I’m missing a virtual talk with Edward Snowden for this, so let’s hope it’s good…
What is a Niche Community?
A team with a very specific focus. At NASA, they’re doing deep scientific research or engineering work that might be unique to the entire organization. Teams can be from several hundred people to just a couple dozen.
The work they do is for the ground teams that support the astronauts and the spacecraft that they use. They’re usability and software professionals and they contribute their expertise to the overall cause through their design and development lab.
They help engineers efficiently and reliably capture and share data they generate through software.
Safety in Space!
Example, can we bring an iPad into space? Well, first they figure out all the possible things that could go wrong. Glass could shatter, battery could explode, etc. They have to document every possibility so the engineers can prepare for everything. Engineers would try to determine how to control these problems, then they send those ideas to a laboratory who would test the possible solutions for viability.
They want to make sure that they’re adapting the technology to the process, and not the process to the technology. Engineers used to work on paper because that was the most advanced way to document things, but now they have the ability to develop their own software that can help make their processes more efficient.
They often receive documentation from these smaller communities for how they work or how their process plays out, and these guys are tasked with creating software solutions to help them work more efficiently. They do this by creating process flow models that demonstrate the pain points and helps guide them internally to make sure that they’re actually understanding the process thoroughly.
Skipping out on the rest of this one in lieu of the other ballroom… more soon.