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Quote of the Day

Herding Cats - Glen Alleman - 2 hours 23 min ago

Predictions are always difficult - especially about the future ― Niels Bohr
― Neandertal's Guide to Cost Estimating, Naval Aviation Systems

This is a quote often used by those conjecturing that estimating is a waste. The quote is true of course. Making predictions about the future is difficult. But that has nothing to do with the need for predictions and the estimates that support them.  When making decisions in the presence of uncertainty about some outcome in the future - this is the basis of Microeconomics of decision making.

Categories: Project Management

What Does An Agile Coach Deliver?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Agile Coaches help teams and organizations embrace Agile and help maximize the delivery of business value.  We use terms like enable and facilitate to describe how they help organizations and teams transform.  But what does an Agile Coach actually do?  If we unpack enable and facilitate what do we actually find?  We actually mean a variable mix of activities that includes: consulting, cajoling, training, arbitration and mentoring.

Coaches sometimes act as consultants.  A consultant will actively involve him or herself in the game. Sometimes an Agile Coach will have to actively involve themselves in performing a task or activity so that the team can see the technique in action.

Coaches cajole, with gentle urging or coaxing, the team or organization to change behaviors that don’t live up to Agile principles and values. In many cases this cajoling is underscored by the war stories a Coach can deliver about the trials and tribulations that will ensue if the behavior is not corrected. The experiential base is important for the Coach to be able to hold the moral (metaphorically speaking) high ground needed to persuade the team or organization.

Coaches deliver training.  Training comes in many shapes and sizes.  Coaches will be able to deliver training on a just-in-time or ad-hoc basis based on their own observations of how work is being done.  The goal of ad-hoc training is to ensure the team or teams understand how to apply specific techniques as they are applying them. I liken this to a form of just-in-time training, which leverages a principle from adult learning, that holds that adults retain knowledge better when it can be immediately applied.  This does not exclude leading and organizing training as part of more formal organizational change program.

Coaches arbitrate conflicts and difficult decisions.  Projects, whether to transform whole organizations or to implement a set of simple user reports, always include the need to make decisions. Coaches help organizations make decisions so that they can move forward with a minimal loss of inertia.  Facilitation for an Agile organization is a skill that is part art and part science – think emotive negotiation (or as a friend of mine calls it “family counseling for teams”).  The best Coaches teach the team or organizations they are working with these skills.

Coaches mentor.  A mentor is a trusted counselor who provides guidance, advice and training usually at an intimate (one-on-one) level.  A mentor needs to be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned into the needs of the mentee, so that the transfer of guidance is safe and efficient.

When an Agile Coach enables and facilitates, they really  consult, cajole, train, arbitrate and mentor. The art of being a good Coach is knowing what the mix of these activities are appropriate for any specific situation.


Categories: Process Management

Get your apps and games ready for space with Google Play (April Fools')

Android Developers Blog - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 00:14

Posted by Lily Sheringham, Google Play team

Google Play lets you distribute your apps and games to over 1 billion active Android users around the world. With advances in space exploration and the advent of galactic tourism, there will be a high number of users beyond this world that developers need to start thinking about, too. Google Play can now help you reach them. We’ve added new features to the Google Play Developer Console and updated the material design guidelines, to help you design, test, and distribute your apps and games in space.

Here’s a look at how The Guardian, one of the largest English-news organizations in the world, enhanced its Android app to enable astronauts and space travellers to stay informed and up-to-date, while in orbit or on the surface of the moon.


"I am pleased to have The Guardian's application to test the growing Interplanetary Internet" says Vint Cerf, distinguished visiting scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Google's Chief Internet Evangelist. "The interstellar version is in development and I'm looking forward to having more Google Play apps and games tested in space flight."

Get your apps and games ready for take off today.

Categories: Programming

SE-Radio Episode 256: Jay Fields on Working Effectively with Unit Tests

Stefan Tilkov talks with Jay Fields, author of the book “Working Effectively with Unit Tests,” about unit testing in practice. Topics include how to write good unit tests, what mistakes to avoid, and different categories of unit tests. Jay explains the value of unit tests and why you might want to delete them if you […]
Categories: Programming

Can You Make a Decision in Presence of Uncertainty Without Estimating?

