Oh Windows Phone…

Dear Windows Phone,

I’ve been with you for a few years now…since the very beginning when you made the leap from Windows Mobile – version 7.0.  I’ve watched you grow up.  I’ve enjoyed your devices, and had 4 different models since 2010.  I am currently using a Nokia 1020, and absolutely love it, especially the camera, which is really the primary reason why I bought it.  I’ve taken some amazing photos and actually use the DSLR-level controls. 

I’ve upgraded my Nokia 1020 to Windows Phone 8.1, and Cortana…wow, you are amazing.  Your voice recognition is spot on, you answer my questions, do my bidding, and kick Siri’s butt every time and iPhone-using friend and I compare you two ladies.

For me, Kids Corner is indispensible…how have other platforms not adopted this type of feature?

And lastly, email and messaging (and Office docs) are where I live, and Windows Phone is an outstanding platform for those mobile interactions.

But what is killing me is apps.  I know, I know, the platform has nearly all the major mobile apps and popular games like Angry Birds and Words with Friends. (Although still a few big ones like Nook are missing that I could certainly use)  I’m not talking about those apps.  I’m talking about two other categories of apps: what I’ll call second tier apps and innovation apps.  Second tier apps are those apps you might get at a conference or maybe a franchise restaurant.  These are apps that are not intended for mass consumption by all, but targeted at a specific audience.  What I’m calling innovation apps are those that are doing something new and unique, but are often iOS only – for example an app like Pixotale.  These are the kinds of apps that are missing from this platform.  (In fact a few years ago I carried around an iPod touch just so I had an IOS device to run some missing apps on!)

I don’t know how to do solve this problem.  It’s not a problem of the platform not giving developers the right support.  I’d argue that for tooling and development support, Windows Phone is the industry technical leader. 

I don’t want to leave the platform, but the missing app problem is getting to me. 

Signed,

Ryan

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What we do and don’t know about software development estimation

I am personally involved with software development estimation on almost a daily basis.  It’s a huge challenge that me and my team face.  We give the best possible expert opinion we can, and we often work with limited and fluctuating information.  We’ve learned a lot about estimating well, and we have a repeatable framework and guidelines established (which at their core rely on expert opinion).    

Given my experiences with software estimation, I believe that if you are involved with estimating software development projects, then you should read this new article from IEEE.  It very clearly and succinctly discusses the challenges and what we can do about them with respect to software estimation.  The bottom line is: it’s hard and we as an industry still aren’t great at it.  But we know what things we can do to make it better and we are working to continually improve.

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articleDetails.jsp?reload=true&arnumber=6774376

If you aren’t doing some of the things that the article discusses, start doing them.  If you need help understanding these things – reach out to me – find me on Twitter or LinkedIn – I’d be happy to talk with you!