I love to write. At age six, my sister and I were disgusted to think that our little brother could possibly start pre-school without being able to write his own name. We set about immediately to remedy the situation.
I have spent the last several days writing stories. Now, in software development, there are several versions of stories. There are backlog stories which are a sentence or two long and look something like this:
"As a user, I can make changes to my profile so that my e-mail account will remain updated."
The "so that" is rather critical, even though the above example isn't the best "so that." Software engineers then take these stories and decide what they need to do to make that story happen. There are also epics, which are similar to a book, and the stories are chapters within that book. The Epic might describe the entire profile experience, and within that experience, individual stories tell about a user or administrator's interaction with the profile.
I have been writing the best kind of stories. This is where I take a marketing segment, turn it into a single person, and walk right through that person's life. I literally tell what that person's day is like - - BEFORE they use our software. It's not as easy as it sounds. I have to consider all of the value propositions we have in store for them, and then I get to tell how that person's life is oh, so much better AFTER they use our software!
That has been a fabulous experience, because I get to weave in all of these factual elements about real research and real experiences. It is very thrilling, and I confess, one of my favorite parts of software development!
Another success story, I also serve on a credentialing commission, ICAPGen. I was asked to run in an election over a year ago, and was elected by a majority vote. (Secret: I didn't vote for myself.) My assignment was to help with the development of a new website, or at least the implementation of a newish website. It's a long story. After several months of meetings, we finally settled on a designer. Her first designs, like most, weren't quite what the commission expected or wanted. I spent the next couple of weeks fighting back the commission's suggestion to come up with a design committee. Fact: if you have a good designer, you give the designer suggestions and feedback, and they come back with what you want, or at least a closer version of that. If instead you get a committee together to create some designs and try to have the designer implement those designs, failure is inevitable. Design by committee is usability suicide.
Well, she pulled through for me, and came up with some fabulous designs, and after a little direction with the committee on the types of feedback necessary to make further improvements, we have an excellent set of suggestions for our designer to use for additional iterations. This computer science background is really coming in handy on many levels. One of my initial motivations for getting this degree was to help provide clarity to those without technical knowledge, and as I move down this path, I am beginning to notice that the gap between technology and genealogy is wider than the Grand Canyon. I believe we can build a bridge, but it will certainly take time.