A Product Blog update

A couple of months have passed since I put my product blog online, thought I’d give a status update. The blog is getting a steady number of visits (not thousands but for this little blog seeing consistant triple digit visits on a daily basis is great.  And the self promotion on the blog is attracting Industry professionals to contact me via the blog’s ABOUT page.

I’m pleased that the blog is getting steady traffic and thanks all who have helped socialize the site.

Next step? Job Offers. https://lnkd.in/d7nwNia

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What’s wrong with a static html website, anyway?

Welcome to SteveApple.com

buzzhead-small

Long before the DOT-COMs, Steve was online at 300 baud, using local BBSes, dialing up to networks like CompuServe, Prodigy and The Source. Even beta testing Viewtron & SEFLIN (The Southeast Florida Library Information Network). When a buddy wrote a bbs and asked for Steve’s opinion, the constructive criticism didn’t sit well. Eventually the buddy said to Steve, “if you think you can do better why don’t you write your own bbs.” so Steve sat down and wrote a BBS (YBBS), and even sold a few copies.

vintage-internet-bbs-compuserve-welcome-screen

Fast forward, past ARPANET, to the internet evolution. Like overnight, everyone became the master of their own domain. SteveApple.com was launched and so began The Buzz In Steve’s Head. A few years later, the “buzz head” is buzzing on Steve’s WordPress CMS.

Lets see what happens next in the digital evolution.  Compuserve, AOL, MySpace, etc., etc.  All were giants at one time or another but none sucked so in so much personal content as Facebook.  It will be quite a scramble when Facebook fades away.  Make sure you have a backup copy of all those photos and stories you upload.

The internet is constantly in flux, see you at the next hot digital ‘thing.’

I make business dreams a digital reality

The other day I was asked to describe my job without going deep into specifics. So I thought for a few seconds and responded, “I make business dreams a digital reality.

Dreams-to-digital-reality

And then went on to give a bit more of a description, which means I capture client requirements, pain points and wish lists, add a business value and convert them into user stories with acceptance criteria. I work with the client to prioritize these stories and developers write software that meets the criteria. It’s called agile software development, in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It has been working really well on the last several projects.

Steve’s Resume

SUMMARY VIEW of Resume

Expertise in:

  • Agile Methodology
  • Drupal
  • Requirements
  • WordPress
  • User Stories
  • Excel
  • Photoshop
  • HTML

Business Analyst
Worked with digital business leaders, collecting and documenting all business requirements, translating into user stories. Managed backlog of user stories. Developed training materials and produced videos spotlighting updates.

Publishing System Analyst
Gathered requirements and documented product functionality.

Web Analytics Product Manager
Served as integral part of Hulu Launch Team. Captured requirements and selected vendor for report analytics.

Product Services Analyst
Customized client video players using HTML & Photoshop. Wrote editorial headlines and selected promotional images.

XML Content Specialist
Edited XML and images for use in digital textbooks.

Video Editor / Web Designer
Interviewed clients, obtaining priorities for website build. Selected vendors for web hosting. Edited video using Final Cut Pro.

Web Master
Created websites using Macromedia Dreamweaver, HTML coding and Sound Forge.

Video Editor
Edited commercials, videos and long-format programs; Created broadcast quality graphics utilizing Adobe Photoshop.

News and Entertainment Video Editor
Edited segments for both news and entertainment programming, successfully meeting tight deadlines for same day broadcast.

Contact Steve for an updated full resume 〉

Certified Product Owner (CSPO)

Steve is a Certified Scrum Product Owner (Scrum Alliance, January 2013).  What does that mean? It means the work he’s been doing for quite a while now has the blessing of the Scrum Alliance.  Steve is qualified to write stories and create products, as well as identifying customer needs (since customers determine the success of a product).

Steve develops strategies to meet customer needs by brainstorming to figure out ways to make new products, as well as enhancing current products, capable of meeting the demands of the users and keep the company competitive within the industry. He works with development and the client throughout the product development cycle to ensure that everything is done according to specifications and the product meets the product owner’s needs.

Steven-Apple-ScrumAlliance_CSPO_Certificate

The Certified Product Owner® (CSPO) course is taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer®. The CSPO course is designed to cover all the basics of Scrum and also provide a large amount of material devoted to the Product Owner role.

 

 

Writing a User Story

A user story represents what the team can deliver in an iteration. Ideally one user story can address the entire business value, but in reality the user story represents a portion of the greater goal.

Is your product owner the right fit for the role? Placing the right person in the product owner role is crucial for a successful product.

☢ Tell stories from the user’s perspective — don’t fall into the abyss and start writing technical tasks.

user-storypost-it
☢ Use Personas.  Make a chart with names and pictures of the persona; and include characteristics and behaviors such as common tasks, job responsibilities and demographics. Include the goal for this personal and problems the product solve for this persona.

☢ Avoid roles like ‘user’ and ‘developer’ when writing stories.  Create explicit roles such as “Senior Editor”, “Web Visitor” and “Product Owner”.  When writing stories “As a Developer…” take a step back and write from the product owner’s point of view.  Often ‘as a developer’ stories are tasks of another story.

☢ Don’t work in a vacuum, with blinders on. Communicate and collaborate! Product owners and the team should discuss the stories, or imagine this, write stories together.

☢ WTF. Avoid confusing and ambiguous terms in stories.  The product owner, as well as developers and quality assurance testers, should be able to read and understand the story.

☢ Writing and Styling. If one story writing style isn’t working out try different ways to write your stories to understand what works best for you and your team. The retrospective is a great way to communicate the concerns over writing styles.

☢ That’s epic! Epics help define new products and new features: It allows you to capture the rough scope of the project.

☢ Stories should be coded and tested in a single iteration–ideally in a few days.  Epics should be broken down, but not so small that a story becomes a detailed design spec.

☢ Capture critical details about the story as acceptance criteria. The product owner should list as many acceptance criteria as possible in order to clarify the intent of the story.

☢ Remember the customer’s needs. If you skip the acceptance criteria conversation, you may be missing the edge cases or forgetting about the customer needs.

☢ Communicate! This means within your team and with the client.