Herding Cats - Glen Alleman - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 23:06

The answer to this question starts with a simple principle based notion.

Can you make a non-trivial (not de minimis) decision in the presence of uncertainty?

The #Noestimates advocates didn’t start there. They started with “Estimates are a waste, stop doing them.” Those advocates also started with the notion that estimates are a waste for the developers. Not considereing those who pay their salary have a fiduciary obligation to know something about cash demands and profit resulting from the investment work in the future.

The size of the “value at risk” is also the starting point for estimates. If the project is small (de minimis) meaning if we over run significantly no one cares, then estimating is likely a waste as well. No matter the size of the project, from multi-million’s to smaller, it's actually determined by “value at risk,” and that is determine by those paying not by those consuming. So the fact we work on larger projects does not remove the principle of “value at risk.” Your client’s (internal or external) V@R may be much different than mine – but it’s not our money.

Next comes an original post from Woody – “you can make decisions with No Estimates.” If we are having a principled based conversation (which NE’er don’t) then that statement violates the principles of Microeconomics. Making decisions in the presence of uncertainty (and I’m assuming all projects of interest have uncertainty), than estimates are needed to make decisions. Those decisions are based in MicroEcon on the Opportunity Cost and the probability of making the best choice for the project involves assessing the probability outcome of those choices, estimating is required.

Real options are a similar process in IT based on estimating. Vasco stated long ago he was using RO along with Bayesian Decision Making. I suspect he was tossing around buzz words without knowing what they actually mean, since we never saw an example of how he used RO when asked to show one.

From the business side, the final principle is Managerial Finance. This is the basis of business management of its financial assets. The balance sheet is one place these are found. Since the future returns from the expenses of today and the “potential” expenses of the future are carried in that balance sheet, estimating is needed there as well for the financial well being of the firm.

These three principles - Value at Risk, MicroEconomics of Decision Making, and Managerial Finance appear to be ignored by the NE advocates when they start with the conjecture that “decisions can be made without estimates,” and continuing on with “estimates are a waste of developers time, they should be coding not estimating.”

It’s the view of the world, that as a developer “it’s all about me.” Never looking at their paycheck and asking where did the money come from. That’s a common process and one I did when I started my career 35 years ago as a FORTRAN developer for Missile Defense radar systems and our boss had us get out our paychecks (a paper check in those days) and look at the upper left hand corner. “That money doesn’t come from the Bank of America, El Segundo, Blvd, Redondo Beach, it comes from the US Air Force. You young pups need to stay on schedule and make this thing work as it says in the contract.”

In the end the NE conversation can be about the issues in estimating and there are many - Steve McConnell speaks to those. I work large federal acquisition programs –  IT and embedded systems. And many times the “over target baseline” root cause is from “bad estimating.” But the Root Cause of those bad estimates is not corrected by Not Estimating as #Noestimates would have us believe.

As posted on this blog before and sourced from the Director of “Performance Assessment and Root Cause Analysis,” unanticipated growth in cost has 4 major sources:
1. Unrealistic performance expectations – that will cost more money.
2. Unrealistic cost and schedule estimates – the source of poor estimating.
3. Inadequate assessment of unmitigated risk exposure.
4. Unanticipated technical issues.

Research where I work some times (www.ida.org) has shown these are core to problems of cost overruns in nearly every domain from ERP to embedded software intensive systems. It is unlikely those 4 root causes are not universal.

So what’s #NoEstimates trying to fix? They don’t say except - “exploring” new ways.” In what governance frameworks are they exploring? They don’t say. They don’t actually say much of anything, just “estimates are waste, stop doing them and get back to coding.”

As my boss in 1978 reminded us newly minted physical Master’s degree'd coder, “it ain’t your money it’s the USAF’s money, act accordingly – we need an estimate of this thing you’re building can be used to find SS-9’s coming our way?” Since then I’ve never forgotten his words, “business (in that case TRW) needs to know how much, when, and what, if it’s going to stay in business.”

Related articles Managing in Presence of Uncertainty Here, There Be Dragons Estimating Processes in Support of Economic Analysis
Categories: Project Management

Process Improvement In the Second Grade

Herding Cats - Glen Alleman - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 22:31

Our daughter is an elementary school teacher in Austin - and a Graduate student at UT Austin in the Board Certified Behavioral Analyst program. When I hear about some corrective action to an unnamed cause - not the symptom but the cause -  like estimates are the smell of dysfunction, I think of a chart she has hanging in her room for her students, where they are learning critical thinking skills they will need in life. 

