Linking the left brain and the right brain

10 Simple Rules for Better Daily StandUps

One aspect of Scrum that’s controversial is the daily standup. Some people just hate any group event that remotely resembles a meeting. Sitting, standing, kneeling … it doesn’t matter. Having to wait around and listen to others jibber-jabber when there’s work to be done can be beyond annoying. However, there are many developers and testers […]

Collaborative Team Behaviors Have to Be Nurtured

Great software development teams don’t just materialize as if beamed in by a Star Trek transporter. They can’t be formed by managers who hand-pick the “best and the brightest” to work on a critical project either. Great teams form when people are challenged and have to think for themselves. Here’s a simple example. Let’s say […]

5 Ideas for Engaging Business People in Your Software Project

Getting the business stakeholders and end users to actively participate in a software development project can be tough. They are accustomed to submitting software requests and receiving working software several months later. They don’t like the process or the lengthy wait time but they’ve been conditioned to expect it. Once the software arrives (which doesn’t […]

Managing Requirements Is Not Just for Dummies

I just finished reading “Requirements Definition & Management for Dummies” by Robert D. Schneider, Tony Higgins and Keith Barrett. The eBook is being freely distributed by Blueprint Software Systems (registration required). While it’s intended to draw attention to Blueprint’s requirements management software, it’s not just marketing literature. The book makes some good points. Much of […]

Scrum Isn’t the Problem But You Might Be

Some people claim that Scrum is incomplete, unpredictable and chaotic. Sadly, it’s all true and the same can be said about waterfall, Kanban, Lean, XP and every other approach to building software systems. People making such comments are looking for a step-by-step approach to guaranteed software development success. (If I could define such an approach, […]

Software Projects Can Be Like Combat and Scope Is the DMZ

Change of scope. I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before. In some companies, it’s ubiquitous. In fact, some project managers love scope changes because they offer opportunities to adjust the schedule. The sinister sister of scope changes is “scope creep”. What is scope creep? It’s a risk faced by projects that try to lock down […]

Successful Team Building Is an Agile Process

You’ve likely heard of Tuckman’s stages of group development. If you haven’t, there’s a nice summary on Wikipedia. I’d to focus your attention on ways to accelerate the team-building process for software development teams. Tuckman articulates four stages of team building — forming, storming, norming and performing. In the forming stage, most people tread carefully. […]

To Build Better Software, Exploit the Fun Factor

I’d like to draw a couple of analogies between software development and learning a new skill such as playing the piano or speaking a new language. Bear with me and hopefully you’ll gain new insights into the benefits of agile development over waterfall development. Have you ever taken piano lessons? Or, have you ever taken […]

Risk Creates Speed Bumps on the Road to Done

4 Risk Categories Are All You Need Worry About Have you ever been involved in the software project from hell? Many of us have. The project begins with plenty of enthusiasm and optimism. Goals are defined. Staffing is assigned. Delivery dates and budgets are handed out. Everyone’s excited. But somewhere along the road to done […]

Sometimes You Have to Break the Sprint Rules

Here’s an all-too-common scenario in agile software development projects. You’ve defined fixed-length sprints. They are 4, 6 or 8 weeks long. The team is well into a sprint when the product owner shows up and says something like “We have to add another story to this sprint. The business will reject the software unless we […]

Are No Estimates the Solution to Bad Estimates?

#NoEstimates. Is it the latest agile software development trend or meaningless hype? Your guess is as good as mine. It’s an interesting question that deserves closer examination. The general premise is that software estimates are unreliable. They are usually overly optimistic and are often grossly inaccurate. So is it better to avoid all the work […]

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