Software Development in 140 Characters or Less

July 6th, 2009

by Jeffrey Barrett*
Recently, I was talking with a colleague, from the technical department here at BurrellesLuce, about techniques for communicating organizational responsibilities efficiently. I also had a conversation, with another business colleague, about effectively communicating a feature list. I realized these are very similar problems. In both instances, it boils down to easy-to-understand communication -short, simple explanations of a responsibility or a feature.

post-its_49915119_47670f570e.jpgWhile there are details behind the introductory text that are important to present, I believe you need that one-liner to really capture the essence of what you are trying to convey. Then the reader can decide when to dive into the details.

In the past, I would open up FreeMind (a java based application designed to map ideas when brainstorming). I’d start by dumping out my thoughts, then edit them to form a concise sentence pertaining to a distinct responsibility or feature. Now, a sentence is no longer good enough – my goal is to communicate in 140 character Twitter-like snippets, following Rands (author of the blog In Repose), whose sage advice seems to apply to these subjects.

The act of refining a statement to 140 characters demands clear thinking and precise communication – and it aids our drive for quality. We are determined to carry that process all the way through to our clients. As we gain experience with 140 character communication, whenever we deliver a new feature, it will come with a Twitter-compliant introduction for our clients — communication professionals – to use. I believe if PR practitioners can learn to communicate effectively in 140 characters, so can other parts of a business. This experiment is a step in that direction for me.

*Bio: Currently I am the chief architect of BurrellesLuce 2.0, the portal used by thousands of PR professionals to monitor, share, organize, and measure online and print news. I started as a web developer for Merck & Company and I am an accomplished technologist with a focus on large scale system architecture and implementation. With over ten years of experience designing and deploying technical solutions for a wide range of companies, I most recently managed web projects for NBC Universal, where I delivered social networking applications and supported high traffic applications. Prior to that, I served as director of technology for Silver Carrot, a marketing firm, creating and delivering the technology that powered high-performance online campaigns. In my spare time, I enjoy reading about economics and anything that has to do with modeling social interaction and social media. LinkedIn: Jeffrey Barrett; Twitter: @BurrellesLuce; Facebook: BurrellesLuce

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