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 5.45.46 PM

  • Focus Question - what is the question we're trying to explore? Is that question clearly formed?
  • Prediction - is there a prediction of what the possible outcomes might be when we discover the answer to the question? This is important, because we need to separate the answers into plausible answers and implausible answers. That way we can sort out the Wheat from the Chaff. Which is a nice way of saying sorting out the BS from the plausible.
  • Plan - OK, now what's our plan to start exploring. This is exploring is a directed exploring. Not a wandering around looking for Unicorns in the forest. That is called a Snipe Hunt. There is no Snipe to hunt, but it's a fun thing to do for novice and naive tenderfoots in the scout pack or the business of spending other people's money. 
  • Data - what data will we need to develop to support our search for the answer to the Focus Question? Where would we  find this data? How will we be able to validate this data. Is this data personal anecdotes or is it from a principled framework that can be tested in the absence of the person providing  the data.
  • Claims & Evidence - when claims are made, is there any testable evidence of that data? And most importantly is there any testability that supports the Focus Question?
  • Reflection - with this process, what do we learn? Was there a prediction that could be tested - estimates are the smell of dysfunction? How would you test that conjecture? What would the predicted outcome of that Focus Question and Prediction in terms of measurable evidence? Do we have a Plan to explore that question - or are we  just going to wander around looking for that mythical Unicorn that will bring Rainbows and Sunshine to our project? Where is this data? How did we find it? Journal papers, books, actual data collected ourselves using good data analysis techniques - not the pesky Flaw of Averages approach, but an actual data collection process? For claim to be credible there needs to be evidence to support the claim.

So in the end if 2nd graders in Austin Texas can figure this out, why can't adults tasked with spending other people's money do this as well?

Related articles Everything I Learned About PM Came From a Elementary School Teacher Architecture -Center ERP Systems in the Manufacturing Domain IT Risk Management
Categories: Project Management

The Ultimate Tester: Curiosity

Xebia Blog - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 16:15
In 2014 Bill Sempf posted this Tweet: QA Engineer walks into a bar. Orders a beer. Orders 0 beers. Orders 999999999 beers. Orders a lizard. Orders -1 beers. Orders a sfdeljknesv. — Bill Sempf (@sempf) September 23, 2014 His message caused a chain reaction of awesome responses from people thinking of all the edge cases in this

How to Prevent Estimate Inflation

Mike Cohn's Blog - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 15:00

I spoke with a Scrum Master recently who told me his team had nearly doubled their velocity in only two months. Rather than be happy about this, though, he was concerned.

He knew the team had not suddenly become twice as productive. In fact, he doubted they'd actually sped up at all. Yet their velocity showed they had.

The cause of this sudden and dramatic increase was story point inflation. Or, more generally, estimate inflation, because the problem can happen with estimating units other than just story points.

Estimate inflation is when the estimate assigned to a product backlog item (usually a user story) increases over time. For example, today the team estimates something will take five points but previously they would have called it three points.

Why Does Estimate Inflation Happen?

There are a few possible causes of estimate inflation. One of the most common, though, is excessive pressure on the team to improve or deliver more points per sprint. This often comes from bosses or possibly stakeholders outside the team who are pushing the team.

Velocity becomes a really tempting (but bad) metric in these cases and teams are pushed to demonstrate that they’re going faster by increasing velocity.

 

When a team is under pressure to increase velocity, team members will often start to round estimates up during story point estimate meetings (often done with Planning Poker). For example, consider a team that is debating whether a particular story is three or five points. They’re having a legitimate debate about this.

At some time during that discussion, one or more people will remember the team is under pressure to increase velocity. And some might shift in favor of calling the story five points instead of three.

I want to be clear this isn’t lying. It’s not blatant padding. The team was truly debating three versus five. And when someone remembers the team is under pressure, that person switches to favor five.

And so that story is called a five.

Now consider another story being estimated perhaps a week or two later. In considering the new story, someone compares it to the five-point story and thinks, “Well, this new one is a little bigger than that five,” and proceeds to estimate it as perhaps an eight.

