Ok, the crypto space is well known for whitepapers (Many vacuous, most lacking any meaningful business linked detail, where even more of them are just vague (fluffy/pie in the sky stuff- wtf )). What is really annoying to most of us in the crypto space is a lack of detailed road maps (hard/'locked down' scope and date commitments to their communities).
No Worthy RoadMap? This could be your project's fate...
If there ever was a #Shitcoin qualifying point, lack of a worthy #RoadMap with "no meat on the bone" is it.
Summed up, any crypto offer out there with no date and scope regarding their Road Map feature/function commitments should really be worried about becoming classified as a Shitcoin.
Not good, hard to recover from that.
Many of us ask "Why is the Crypto Market generally devoid of Decent Road Map Detail with no real/believable date and scope commitments to their communities?"
The "Lack of a Decent Road Map" Answer ? (at least my plausible one..,)
"It's because most crypto projects have open source distributed communities of developers, most of which behave like 'tentative' cats (having multiple development lives on the go at any given time). Being developer cats, they are also extremely tough to 'herd' in the same direction at the same time, given the part time developer "parking" going on beside many of these crypto projects is largely dictated by their own personal calendar and set of priorities. End result, most crypto roadmap delivery dates keep 'creeping' further out in time, with ever changing scope. Frankly the crypto market has over promised and under delivered across many projects big and small. " TK
Solution? For most crypto projects, they simply don't bother to engage in the roadmap exercise seriously, doing so at their own peril, imo.
TK rant- (Don't get me started on the largely "MIA" QA/Test, Release Management Staff which pervades the entire crypto industry, as "Quality" for most in the crypto space is a foreign term ( or it just means built-in unit testing), hence the reason many of these projects hide behind the "beta" and "research" or "R&D" labels. and can not often make a commitment.
Does IOTA's RoadMap 2020 really Stand out? : It's a start on the Road to (crypto market) "Road Map Redemption".
#IOTA's holiday 'present' to their community of "faithfuls" in late 2019, came in the form of a 2020 Road Map which in it's new form, does take some huge steps forward to "Up the Game of Roadmaps" here.
First, my Kudos to IOTA for the improved transparency of their 2020 roadmap, which clearly shows exactly where the Iota Foundation "IF" want to go in 2020 and, when they want to complete specific components. Extra Kudos from moi to IOTA for placing some additional resources, both full and part time, on the RoadMap effort to achieve these new levels of "useful" transparency.
Everyone's a Critic, especially me, when it comes to Crypto Project Road Map and Release Documentation
As an 'old' Developer, Software Architect, Solutions Architect as well as a 'bona fide" Commercial Software QA and Release Manager (check my public CV here), this post shares with you my thoughts on whether or not IOTA can reach their Road Map goals on time, delivering full value, within the scope of features they have outlined in each Component 'timeline' of their new IOTA Roadmap 2020.
TK Note- Worse yet I have spent about 1/3 of my career living on the "dark" side of many a startup (fresh baked and maturing), having worked in both Direct & Indirect Sales as well as OEM Business Development, listening to both the demands of channel partners and customers while doing "battle" (on their behalf) with product or service 'owners' deftly "shielding" development and QA teams (and DevOps staff) from the twin 'evils' of salesperson and customer 'ideas'. (read: sources of extra work in the form of change requests, bug fixes, new feature requests, documentation corrections, 'free' training' and plain old "venting" AND oh yeah, the best sources for developing a competitive advantage).
I also comment on the order of IOTA Road Map priorities and the relative resourcing level and quality of resourcing to help the reader/investor/developer decide for themselves whether or not IOTA can deliver on time and within the scope of each feature they mention.
Finally I score everything out of 10 (10 being Best). Keep in mind nobody gets a 10 from me in the crypto space, when it comes to documentation, as I apply commercial Fintech software development and QA/Test documentation standards in a "Rational" way.
OK, so let's have a look @ the IOTA Road Map for 2020 under this critical lens, to help us better understand their development transparency, velocity, resourcing AND, whether or not IOTA makes a good investment, right now for 2020. :)
A. IOTA Road Map Organization: Big Improvement, Big on detail, Big on Layer 'n Links to Blog Posts ;/ 7 out of 10 up 4 points..
Let's call IOTA's Road Map effort what it largely is, a re-packaging of the older IOTA Road Map at a high level linked to existing sources of information. The IOTA Road Map 2020 is presented as a visual "interactive" web page of component timelines which clearly identifies the components of the project and the progress to date within recorded start and projected finish dates. All good for tech and investment surfers.
