Saturday, April 14, 2007

How Should a Web Team Work?

Try as I might I've found little research on how a corporate Web team should be structured. Should developers work directly with front-end designers? Should content producers be involved in architecture? Should anyone other than IT know what's going on with the servers? I work in an environment where each element of the Web site is handled by different departments:
  • Server maintenance
  • Hard-core development (applications, eCommerce, etc)
  • Database maintenance and development
  • Front-end design and architecture
  • Content development
  • E-mail marketing
  • Enterprise applications

These separate departments don't necessarily play well together and are rarely looped in on each others' plans or projects, operating largely in their own silos. Is this how it should be or should they all be under one, centrally-managed group?

How are other "Web Teams" structured? Bear in mind I'm not talking about agency Web teams, I mean Web teams internal to a corporation or association. These teams work together over the long haul and may evolve over time. They're not the streamlined, project-focused teams you'd find in agency and members may wear several hats and manage several different Web sites like intranets, extranets, external sites, enterprise applications, etc. They may be called on to handle the minutiae and whims of departments throughout the enterprise.

I've yet to see an optimal model for this kind of team, but I will keep looking.

12 Breeds of Client and How to Work with Them

Great list of client types and how to work with them. This is written for a Web design/tech audience, but can be applied elsewhere. Also, a commenter points to a similar article (in cartoon form even!)

12 Breeds of Client and How to Work with Them

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Gyroball

It's been a while since I've seen a new pitch introduced in baseball. Now, Daisuke Matsuzaka (aka "Dice-K"), a recent Japanese import for the Boston Red Sox has introduced American baseball to "The Gyroball." He's apparently one of the few players who can throw the pitch well enough to strike out professional hitters. Because of the arm motion required to get the proper spin, most pitchers can't throw it fast enough to get it by hitters. Apparently "Dice-K" is a rare talent.

For a complete scientific look at the pitch check out Bill Nye's article and to see it in action watch the video below. Very cool. Also, for a great guide to pitching check out "The Complete Pitcher."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My Mind Map Never Seems to Fold Properly

Since I'm in the process of taking a seminar on "Critical Thinking" which includes things like the Socratic Method and Mind Mapping, I thought I'd share a great Mind Mapping tool that I've discovered. It's called and it's a free online tool that helps you brainstorm ideas and build very snazzy Mind Map charts.

To see an example of a Mind Map, click on the image to the right, which is a map for building a tree house (and also proof that I have no idea how to build a tree house).

The interface is intuitive and Web 2.0ish so can get up and creating within a few seconds. The keyboard strokes are simple and brilliant. Don't expect a whole lot of customization like adding pictures or special icons, just really clean, attractive shapes.

If you want to save your work of mind art, you can register (name, email, password) and then not only save it, but collaborate with others on it. Mind Maps are probably best created in a room with everyone sitting around a screen or whiteboard, but I'm curious to see how this concept translates to individuals collaborating in non-real time.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Merlin Mann: Won't You Listen What the Mann Says

I think Merlin Mann will eventually, and perhaps begrudgingly become a star. Mann does 43 Folders, 5ives, and now The Merlin Show which so far has featured interviews with talented musicians floating just below the RADAR. He has a natural interview style and is genuinely funny and humble. Merlin also appears on the This Week in Tech fairly often and offers a witty yet usually positive counterpoint to the regulars.

Who Says There's No Free Lunch, or Free Books?

Friedbeef's Tech offers up the best places to get free books.