And this is how estimate inflation happens.

How to Prevent Estimate Inflation

I’ve found the best way to prevent estimate inflation from occurring is to always compare the item being estimated against two (or more) previously estimated product backlog items. In my “Agile Estimating and Planning” book, I referred to this as triangulation, borrowing the old nautical term for fixing a ship’s location.

So, when a team thinks about estimating a story as five points, they would first compare that story to two other stories--ideally one smaller and one larger. In deciding if a story should be estimated as five points, they would compare the story to a three-point story and think, Will the effort to do this new story be a little more than this three-pointer?

They would next compare that story against an eight- or 13-point story. And they’d want to see if the story felt appropriately sized as five in comparison to one of those. These comparisons are shown in Figure 1.

 

Triangulating a 5-point story by comparing it with 3-point and 13-point stories.

When an item being estimated is compared to two or more previously estimated items, it helps ensure the internal consistency of the estimates.

Ideally we’d love to consider each estimate in comparison to all previous estimates. But that would be way too much work. Triangulating a story by comparing it to two others is generally sufficient.

If we think about the stories as nodes in a graph, triangulating can be visualized by drawing lines between each of the nodes the team explicitly compared while estimating. This can be seen in Figure 2.

 

 

Each story, A-F, has been compared with two or three other stories.

Here we see that product backlog items A and B have been compared to three other items each. Backlog items C through F have each been compared twice.

Triangulating Stops Estimate Inflation

Triangulating prevents estimate inflation because the use of two comparisons helps point out when estimates are beginning to inflate.

To see this, consider the team that is trying to decide between estimating a story as either three or five. Remembering they are under pressure to increase velocity, they decide to call it a five. And it may legitimately seem just a bit bigger than some other three-point stories.

But, when the team triangulates that story against another five or an eight, they’ll most likely realize that the story is not really a five.

There’s One More Good Way to Prevent Estimate Inflation

There’s at least one more very good way to prevent estimate inflation. But, since this post is already long, I’ll save that for the weekly tip I share each Thursday by email. If you’re not already subscribed, consider signing up now if you’re interested in learning more.

What Do You Think?

Has estimate inflation been a problem on your team? How do you handle it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

How to achieve Ultimate Agility?

Xebia Blog - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 10:20
In reaction on the Era of Big Transitions we currently live in, many organizations are reinventing themselves as we speak.  How can we survive?  Or rephrased more positive: How can we turn this threat into a unique chance? Most organizations start with this journey by redesigning their culture, way of work and organizational structure.  But

Effective Programmers Learning

From the Editor of Methods & Tools - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 08:50
Allison Kaptur gave a keynote at Kiwi PyCon 2015 in New Zealand on effective learning for programmers. There were two pieces to the talk: one about the mindset needed by programmers for learning and one about particular strategies that software developers can use. Video Producer: https://nzpug.org/ Slides of the presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/akaptur/effective-learning-strategies-for-programmers Further reading: http://akaptur.com/blog/2015/10/10/effective-learning-strategies-for-programmers/

Find success on Google Play: What app developers can learn from games

Android Developers Blog - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 18:14

Posted by Matteo Vallone, Business Development Manager at Google Play

(As a way to reach more app developers and help them grow successful businesses on Google Play, this post was first published on The Next Web – Ed.)

There is much common ground between freemium apps and games businesses when it comes to achieving success. Users are, however, more used to paying for games than apps, stemming from the history of traditional gaming consoles. Moreover, mobile games are also able to easily offer ‘virtual goods’ across a range of price points to suit every pocket. This means that game developers have had plenty of opportunity to learn about how to improve onboarding, conversion, and ultimately the user Lifetime Value (LTV). So what can app developers learn from game developers? Here are some best practice tips and insights from successful game developers that can be applied to many apps, today.

Drive app success the game developer way:

1. Optimize retention before investing in acquisition

Retention is king, and retention drives conversion. For games developers, retention is the key measure of game quality and whether it appeals to players.

Most game developers will “soft launch” to beta testing communities or test markets. During this phase, the game is tweaked to optimize retention by looking into specific areas, such as tutorial completion, level difficulty and conversion. Developers can then track retention using the Cohorts reports in Google Analytics. Once retention is satisfactory, the developer can go to full launch and start investing in user acquisition.

