Podcasts I’ve listened to recently …

Here are some podcasts that I've listened to in the last week or so, and what I've learned:

  • Hanselminutes: Tom and Mary Poppendieck discuss Lean Software Development.  One topic discussed is "Using Success as a Metric", imploring us to consider that perhaps the metrics that we use to measure success (on time, on budget, in scope) may be inappropriate.  It's always a pleasure to listen to the dynamic duo of lean software development.  I learn something every time I listen to them (or revisit one of their books).  This episode really drives home the importance of determining if a product is a business success.  What good is it to have met cost, schedule and scope if quality and customer satisfaction aren't met?  And how do you determine which measures are important?  So her MEASURE UP chooses a single higher level measurement (e.g., business success, profitable Profit/Loss statement) and balances those against other lower level measurements.  My first exposure to Mary's simple measurement technique was at CodeMash '07 when she suggested that rather than asking a series of survey questions about talks, ask the simple question, "Would you recommend this talk to a colleague?".  Simple. Interesting.
  • Hanselminutes:  Determining the meaning of "done", with Ken Schwaber.  I was really interested in his discussion of what happens when schedules are tight and how software developers are encouraged to minimize tasks and cut corners, and change the meaning of "done" but leaving behind a lot of technical debt with things that still need to be accomplished but aren't in the definition of done.  And so we all feel stressed and incompetent.  Scott drew an interesting analogy to David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD), where if we could only get things into a list (backlog in scrum/agile), then we wouldn't feel so stressed about having to keep those things in our head or not recognizing them as contributing to "done".
  • .NET Rocks: Mark Miller on the Science of Good UI. Mark has a lot of good points about UI design.
  • .NET Rocks: Dan Appleman and Kathleen Dollard on Kids in Computing.  This is an interesting discussion by technologists who also happen to be parents, both about kids USING computers and their interest, or lack thereof, in programming them. 
  • Java Posse Newscast (Episode # 194): As always, the Posse point out interesting things going on in the development community.  Most notable from this week is the discussion of the Fan language, which targets both the Java VM and the .NET CLR.  Regardless of whether or not the language has traction, it's always interesting to "hear these guys think".  They frequently brainstorm on the podcast, and this discussion is a good example of how fun those discussions are, and why they continue to put so much time into this podcast.  Having spent time with them at the Java Posse Roundup, I can say that they really do just sit around and talk about stuff just as they do on the podcast.  I'm very glad to see that they keep the podcast "real" by being as genuine in their discussions on the "air" as they do when they're not recording.