I really liked Angus’ recent post on User Stories (Wikipedia link about User Stories here) and how he grapples with question of whether they are even needed. User Stories feature prominently in the upcoming Visual Studio 2010 releases, so you’re sure to hear more about them (in the Microsoft space that is). The value in Angus’ post is how he outlines the issues (and thoughts from a variety of sources) without dividing it into a ponderous project-specific debate. Methodologies and approaches (hello Planning Poker) are usually horses for courses decisions in my experience. They’ll work in some places and not in others – there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. And perhaps even if a methodology […]
One of the mistakes I made when I started at Elcom was in thinking we were just a web company. You know, web sites and not much else. But as I quickly learned, we’re also in the business of intranets – in fact we’ve been building significant Intranets for clients for a while now. Turns out I wasn’t alone in my thinking – many people assume we are just focussed on web sites. It’s another reminder that we need to improve our message. So, with that in mind, next week we are launching a new product: IntranetManager.NET Why a new product? You may be familiar with our […]
Last week, following probably the worst IT downturn in the last 8 years I decided to leave Elcom. Crazy huh? Yeah, it may turn out to be foolish, but in this post I aim to explain why, and in the following post, what I‘m looking for as my next step. I thought I’d put this out there and see if it opens the door to any opportunities. Have I resigned? No I haven’t actually resigned as yet. But I spent time last week chatting with our CEO, covering why it was time for me to move on. Yesterday I spent most of the day individually informing my team, […]
Product good. Marketing… not so good It’s been an interesting exercise thinking about marketing at Elcom over the last few months. In my opinion (biased as I am) I think we have an excellent product. However, something we haven’t been very good at is the marketing side of things. Often people have heard of us, but they don’t really know what we do. We mention that we have a content management system (CMS) product and they ask how it compares to WordPress… We’ve obviously not communicated our differentiation very well! (And conversely WordPress has been very good at getting its brand out) A change is coming […]
The links between Atlassian and Microsoft Office grow stronger with Atlassian’s latest Connector between Confluence (their Wiki product) and Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. In this case the Connector allows content on the Confluence Wiki to be imported, edited and updated from Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Check out the super simple 3 and half minute video to gain a good understanding. The thing I like about the Atlassian offering is how damn simple it is! (Note: This is different to their SharePoint connector beta that they released last October) This is of particular interest to us at Elcom because we’ve recently started work on a Microsoft Word Connector for our Community Manager […]
The Techies at Elcom completely reformatted my machine a few weeks back and installed Vista 64bit. This has been great because I can now access all 4GB of RAM (woo hoo!). But there’s been another unexpected benefit… It turns out that there’s no printer drivers for our Elcom printers that work on Vista 64. So, for the last 4 weeks I’ve been unable to print anything. Here’s the thing: For the first few days I found it really annoying – I’d lost a part of my normal daily processes. But after that I didn’t notice it all. In fact, I haven’t printed a single thing for almost a month. And I don’t […]
We’re launching a new product this week. This Thursday morning to be exact. You may know that Elcom, where I work, is a web company that builds products for medium to large companies. We do intranets, extranets, portals, web sites, etc. Plus we do a fair bit of customisation. Over the last few months we’ve been turning things around a little and ‘productizing’ our custom projects into products in their own right. TrainingManager.NET is one such product. Although it’s already live in two reasonably large companies, we’re only now doing the official launch. It’s a breakfast this Thursday and I hear the food is going to be good! […]
I’m heading home from the US of A today, which sees me arrive back in Sydney (hopefully) on Thursday morning 24 April. CodeCampOz The next day I head down to Wagga for CodeCampOz. That finishes up on Sunday (27 April) and I fly back to Sydney that night. Elcom On Monday I’m back in the office, ready to start spreading the good news to the team (within NDA guidelines of course – the best comment I read on Twitter regarding disclosure was this: What happens in Seattle, stays in Seattle). It’s going to be an interesting week. We’ve been working through the Elcom strategy lately, and it’s […]
We've done a little more testing of our product on the Microsoft 2008 stack and I'm pleased (and a little worried) with the results.
The pleasing part: we are now showing results on the 2008 stack as being 16X faster than the 2003/2005 stack.
The worrying part: results of 16X faster are very high – what if we've tested something incorrectly…
So, the goal of this post is to explain what we did and how we measured the results. Then, I'm after your feedback on what else we should be checking.
First, the background.