2. Retain users with step-by-step engagement

The first seven days after install are the most critical for retention: users install several apps to try them, and decide in the first few days which ones they want to keep using. If you can retain for that time span, your app is more likely to become part of the user’s daily routine.

There are some simple ways to progressively build user engagement. It’s important to present a strong story that explains why that app is relevant to the user, while introducing them to key features. Then place features that offer the user value early, so they can be found without much effort.

This is a not a one-size-fit-all. To find the right solution, a developer needs to first make assumptions on what user flows can improve retention and then run A/B tests to validate or correct them. For example, a developer could think that introducing sign-in later in the user flow might improve retention. Also, the developer needs to keep in mind what the key long term engagement metrics are for the individual app (such as photos uploaded or the number of articles read) and measure the impact of the different onboarding flows on those metrics as well.

In general, these principles are good places to start optimizing your onboarding:

  • Look for ways to let the users experience the app straight away, rather than taking them through a long, complex setup.
  • Present “activation moments” — such as registering an account, uploading a video, or finding friend — gradually
  • Start by requiring minimal investment by the user, then ask them for more details as they are needed to use the apps features.
  • Treat permissions as a service for the user. For example, if you want users to register, show them in advance that, by making their experience more personal, they’ll get more value from the app.

In this example, OkCupid tried different onboarding flows and found the most engaging version increased seven-day retention by over 20 percent.

Finally, ensure the user can understand the value of your app before you start asking them to pay. Game developers are particularly good at letting their users try most or all product features for free in in a set number of days or sessions.

A great tool to help analyze how users are engaging (or not) with the app is through the Flow Report in Google Analytics. Using this report, a developer can see how users navigate through the app and where they leave to identify potential roadblocks.

3. Target the right offers at the right users

Understanding different groups of users in-app purchase behavior is the key to devising strategies to encourage them to spend.

Start by identifying groups of users by how they spend and much they are likely to spend. It may be by age group, the channel that brought the install, or in-app behaviour. Use the Segment builder in Google Analytics to identify and define these groups of users. Then, tailor in-app purchase offers to match the segments spending behavior. For example, for segments where multiple users tend to spend more in one go, but spend infrequently, offer them in-app features bundled together.

4. Offer in-app purchases when users are most likely to spend

Users are also more likely to spend, if the purchasing experience is frictionless, and even more so when they can see how the expenditure will add value. So:

  • Present purchase opportunities to users when they’re most likely to need or want it — and explain to the user why it’s relevant.
  • Make purchasing accessible easily from within the app with a minimum number of taps. For example, offer an upgrade button on the footer of relevant screens.

TomTom added a countdown to indicate when the free service runs out (counted in kilometers travelled). The counter includes a button to upgrade offering a one tap in-app purchase.

Like all good game developers, they focus on building good experiences that retain and engage users through constant testing and analytics. First impressions are important, so users need to be able to quickly understand the importance of the app and easily navigate through the onboarding experience. And to start generating revenue, it is important to be thoughtful about how to make in-app purchases actionable.

Watch Matteo’s Playtime 2015 session ‘The rules of games, for apps’ to hear more in-depth insights which app developers can learn from games with best practices and developer examples:

You can also watch the other sessions from Google Playtime 2015 to learn more about tools and best practices which can help you find success with business on Google Play.

Categories: Programming

Game developers, get ready for our Developer Day at GDC 2016

Android Developers Blog - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 18:14

Posted by Morgan Dollard, Product Manager of Google Play Games

Next week, we’ll be in San Francisco to host our annual Developer Day at the Game Developers Conference (GDC). Join us to get a first look at our latest efforts to help developers of all sizes build successful mobile games businesses with powerful tools to develop high quality apps, grow a valuable user base, and earn more revenue.

Our Developer Day will take place in room 2020 of the West Hall of Moscone Center on Monday, March 14. Based on your feedback from last year, we're going to keep presentations short and informative with lightning talks around virtual reality, the cloud, ads, and so much more, while dedicating more time to interactive discussions with Google engineers and your peers in the industry.

Here’s a glimpse of the agenda on Monday, March 14:

Opening keynote || 10AM: Be the first to see what’s new and hear about the investments Google is making to help mobile developers grow their game business.

