Month: August 2013

Plans, Guesses and Illusions

Does the software project you’re currently working on have a plan? It doesn’t have to be an elaborate gantt chart — frankly, gantt charts are pretty worthless though they force us to think through a variety of project issues. It doesn’t have to be a massive missive either — no one reads those things anyway. […]

The Observer Effect Works But Not for Long

Have you ever heard of the observer effect? It’s the scientific principle asserting that observing a process or action has an effect on the outcome. For example, I’m sure you’ve felt the pressure of having someone stare at you while you’re trying to do something. If you let it get to you, it effects your […]

Microsoft Needs a New Beginning

Steve Ballmer has decided to retire from Microsoft — I’m sure it wasn’t voluntary. Many investors have long sought his resignation because Microsoft’s stock performance has lagged for a long time. In the last five years, Microsoft’s stock price is up about 25% while Apple’s is up 183% — 25% vs 183%. It’s long past […]

With Agile Software Development, Your Mileage Will Vary

Different types of organizations have different goals and priorities when developing software. That’s one of the major reasons why software developers disagree on development approaches and techniques. In this post, I’ll examine a few types of companies and how agile development techniques might apply to them. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to software development. The approach […]

Being Agile and Procrustean Don’t Mix

Scaling agile software development techniques to enterprise levels has plenty of challenges. Getting a small team — say 5 to 7 people — working together and building great software solutions happens regularly. Getting large teams — say 500 to 700 people — to do the same is an engineering feat that challenges our human abilities. […]

The 7 Benefits of Reducing Software Project Scope

Scope creep. Virtually every software project suffers from it. Development teams start out with elegant and simple ideas. They toss them around amongst themselves and get excited about the prospect of delivering great software. They engage more people in the effort such as business stakeholders, power users, and senior managers. As they do, features get […]

We Don’t Need To Be Smarter. We Need To Work Smarter.

Are software professionals smarter than other business professionals? At times, we seem to think we are but let’s examine that premise more closely. Consider this. National restaurant chains spend millions of dollars test marketing new menu items. For example, Burger King, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Olive Garden, and Taco Bell invest boatloads of time and money […]

Poor Quality Software Is Never Done

Defects. Every software package has them. Some defects are minor and don’t interfere with the operation of the system. Others are ugly, causing business users to lose data. Some are repeatable and consistent. Others are hard to replicate and tough to track down. Part of what makes defect repair so difficult is that we often […]

Technical Debt Often Plagues Legacy Software Systems

In a perfect world, every software development project would start with a clean slate — no existing code base, no established user community, and no outstanding defects. Wouldn’t that be sweet! It rarely happens. Most software projects start with a truckload of baggage — crappy code, impatient users, incomplete features, frustrating user experiences, slow performance, […]