After that, get out your "mental" shovels, because you will have to read/dig a lot to really understand what IOTA is up to in 2020. The cognitive part is especially challenging for first time readers, as they must spend some serious reading time "connecting the dots" within and between various web pages before you gain a clear understanding of what is really going on. On acquiring a 7 out of 10 for organization only, keep in mind earlier versions of IOTA's Roadmap I had pegged at 3 out of 10. Tracking what was going on via their various website pages and their discord server was frankly a chore in 2019, chock full of often cryptic comments and emotional musing, so a big improvement, and step in the right direction in the Road Map Organization category has been made by IOTA. Thank you.
Hints for IOTA Road Map "Organization" improvement?
1 Please attach Acceptance Plans "AP" to the time lines, where AP requirements are stated as Test Case Pass/Fail metrics within a use case scope
Try Using an "RFC" like format as applied by the IETF, recently and loosely adopted by the ETH community will go along way to formalizing the AP requirements
2 Keep the viewer on the same page, so more work is required in the HTML5 department, which means adding some skills to the IOTA public web development team
B. IOTA Road Map Substance: Under the Hood. Hmm. Some like it raw, in blog or post form }:| 4 out of 10 up 1 point
Once you get re-directed to a new page with a very high high level description of the component waiting for you, your quest for more transparency and detail to help you connect the dots is left to links to other IOTA websites found either the main site or the recently minted IOTA.cafe or even worse the dreaded public github link.
While this Road Map Interactive "Surfer" approach is OK for the investor/tech surfer to get a quick "feel" for IOTA 'project velocity' and component 'ETA', and maybe a peak at the "value" being delivered, such a roadmap format falls way short of what it takes IMO to present a quality roadmap to the technical reader/developer to support an educated technical and/or investment decision properly (ID the risk as choke points, challenge/skill mismatches, etc, then assess per your own risk curve, as to what to do next).
If there is an issue, please first reduce the issue's symptoms, likely root cause and potential fix to English in simple layman terms first, please and then categorize the effort, which means re-write the "layman's version" properly as a CR- Change Request, NFR- new Feature Request or BF- BugFix and link it to the RoadMap Layer 2 of your Interactive Road Map.
Visual UML and ITIL support is fine after that, with Github the proper home for that 'stuff'.
This is where a public facing version of JIRA "as a Service" (or similar) might be a valid part of any crypto project's Road Map future, feeding/linking layer 2 in IOTA's case.
The Earlier 2019 "layer of IOTA Road Map detail " earned from me a 3 out of 10, in that the technical reader is left largely to his own devices to hunt through the documentation , IOTA cafe and IOTA discord server to find what they are looking for, in addition to hunting through videos on Youtube, code and code comments on Github, or several articles found on Medium. Really IOTA's layer 2 Roadmap information is a veritable "hodgepodge treasure trove" of tech data links, and I feel like I am locked in the game "Where in the world is Carmen Santiago" .
Frankly I expected more from IOTA is this regard. IOTA have some very senior/seasoned commercial Software Development and Integration people on the team that do know better, all of which who IMO are largely focused on developing code only. Lots of room for improvement here. Tic toc.
Hints for "Substance" Improvement:
3 Commit to a proper Content Management System under which the Road Map is the Top Layer and Second Layer linked to your Documentation Pages
4. Document, with written summaries at a minimum AND Link in IF and Community YouTube Videos and Medium Articles
5. Add in a Requirements Layer driven by baseline use cases, primary, secondary and exception, operational and non-operational
6. Create an Acceptance plan framed by test cases matched to the use cases
(clearly defined scope of features/functions/value to be delivered, with test case metric)
TK Combined Road Map Quality Score (equally weighted) 5.5 out of 10
RoadMap Technical Challenges: Many components, a few key language builds, 4 core key markets, Mixed Staffing
IOTA has a lot going on, and while the community is large, arguably the largest crypto centric community in the EU, the actual IOTA Foundation core team is small, made up at last count, in October, of about 20 people, virtually all of them developers. spread out mainly across multiple time zones in Berlin, Eastern Europe, Western North America (Canada and the USA), and Asia Pacific.
That said, the IOTA community membership is large, with some really well financed large players parked at the edge of the IOTA project, staffed in some cases with paid full time contributors who are used to working in commercial software settings. IOTA's community is committed and engaged with the Core Team, having contributed key functionality which has become part of the mainstream IOTA Node offer.
With the exception of co-founder Peter Popov, who is a senior talented mathematician largely focused on pure research and who is a "non-programmer", the other founders have different focuses, one being ternary hardware design and fabrication ( David Sonstebo), one has retreated "arm's length" to stay focused on developing games which will operate (@Comefrombeyond aka Sergey Ivancheglo) on top of the IOTA DIstributed Ledger and make use of IOTA currency and, one largely acting as the public spokesperson spin doctor (Dominic Schiener) with a decent early pioneer developer background focused on cryptocurrency, blockchain and distributed ledgers.