Best practices for success on Google Play || 10:30AM: In this talk, you’ll learn how successful mobile game developers acquire users and bring them back to keep them playing longer.

Lightning talks || 11:15AM: A series of 5-minute talks on innovative technologies to tantalize players, like Project Tango, software to speed and simplify game development, and new ways to predict and prevent user churn.

Interactive roundtables || 2:00PM: After lunch, we’ll break up into interactive roundtables to interact with Google experts and peers on how to build better and more successful games. Ask questions, tell Google product teams what you need, and learn from fellow game developers.

Visit the agenda page to get a full list of our talks and speaker details. Please note that these events are part of the official Game Developer's Conference, so you will need a pass to attend.

For everyone who can’t make it in person, we’ll be live streaming our event on YouTube. Tune in from 10am on Monday, March 18.

Categories: Programming

Grow your games business on Google Play: Game parameters management, video recording, streaming ads, and more

Android Developers Blog - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 18:13

Posted by Morgan Dollard, Product Manager of Google Play Games

With mobile gamers across 190 countries, Google Play Games is made up of a vibrant and diverse gaming community. And these players are more engaged than ever. Over the past year, the number of games reaching over 1 million installs grew by 50 percent.

Today, at our annual Developer Day at the Game Developers Conference, we announced new platform and ads tools for developers, of all sizes reach, to reach this global audience and accelerate the growth of their games business. Check out below the full range of features that will help game developers build their apps, grow their user base, and earn more revenue.

Making Google Play Games better for players

In February, we introduced Gamer IDs so that anyone could create a gaming persona. We also simplified the sign-in process for Google Play Games so players could pick up playing their game more quickly. We’re also working on product enhancements to make Play Games a little more social and fun, which will mean more engaged players who’re playing your game for longer. One example is the launch of Gamer friends (coming soon!), where your players can add and interact with their friends from within the Google Play Games app (without needing a Google+ account).

We’re also launching the Indie Corner, a new collection on Google Play, that will highlight amazing games built by indie developers. You can nominate your awesome indie game for inclusion at g.co/indiecornersubmission. We’ll pick the best games to showcase based on the quality of the experience and exemplary use of Google Play game services.

Grow your game with powerful new features from Google Play game services

In January, we added features to Player Analytics, the free reporting tool of Google Play game services, which helps you understand how players are progressing, spending and churning. Today, we previewed some upcoming new tools that would be available in the coming months, including:

  • Game parameters management: With game parameters management, you will be able to update gameplay and game economy parameters without the need for APK changes or resubmitting your app. You’ll be able to optimize virtual goods and currencies from the Developer Console or the Google Play Developer API.

Game parameters management in the Google Play Developer Console

  • Video Recording API: You will be able to easily add video recording to your app and let users share their videos with their friends and on YouTube in a few simple steps. We are also adding live streaming functionality to allow your fans to broadcast their gameplay experiences in real time on YouTube.
  • Predictive Analytics: The Player Stats API now has Predictive Analytics to help you identify which groups of players are likely to spend or churn, and we are adding new predictions for how much a player is likely to spend within 30 days and the probability that a player is a high spender. This allows you to tailor experiences for these players to try to increase their spend or engagement. Learn more about the Player Stats API.

“Not showing ads to users that were probable to spend increased number of IAP transactions by 15%.” – Avetis Zakharyan, CEO Underwater Apps

New ad formats and targeting to find, keep and monetize high-quality gamers

Promoting your game and growing your audience is important, but it’s just as important to reach the right audience for your game, the players who want to open the game again and again. That’s why today we’ve unveiled new features that make it simpler to reach the right audience at scale.

  • Search Trial Run Ads: In the next few weeks, we’ll launch a new way for users to try your game out when they do a search for games on Google through a new ad format, Search Trial Run Ads. After tapping “Try now”, an individual can play your game for up to 10 minutes, and then download the game in full if they choose. These ads will appear to smartphone users on WiFi. Using this format, you can drive qualified users who are likely to stay engaged with your game after install.

