stories!"

The talk I gave at NDC Oslo 2015 on Don’t demo facts. Demo stories! is now available online.

Posted by Tudor Girba at 24 June 2015, 11:28 pm with tags innovation, presentation, storytelling, demo comment link

Slides for my talk at NDC Oslo 2015 on "Don't demo facts. Demo stories!"

The slides for my talk on Don’t demo facts. Demo stories! are now available on slideshare.net.

Posted by Tudor Girba at 21 June 2015, 8:28 pm with tags presentation comment link

Presentation matters

Let me tell you two stories.

Our children are born abroad. As foreigners, we had to get through extra formalities to obtain their first residence permits.

This process required us to first obtain the Romanian passport. With our first born, producing the Romanian passport was delayed for various reasons, and at some point the Swiss authorities sent us a warning letter. So, we went to the alien police and explained that we encountered delays in the process. They told us that we should provide them with some proof to confirm that indeed the Romanian formalities are so lengthy.

We went back to the consulate to proceed with the passport formalities. There, we were told that there were so many enquiries that we need to wait for 3 months just to be scheduled for the official photo shots. There was not much we could do about that, but at least we wanted a little piece of paper saying that it takes so long:

Me: "Could you please provide us with a piece of paper stating how long the formalities take?" Lady: "No, we cannot do that."
Me: "Why not?"
Lady: "Because we are not allowed to sign papers like that."

At this point, we were a bit stuck. Then I had an idea:

Me: "Ok. Then could you please write me a little reminder on a piece of paper with the date on which we are scheduled for the photo?"
Lady: "Oh, sure."
Me: "Now, just so that I do not forget, could you also say next to the date what the purpose is?"
Lady: "With pleasure."
Me: "And now, could you also put a stamp on it?"
Lady: "Stamp?"
Me: "Yes, I see that you have this stamp next to you. Could you just put it on the paper?"
Lady: "Hmm ... Ok."

And we got our official proof that we could send to the Swiss authorities. When I phrased the original request, it appeared unacceptable, although I still do not understand why. But, when I presented the same problem from a different angle and split it in little steps, it was perceived much differently.

You might say that this behavior can be found only in bureaucratic environments. Let me tell you the second story.

Last year, I passed by Gelateria di Berna, our favorite Bernese ice cream shop. I stopped by to get some takeaway.

As I was standing in line, I realized that I only have 10 CHF. The problem was they only have takeaway packages of 14 HCF and 18 CHF. Other than these, they serve regular portions to eat on the spot for 3 CHF and 5 CHF.

I got to the counter: Me: "Look, I only have 10 CHF, but I really would want to get some ice cream for takeaway. Would it be possible to fill only half of the 14 CHF box and I pay for it 10 CHF?"
Seller: "No! We only serve the standard packages. But, you can buy two small portions that you can eat here."
Me: "Hmm, but I cannot really transport these home."

Stuck again.

Me: "Then, could I buy just an empty box?"
Seller: "What do you mean?"
Me: "Just the empty box. I give you 2 CHF for it. I am sure it is not worth more than that." Seller: "Ok, I could do that."
Me: "Then could you put in there a 5 CHF portion and a 3 CHF portion?"
Seller: "Ok."

He did it, and I had my ice cream to take home. The objective problem did not change a bit. The only thing that changed was the presentation.

These are not trivial examples as they relate to the main business of the characters involved. These people were dedicated to what they were doing and they wanted to do the right thing. We can argue that the focus was wrong, but still, they were not guided by ill-will. And, these are not examples of stupidity either. These are examples documenting that the stories we tell ourselves have a critical influence on the way we perceive and act in the world.

Presentation matters. It’s up to us to see both the power and the responsibility that comes with it.

Posted by Tudor Girba at 16 June 2015, 11:16 pm with tags presentation comment link

Moose 5.1

We are happy to announce version 5.1 of the Moose Suite:
http://moosetechnology.org/#install

Description

This is a minor release. The key highlights are:

  • It is based on Pharo 4.0.
  • Roassal2 comes with several new builder, most notably the new Mondrian builder (RTMondrian) and the chart drawing engine (RTGrapher).
  • GTSpotter has preview abilities and was extended for multiple search use cases including the navigation through Moose models.
  • GTPlayground was extended with sharing possibilities and transparent backup.
  • GTExample now offers support for documenting classes with example instances.
  • Moose Finder and GTInspector come with more custom presentations.
  • PetitParser has seen performance corrections and has been extended with the ability to parse whitespace languages.

Installation

The Moose Suite 5.1 comes for each platform as a separate bundle:

The Moose Suite 5.1 can also be loaded in a Pharo 4.0 image either from the Configuration Browser, or by executing the following script:

Gofer new
smalltalkhubUser: 'Moose' project: 'Moose';
configuration;
loadStable

Enjoy,
The Moose team

Posted by Tudor Girba at 4 June 2015, 8:33 am with tags moose comment link

Talk at NDC Oslo 2015 on "Don't demo facts. Demo stories!"

This year, I will again have the pleasure of going at NDC Oslo 2015. This time I will talk about the demo-driven approach and the importance of storytelling in software engineering.

Here is the abstract of the talk:

Feedback is the central source of agile value. The most effective way to obtain feedback from stakeholders is a demo. That is what reviews are about. If a demo is the means to value, shouldn’t preparing the demo be a significant concern? Shouldn’t the preparation of demos not be left for the last minute? Should it not be part of the definition of done?

Good demos engage. But, there is more to a good demo. A good demo tells a story about the system. This means that you can tell the story. And it also means that the system is made to tell that story, too. Not a user story full of facts. A story that makes users want to use the system.

Many things go well when demos come out right. Your system looks different. Stakeholders are in sync. Marketing does not have to lie. And even sales can sell better.

This talk tells stories of successful demos and distills demo-driven lessons from both working in research and in industry. These lessons are meant to be used in every day projects.

Posted by Tudor Girba at 1 May 2015, 8:49 am with tags presentation, demo comment link
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