What a great start to Impact 2012! From Walter Isaacson (famed biographer) talking about how great individuals think differently to Jason McGee showing off the new IBM PureApplication System (great technology, by the way), Monday's keynote set a great tone for the day and the week. I hope to share the highlights of each day at Impact and offer up a mobile-specific view to some of the major themes and ideas that get presented in the keynotes and other sessions. Mobile is a major focus at the conference this year (for good reason) - and so I look forward to hearing and communicating back all the great stuff happening in this space.
Alan Douville (Global VP for IT, Whirpool) talked in the keynote that defining a great IT strategy means nothing if it's not executed successfully. And execution requires more than just the right software (even though software is obviously a critically important component). He was not specifically talking about mobile, but being able to execute a winning/successful mobile strategy can be even more difficult than a traditional IT strategy for a number of reasons:
- Mobile users expect a great experience. With so many apps out there today, unless your app is the only app that serves the need (or employees are forced to use it), consumers will try something else if your app doesn't deliver. Mobile apps are fast and easy to install - and just as easy to uninstall. Key to ensuring users will love your app is getting feedback early and often and incorporating this feedback into the design and development process. Getting feedback before the app is started saves time and effort down the road, so taking advantage of sketching tools and others ways for conveying and getting feedback on the UI and its flow are key to delivering an app that users want to use (versus one they dread).
- Mobile users expect new features (and fixes) to arrive continuously (not once every 18 months). This fact alone is changing how mobile app teams have to operate. Although Agile was not invented for mobile, Agile is an almost perfect software development methodology for mobile because it has teams continually reevaluating what's important and continually delivering and getting feedback from stakeholders. Instead of spending months up-front designing an app and then coding it, teams can break the development process into manageable chunks (iterations) and then decide which capabilities get delivered in that iteration at the start. This allows for new (and potentially important) requirements to be evaluated during the development process and added to the release without disrupting the people developing and testing the apps. Having the right development process in place and the tools to manage the process will help ensure you deliver the right set of capabilities quickly and continuously.
Warning: shameless plug for a session I am presenting later this week ... On Thursday, Albert Ho and I will be presenting a session titled "Accelerate Mobile Application Delivery by Taking Control of the Mobile Development Lifecycle". We will talk about the challenges of mobile app development/delivery and the tools and solutions from IBM for successfully managing the lifecycle.
If you're at Impact, look for me in the Solution Center or wandering aimlessly around looking for coffee.