SGN’s Search Trial Run Ad for Panda Pop

  • Portrait Video Ads: More than 80% of video ad views in mobile apps on the Google Display Network are from devices held vertically, but often these videos are created for landscape viewing. Over the next few weeks, we’re launching Portrait Video Ads for a full-screen, immersive portrait video experience. Developers have seen significant improvement in both click-through and conversion rates, resulting in lower cost per install and more installs.
  • Active User Targeting for Games: In the coming weeks, we’re rolling out a new type of targeting for Android apps that allows you to show ads to users who have spent more than 30 minutes playing games, or who have played a Google Play Games integrated game, in the last 30 days.
Earn more revenue in your game with AdMob

AdMob helps game developers around the world maximize revenue through in-app advertising. At GDC, we also announced a new way to help you earn more through AdMob Mediation. Rewarded advertising is a popular form of game monetization -- users are given the choice to engage with ads in exchange for an in-app reward. AdMob Mediation will enable you to easily monetize your apps with rewarded video ads from a number of ad providers. Supported networks and platforms include AdColony, AppLovin, Chartboost, Fyber, Upsight and Vungle, with more being added all the time.

You can learn more about this, and all our ads announcements on the Inside AdWords blog.

This is just the start of what we’ve got planned for 2016. We hope you can make use of these tools to improve your game, engage your audience, and grow your business and revenue.

Categories: Programming

The Google Play Awards coming to Google I/O

Android Developers Blog - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 18:12

Posted by Purnima Kochikar, Director, Apps and Games Business Development, Google Play

Google Play has seen tremendous growth over the past year, reaching more than 1 billion Android users across 190 countries. As a way to recognize our incredible developer community and highlight some of the best apps and games, we’re kicking off our first-ever Google Play Awards.

The program will showcase five nominees across 10 award categories and feature them in a dedicated collection on Google Play. Nominees were selected by a panel of experts on the Google Play team based on criteria emphasizing app quality, innovation, and having a launch or major update in the last 12 months. The winners of each category will be announced at Google I/O in May.

The full list of categories and nominees are below:

Standout Startup

Apps from new developers that offer a unique experience while achieving strong install growth. And the nominees are...

Dubsmash Hopper Musical.ly Robinhood Vrse Standout Indie

Games from indie developers that focus on artistic design, high quality and innovative gameplay. And the nominees are...

Alphabear Alto’s Adventure Fast like a Fox Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector Prune Best Families App

Apps or games with family friendly design that encourage creativity and exploration. And the nominees are...

Card Wars - Adventure Time LEGO Jurassic World™ My Very Hungry Caterpillar Thinkrolls 2 Toca Nature Best Use of Material Design

First-class implementation of material design concepts that deliver an immersive and innovative user experience. And the nominees are...

Bring! Robinhood The Fabulous Todoist Vevo Best Use of Google Play Game Services

High quality games with several strong GPGS feature implementations. And the nominees are...

Sea Battle 2 Table Tennis Touch Tapventures TowerMadness 2 Zombie Highway 2 Early Adopter

Early adopter of a nascent technology or platform, providing a delightful user experience. And the nominees are...

Glide Mechanic Escape Minecraft: Story Mode World Around Me Zumper Go Global

Apps or games with great localization and culturalization, or subject matter appeal, across multiple regions. And the nominees are...

Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle Freeletics Bodyweight Memrise Musixmatch Pokémon Shuffle Mobile Most Innovative

Apps or games offering a highly engaging novelty experience or unique benefit. And the nominees are...

Fast like a Fox NYT VR SmartNews The Fabulous This War of Mine Best App

A true representation of beautiful design, intuitive UX and high user appeal, quality and rating. And the nominees are...

BuzzFeed News Colorfy Houzz TuneIn Radio Yummly Best Game

Games with strong mechanics, informative tutorial, broad appeal and tasteful design. And the nominees are...

Alphabear Clash of Kings Clash Royale MARVEL Future Fight Star Wars™: Galaxy of Heroes

Join us live at the ceremony on May 19th at 7:00 pm PDT on stage 7 at Google I/O or via the live stream. You can also track the conversation on Twitter and G+ using the hashtags #io16.

Categories: Programming

Gone Fishin'

Well, not exactly Fishin', but I'll be on a month long vacation starting today. I won't be posting (much) new content, so we'll all have a break. Disappointing, I know. Please use this time for quiet contemplation and other inappropriate activities. See you on down the road...

