We all need a change

I’ve made a career change! I have been a consumer of “enabling technology” my entire career. I am now stepping behind that line as I want to be able to influence and shape the technology that enables designers and developers to deliver the best imaginable experience.

I have joined the product management team for Flash runtimes at Adobe, which allows me maintain my focus on the best imaginable, and uncompromising, experience for the user. Flash has enabled this mission more than any other technology on the web and has allowed me to build some tremendous experiences. When user experience was considered a unique differentiator, the Flash/Flex partnership was there to enable.

The landscape has evolved. Thankfully user experience is no longer a differentiator, it’s an essential. To succeed we must put the user first.

The tech community has responded admirably and the expressiveness associated with Flash is moving in to the open-standards that are being defined by HTML5, which will enable a new wave of uncompromising experiences across the web. Adobe gave meaning to expressiveness and continues to innovate through contributes to HTML5 standards, such as CSS regions and CSS shaders. I am sure there is even more goodness to come as we will undoubtedly see more innovation through ongoing contributions to standards and our active participation in open-source projects such as Webkit.

So what’s next for Flash? As outlined in the recent roadmap for Flash runtimes we will be focusing on gaming and premium video. This week Adobe launched a new site specifically around gaming. There are already some tremendous games that showcase the unique capabilities of Flash, which are built on Stage3D to leverage the hardware acceleration afforded by the GPU. The AIR 3.2 release candidate brings the power of Stage3D to mobile in conjunction with the Flash Player 11.2 release candidate. Already some of the top games on the Apple App Store, such as Machinarium, have been brought to you by Flash and Adobe AIR. The Flash runtimes are alive and kicking on iOS!

I also care a lot about the experience of the designer and developer and making our technology accessible. I want to make the experience of using our technology a good one. I want to make it easy to design-develop-deliver incredible experiences.

Your thoughts are welcome.

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Speak to your users in 3D

I care a lot about Software Craftsmanship.

I care a lot about User Experience.

I care a lot about designer-developer workflow.

I care a lot about continuous deployment (although I will opt for continuous delivery).

I care a lot about the lean startup movement (if you haven’t already done so buy, and read, Eric Reis’s book The Lean Startup).

I am firm believer in innovate or die and the need to conduct validated learning, and as such you should become intimately familiar with the build-measure-learn feedback loop.

I have spent a lot of time recently absorbing the technology landscape, whether that be HTML5, Flash, PaaS (Heroku, Windows Azure, …), BIG DATA, real-time, blah, blah, blah…

More than ever I feel technology doesn’t really matter. It’s an enabler. The difference between the choices that we have are closer than ever. Make the right choice for the job at hand. Practice Software Craftsmanship and you will have the confidence to adapt.

Software Craftsmanship in isolation is not enough. User Experience in isolation is not enough. Build-measure-learn on its own is not enough.

It’s a question of how we bring these methodologies and practices together and how an organisation molds itself around them. They need to be absorbed in to the corporate DNA and used to weave the fabric of innovation.

Going forward I feel our innovation mantra should be Design-Develop-Deliver. Like the build-measure-learn feedback loop advocates we need to rapidly move around this loop.

We need to shift our horizons to fully encompass the user. We start with the user and we end with the user. In his book Eric provides an anecdote about a feature not being complete until it has been validated by the users. I love this. It’s seems obvious and a subtle shift from the product owner or QA saying a feature is done, but its a big leap in terms of mindset. Imagine having the confidence to remove a feature (and deleting all the code) if users don’t actually get value from the feature? The focus this would bring to an organization would be immense.

We can destroy the traditional mindset and reject the dogma that software follows a fixed release cycle (regardless of how short it is). When the feature has been coded, give it to the user, it not done until the user says it is done.

I believe the Design-Develop-Deliver philosophy will allow us to innovate faster and deliver experiences that users want. It also creates opportunity for tech companies to enable this workflow. I would love to have a seamless set of tools and services that enable me to design-develop-deliver, this is far more powerful than getting caught up in the underlying technology debates and teams practicing their principles in isolation. We need to blend it all together.

Speak to your users in 3D.