Underneath the four founders is a uniform layer of very competent senior and accomplished business, Legal and technical managers guiding the core team members which are 75% development staff, and 25% BD/Marketing/support staff which can be located on linkedin here
The latter group also interfaces with the Community through the IOTA "EcoSystem" Fund managed by the IF to fund worthy IoT and IOTA market focused projects via grants to such worthy projects submitted by IOTA community members working to advance the code capabilities of IOTA. The BD team also from time to time, loosely connects to members of the IOTA Evangelist Community by IOTA Discord server, email, chat and screen share/video conferencing.
In the IOTA Fund sense, IOTA can guide development of the community via the IOTA fund, herding developer cats towards the four market focus IOTA have at the moment, a practice in the crypto space which is gaining more and more traction generally across all the big projects (squeezing out the little projects, no matter how worthy in the process, follow the money baby! gotta keep those lights turned on and the water running!)
One year ago IOTA had multiple development streams assigned to 1 or 2 individuals. Many people full and part time have been added since in the last year as IOTA "puts their foot on the gas" to speed the adoption of IOTA's distributed permissionless public ledger technology, cryptocurrency (also called IOTA) and the upcoming 'layer' of functionality to be added to all node types for Quorum based distributed computing called #QUBIC
As of October (roughly) these "islands" of development have been re-grouped and consolidated around the IRI IOTA reference Implementation which makes up the Node Software in the "Blockchain" DAG Directed Acyclic Graph based permission-less public distributed ledger IOTA calls the #TANGLE. The biggest integration has been consolidating the early #QUBIC work which supports IOTA's version of Smart contracts in qubic form, essentially compute jobs attached to the DL "Distributed Ledger" which are completed by a Quorum of IOTA Nodes during an Epoch, in some cases receiving inputs from Oracles" or other completed qubic jobs to produce output attached to the DL.
TK's Resource Assignment Assessment for IOTA's 2020 RoadMap:
Can they Do it? yes. On time? Maybe. With Quality? Time (and support fix response) will tell.
IOTA IMO has a manageable list (under 10) of timeline component functions within the IOTA Road Map Main Page which appear to be staffed adequately with at least 2 core members per component. In general the scope of each component looks to be within the capabilities of the IOTA core team and/or contributing/assigned/funded community members.
A few of the core team are "arm's length" contractors, maybe 3 or 4 at most , paid by the IF.
Examining IOTA under a Linkedin Search, shows the IOTA Foundation with over 100 members, really 75 or more are part of the foundation but have full-time work elsewhere, and get paid some sort of fee to help out via the IF. As a result, it's hard to get a feel for developer "bench time" versus actual productive development time.
Realistically these part timer IF members are at a maximum, spending 50% of their time working on IOTA specific tasks, so it's reasonable to use this 50% number as an average to gauge "bench strength" which looks to be about 60 "full-time" developers. Given there are 9 component timelines, we can on average assume there are 4 to 8 people working on each timeline, with some timelines getting more attention and some getting less. My past experience tells me these small teams are easily managed and highly productive, so development velocity should be generally very good, given the quality/energy of the individual team members. ( I have been following IOTA closely since October 2017)
IOTA and IoT: A Serious Match
Based IOTA's upcoming support for ASIC & FPGA in binary and ternary form for "low powered" IoT devices,
Is IOTA really building the Machine2Machine Economy (Industry 4.0)?
I would say so, IOTA should deliver on the above advances for IoT, sooner rather than later. (Doing so quicker than most other IoT Industry 4.0 challengers)
IOTA is definitely the crypto "distributed permissionless public ledger" centered technology leader focused on IoT related use cases in Energy, Smart Communities, Automotive and Manufacturing .
IOTA add the important and interesting 'twist' of building an easy to use and understand developer Script language for their QUBIC Distributed Compute and Smart Contract Layer called Qupla, to help those building IoT devices to easily connect to IOTA's DL TANGLE and make use of IOTAs as a form of transaction settlement between machines and/or people.
Qupla (which looks a bit like JS or Solidity to the seasoned developer) compiles to an "FPGA ready", intermediate, compiled flow programming language,newly minted by IOTA (soon to be available beyond test implementations, likely by end of 2020) called ABRA which is designed to operate directly on binary (with a ternary2binary on the fly conversion) or ternary hardware SANS (without) the need of jumping through Verilog 'hoops'. Operating in 'ternary' (Trinary to some) means Binary Quantum Computer hacks are by definition shut out of the IOTA world of IoT, something the Utilities should pay more attention to, plus such IoT devices running on pure ternary hardware will use 35%-50% less energy.
