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Formats for Audio and Video on Church Web Sites Print E-mail
Written by Larry Richman   
Wednesday, 28 February 2007

The following are the standards for all new audio and video we provide on Church sites. (Not all current media files meet these standards, but all new media we create will meet these standards.)

Goals for 2007 Print E-mail
Written by Tom Welch   
Thursday, 01 March 2007

It has often been said that "a goal not written is only a wish." To that end I'd like to share with you a couple of the goals that we have set for 2007 for this Web site and for the LDS technology community.

In an address given to the young adults on October 18, 1981,  Elder M. Russell Ballard said:

"I would suggest that if you want to have success in the goal-setting process, you learn to write your goals down. I would even put them in a prominent place—on your mirror or on the refrigerator door" ("Go for It!" New Era, Mar. 2004,4). 

I can't think of a more prominent place for me to put these goals than on this Web site. I realize that in order for us to achieve these goals, we will need everyone's help and support.

Interviewing Print E-mail
Written by Joel Dehlin   
Monday, 05 March 2007

Whatever you think about the book Good to Great it’s hard to argue one of its premises–that great companies don’t exist without great people. I’m a believer.

In my experience a great engineer can be equal to two, three or even more average engineers. They have good attitudes. They’re productive. They do things right and minimize re-work. They’re not defensive. They communicate with others effectively. They look for things to do when they’ve got spare capacity. They’re easy to talk with. And they inspire others. I just love them. People like this are easily worth what their skills and experience demand in the market.

So how do you find them?

A Peculiar I.T. Shop Print E-mail
Written by Joel Dehlin   
Wednesday, 07 March 2007

In many ways the Church’s I.T. operations resemble those of a normal company:

  • Network systems
  • Email systems
  • Workflow applications
  • Financial & HR applications
  • Trainin

The Church is peculiar in that each of these systems is enormously more complicated than it might be for a typical company because each of them potentially supports millions of members of the Church, people who aren’t considered “employees.”

Tommy's Tips: Volume 1 Print E-mail
Written by Tom Welch   
Friday, 09 March 2007
While I was working at Linspire, Inc., serving as the CTO, I came up with a monthly article called "Tommy's Tips". The purpose of this article was to teach people some of the lesser-known features of the Linspire operating system. I thought that I would start the same tradition here.

Tip 1: New Posts

The forums are getting very busy and it is harder to keep up with all of the threads that have new posts. However, there is an easy way for you to see every post that has not been read.  Once you have logged in to the forums, simply click on the "New Posts" link inside of the navigation bar towards the top of the screen. This link will show you all posts that you have not read.  his is how I get through reading each and every post on the forums.

A Technology Buffet Print E-mail
Written by Tom Welch   
Friday, 16 March 2007

Within the Church ICS Department, we have a menu of technologies that are available to a team when working on a project. I call this menu the "technology buffet." Here is how the menu works. 

There are three general categories that govern each of the product categories. Those general categories are as follows:


Items within this category are technologies that are currently in use at the Church but that we no longer wish to use to implement new solutions. We will continue to support these technologies as long as the products that depend on them are in use.

Managing Complexity Print E-mail
Written by Pete Whiting   
Friday, 16 March 2007

A few weeks ago Joel warned you that there would be occasional guest posts - I am the first volunteer. The brief bio on should provide you with some understanding of my experience and biases. In this post, I leverage those experiences and biases to offer some observations about complexity.

Big Iron-y Print E-mail
Written by Joel Dehlin   
Friday, 23 March 2007

Scale. Reliability.

When you’re in enterprise I.T.  you care a lot about those words–sometimes too much.

Like most I.T. shops, we have a very complex environment: multiple hardware, os, database and programming languages. You’d expect a fair number of outages.

The Maintenance Monkey Print E-mail
Written by Joel Dehlin   
Thursday, 12 April 2007

Maintenance. Call it bug fixing. Call it “keeping the wheels on.” Call it warranty. Call it whatever you want.

Maintenance is a necessary evil. You’re never going to get the product perfect. So you’ll always be called upon to fix bugs. Typical large I.T. shops spend an extraordinary amount of effort on “maintenance.” Estimates range from 10% of labor budget to 70%. In the past our maintenance budgets have been in the 50% range. That seemed obscene to me so we checked into the actual work being done and learned a lot as we’ve struggled to reduce the amount of time and money we spend on maintenance. When thinking through how to reduce maintenance expenditure, I recommend consideration of the following:

Use great prototypes to narrow the “gap of misunderstanding” between you and your customer regarding scope before you start development. The practice we’re trying hard to implement is having Interaction Designers 6-8 weeks ahead of development before ever entering a Cycle/Milestone/Sprint/Release (or whatever you want to call it). So our “agility” comes from working back and forth with the customer on high fidelity prototypes. This substantially reduces the number of times a customer comes back after you’re already done, asking for some new feature they thought “was going to be included from the very beginning.”

Test, test, test! Don’t under-invest in your QA team or in automation. We made the mistake of under-investing for a long time and felt the pain. We’ve staffed a high quality QA team with many engineers who could easily be developers in our shop. We find many, many bugs before our customers do. We can do much better, but the improvements in QA have materially decreased the amount we spend on maintenance.

Pleasing the Customer(s) Print E-mail
Written by Joel Dehlin   
Monday, 14 May 2007
When I worked in the mobile devices division at Microsoft we had an ongoing discussion about who our customer was for our mobile device offerings:
  • The carrier (e.g. Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, etc.) upon whose network the device would run.
  • The OEM who would make the hardware (Dell, HP, Motorola, etc.).
  • The kid who would use it.
  • The parent who would buy it for the kid.
  • The department(s) within Microsoft which might profit from services sold through the device.
  • The random executive or product manager who had an opinion of what features should be on the device.
  • And of course: ourselves!

So which are the customers? Answer: All.

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