In January we moved our Elcom web site over to the 2008 stack. That is, we recompiled our entire Community Manager application to target the […]
As Angus notes, we've got a nice little flash animation on the Elcom web site alerting users to our Community Manager CMS product running on the Microsoft 2008 stack. Here's the details of how we installed and tested, and the result: 500% performance increase. (You read that right – 500%) Technorati Tags: Elcom Technology, Microsoft 2008 Stack, Heroes Happen Here
Brad Marsh, one of the techies at Elcom, discusses his experiences with SQL Server 2008 database encryption. Technorati Tags: Brad Marsh, SQL Server 2008, Database encryption
Further to my post about career plans for developers at Elcom, I wanted to mention the approach of encouraging staff to build their personal profiles.
It can be summed up in this attitude:
Your job (as a developer and employee) is to be so good that you are being chased by head-hunters all the time.
My job (as Technical Director) is to make the work environment so good that you don't want to leave.
I feel this is a sensible approach, for a number of reasons:
Firstly, I don't want staff who aren't improving. Rather I want them continually pushing themselves to do bigger and better things. Momentum must be maintained. If we aren't improving, then realistically we are […]
I'm not sure if I agree with the simplicity of this, but it does highlight a common misconception about CMS systems. The CMS manages the content of course, but these days it often needs to provide much more 'out of the box'. At Elcom, where I work for example, we are positioning our CMS product as the platform that you build your line of business (LOB) applications on. It needs to provide a solid, scalable, highly performant, extensible foundation that can be easily integrated with your other business processes. Technorati Tags: Elcom Technology, CMS
Part of my brief at Elcom is to look after all the developers (ie people management). This is something I enjoy, especially when seeing developers grow and improve themselves. During November and December I sat down with each of my staff and started preparing their career plans. It is their responsibility to work out their goals and aspirations, it is my job to facilitate that happening (within reason of course). The process involves preparation by the developer (approx 1 hour), then a chat with me (1-2 hours) and then some updating of notes, consolidation of ideas, etc. During the chat we cover everything, including likes and dislikes, books, training, aims and goals, money, gripes, […]
An interesting article from Computerworld on the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) space (of which my employer – Elcom – is a major player). Elcom is an ECM company, and we are always grappling with where to best extend our product. Lately we have seen the value of our systems being the platform for a business to run on. Our customisation tends to be in the building of Line of Business (LOB) applications for those companies. ECM and CMS companies must provide business value and an ongoing foundation. Whilst the expression 'content is king' certainly rings true, it is only part of the picture. Technorati Tags: ECM, Elcom, CMS
Earlier this week I mentioned Elcom had moved everything over to 2008 (that is, our product – Community Manager.NET – is now targeting .NET 3.5 in Visual Studio 2008, and our site is running on Windows Server 2008 with SQL Server 2008 on the back end). Initial thoughts were that the site was running a bit quicker. Turns out we were wrong. The site is actually running a lot quicker. One of our techies, Alan Lee, set up a testing environment so that we could start measuring the performance improvements. You can check out his method here, and his results here. This is only the start of his testing mind you, and there are […]
Brad Marsh has a good post on Windows 2008 firewall settings Angus McDonald discusses new VB9 stuff Sam Fu considers the Application Domain Summer Hu has stacks of stuff, here's an example talking about System.AddIn Alan Lee talks about Windows Server 2008 RC0 Technorati Tags: Elcom, Bloggers
Elcom is all 2008. The Elcom web site is now running on a Windows 2008 Server, with SQL Server 2008 as the back-end and Community Manager.NET completely recompiled under Visual Studio 2008 (targeting the 3.5 Framework) delivering the content. Community Manager.NET is Elcom’s content management system (CMS), which we have now re-compiled, tested and released on the .NET 3.5 Framework. Now, you might think this is a pretty simple thing to do, but there’s actually a reasonable amount of work involved to ensure it is all performing smoothly. I won’t go into the details here, but suffice to say, when you have a mature product (Community Manager is in its 5th year […]
Microsoft developers (I’m told) have the option to ‘go dark’ at times. At least that’s what Joe Schwetz indicated at a recent Sydney Deep meeting. The aim is to allow them to catch up on projects that are running behind. The process involves killing all distractions (email, blogs, phone calls, IM, etc) and focusing on priorities. I’m sure many software companies use this technique in various guises. Here’s Angus, one of our Devs, in a dark moment: I wonder if Michael Kordahi will notice the sticker on Angus’ PC, just under the book shelf… I write this on Friday evening as I head home for two weeks holiday break. The last […]