Interestingly EPRI, the shared R&D arm of the Energy market worldwide, is aware of IOTA and hopefully they come around to making use of IOTA in their proof of concept projects for their Utility members, as EPRI represent the "new tech try it out" R&D front end for the majority of the utilities generating power in the USA and Canada and increasingly more utilities in other parts of the world, power generators, transmitters and distributors looking to economize their R&D budgets while receiving maximum tech & revenue benefits in return should be pushing EPRI in IOTA's direction. It's a good match. ;).
IOTA Road Map Completion Prognosis for 2020: Each Component(9) Timeline is Doable, give or take 4 to 12 weeks, per time line
IOTA is going places where no other project dare to go in the crypto space.
That is, IOTA enables IoT devices to attach and manage communications and transactions over the #TANGLE DL, where each IoT device is solving puzzles twice (two existing DL attached transaction validations) with not a lot of compute power WHILE scaling TPS "Transactions Per Second" performance in a near linear way, using DAG technology integrated with PoW and PoS consensus and cumulative trust weighting previously approved transactions (WHEW that is a mouthful of tech babble).
For really weak devices with almost zero compute punch, IOTA IoT devices which to communicate data up to the TANGLE can use a proxy node to act on their behalf ( ie low cost sensors communicating to an IOTA Oracle Gateway).
Why is any of this IOTA Road Map important?
Such IOTA capabilities, for the first time, truly enable the Machine 2 Machine Economy, without human intervention, doing so @ scale (lots of TPS using not a lot of power and compute resources). Machines paying Machines, earning income for investors/owners of Machines.
IOTA Addressable Market? It's Huge, Energy First, together with Automotive & Smart Communities, a sound "three pronged" Go2Market Strategy
Well, given the Utility power generation market is the largest most capital intense market in the world measured in multiple Trillions, we can expect such a market to be interested in protecting and monetizing our power grid more efficiently, so IOTA integrators will definitely get a slice of those Trillions, given the EMP blast 'angst' all power generators have these days. (Frankly #ratepayers should also be cheering on IOTA as well, as nobody wants the public power grid to go down for any length of time).
Utilities (Energy) is just one market for IOTA. Automotive may have the glitz and glamour, however the real money for developers is in energy market integrations of IOTA, as one of the major IOTA use cases for Automotive is actually a power grid edge primary use case, charging up the EV or AV.
Hold, Sell or Buy?: IOTA is likely to deliver on their 2020 promises, by no later than 4Q 2020, so for me IOTA is a BUY
The reason I hedge my delivery dates with IOTA, which skews many of their timelines to end of 2020, is quite simple. It's software development, so whatever some developer tells you no matter how smart, it's those secondary and exception use cases which balloon the workload, all necessary to create real value (works even when network of nodes is partly broken/unreachable, nodes are turned off/on unpredictably, communication and TPS "Transaction Per Second" traffic volumes/swarms, etc..).
In order to get a decent degree of quality (few if any bugs, all of which can be fixed rapidly without much impact), testing can easily double in terms of manpower and workload requirements to get that quality. Given IOTA's European roots and general management conservatism, imo IOTA will (more than their North American cousins) restrain themselves from using the "customers" as the beta guinea pig.
So when the IOTA live production network goes live with Qnodes (Smart Contracts, Computing Jobs a Qubic Layer added to what is now called Bee ) and 'Hornet' Nodes later in 2020, I expect the quality to be there (few bugs, works as advertised and is well staffed to fix bugs fast). To see the number of IOTA Nodes operating worldwide look here
IOTA Road Map Improvements?: Ok Surprise me, with a 7 out of 10, please. (by end of 2020)
I look for a little more "meat on the bone" in the next iteration of the IOTA Roadmap (Layer 2/Web page 2 detail), to first arrive some time in the summer of 2020.
Taking a bit more info from the monthly development updates to better describe progress made and adding such info to the interactive roadmap will do much to better inform both the investor and developer.
The IF core team have a lot on their plate, and not much QA staff and documentation staff to help them out, nor has IOTA to date demonstrated the commercial Fintech rigor required to produce such suggested(see above) IOTA Road Map documentation improvements directly from their small development teams to make the IOTA Road Map detail any better than the current IOTA Road Map information.
But yet again, maybe IOTA surprises me, come this summer of 2020. Time will tell. IOTA are a spirited, determined bunch, working round the clock across the globe to get it done.
Full disclosure, I own no IOTA crypto-currency at the time of this writing, however I do think it's a good time for any interested crypto investor to buy MIOTA, at least before the end of January 2020. After that I expect a duplication in general of the Jan to June ramp up we saw in the 2019 Crypto Market, starting at BTC US $ 7200 and heading upward (barring any worldwide disasters), potentially doubling by end of June (see my previous post here), which is more than likely to drag IOTA with it.
Here's to 2020 IOTA Success!
TK over and out