Categories: Architecture

Generic JS Android API wrapper for React Native

Xebia Blog - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 16:06
During a React Native project for one of our clients we added some custom Android and iOS libraries to our code and wanted to call a few exposed methods. In such a case, React Native requires you to write a wrapper class to call those public APIs. It was a small boilerplate nuisance and these

Quote of the Day

Herding Cats - Glen Alleman - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 15:51

Guessa conjecture based on little or no evidence
Estimatea guess made by an expert 
― Neandertal's Guide to Cost Estimating
, Naval Aviation Systems 

All project work is based on probabilities driven by statistical processes.  All decisions made on projects for time, cost, and technical performance involve making decision in the presence of uncertanty. To attempt to make those decisions in the absence of estimating the impact of the decisions is foolhardy at best and doomed to failure at worst.

Categories: Project Management

SPaMCAST 392 – Mix Tape 2009, Lister, Chemuturi, Brennan

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I am still traveling for the next two weeks. The trip is a mixture of vacation and a board meeting but that does not mean you will have to forego your weekly SPaMCAST.  In place of our normal format, I am posting a mix tape of the answers to the “If you could change two things” question I have been asking interviewees for nearly ten years.  This week on SPaMCAST 392 we feature our top downloaded podcasts from the year 2009:

SPaMCAST 51 – Tim Lister on Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies

http://bit.ly/1WERtk5

Tim discussed ending the estimating charade.  Tim stated it would be better if we recognized estimating as goal setting. Secondly, he noted that a lot of outsourcing has overshot its mark and reduced our organizational capabilities.

SPaMCAST 67 – Murali Chemuturi on Software Estimation Best Practices, Tools & Techniques

http://bit.ly/1MHDzeJ

Murali used his wishes to state that estimators need a better grasp and understanding the concepts of productivity and scheduling.

SPaMCAST 69 – Kevin Brennan on Business Analysis

http://bit.ly/1WERB2V

Kevin answered a different question and discussed the message he would share with a C-Level executive to describe why business analysis is important to them.

If you enjoyed the snippets please use the links to listen to the whole interviews.  Next week 2010!


Categories: Process Management

SPaMCAST 392 – Mix Tape 2009, Lister, Chemuturi, Brennan

Software Process and Measurement Cast - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 22:00

I am still traveling for the next two weeks. The trip is a mixture of vacation and a board meeting but that does not mean you will have to forego your weekly SPaMCAST.  In place of our normal format, I am posting a mix tape of the answers to the “If you could change two things” question I have been asking interviewees for nearly ten years.  This week on SPaMCAST 392 we feature our top downloaded podcasts from the year 2009:

SPaMCAST 51 - Tim Lister on Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies

http://bit.ly/1WERtk5

Tim discussed ending the estimating charade.  Tim stated it would be better if we recognized estimating as goal setting. Secondly, he noted that a lot of outsourcing has overshot its mark and reduced our organizational capabilities.

SPaMCAST 67 - Murali Chemuturi on Software Estimation Best Practices, Tools & Techniques

http://bit.ly/1MHDzeJ

Murali used his wishes to state that estimators need a better grasp and understanding the concepts of productivity and scheduling.

SPaMCAST 69 - Kevin Brennan on Business Analysis

http://bit.ly/1WERB2V

Kevin answered a different question and discussed the message he would share with a C-Level executive to describe why business analysis is important to them.

If you enjoyed the snippets please use the links to listen to the whole interviews.  Next week 2010! 

Categories: Process Management

Five Immutable Principles of Project Success

Herding Cats - Glen Alleman - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 15:34

All successful projects adhere to these five immutable principles during the lifecycle of the design, development, deployment, and operation. These principles are independent of any project or program domain or context in that domain. They are also independent of any project management method or product development method, including agile.

They ask five questions that must have credible answers that establish the foundation for success. Without credible answers to these 5 questions, the project has little hope of success.

This paper is the basis of the book, Performance-Based Project Managementand a review from Max Wideman

So if you hear some unsubstantiated conjecture like ... decisions can be made without estimating ask how any or all of the 5 immutable principles can be met?

 

Related articles Principles Trump Practices Managing in Presence of Uncertainty Domain and Context Are King, Then Comes Process and Experience
Categories: Project Management