Category: Business

Software Teams Have to Manage Scarcity to Be Successful

Scarcity is fact of life. There’s never enough time or money to complete a software project — and that’s only the beginning. Every project runs out of something it critically needs. Here are a few things you might not have enough of: Time Money People Computers Storage Space Network Bandwidth Software Licenses Office Space Chairs […]

An Agile Dilemma – Stop Talking. Start Delivering.

A challenge awaits any IT group switching from a waterfall process to agile software development. It is often overlooked. It has to do with the mindset of the company’s business community and how they perceive IT. The business stakeholders and end users have historically complained about issues like the following: It’s difficult to get IT […]

Failure to Collaborate Threatens All Large Software Projects

There’s a famous quotation from the classic movie Cool Hand Luke that applies to many business situations; “What we’ve got here, is failure to communicate.” In many post-mortem evaluations of failed projects, inadequate communication is cited as a primary reason for team turmoil. Companies have responded by making it easier to communicate. Many of us […]

7 Warning Signs of Imminent Project Doom

Is your software project in trouble? Before you try to convince yourself that all is well, you should think carefully about the subtle clues I’m about to give you. Your project could be in much worse shape than you think. Software projects don’t march merrily along until suddenly one day all hell breaks loose and […]

You Can’t Be Agile If You’re Not Empowered

Do you feel empowered in your job? Many people don’t. A big part of agile software development — and business agility, in general — is empowering people to change their work environments. If you can’t change anything, you can’t be agile. You can only go with the flow, and hope for the best. By definition, […]

Define Audiences, Specify Outcomes, or Failure Will Stalk You

There are two areas of software development that are often overlooked or under emphasized. They are defining your target audience (or end-user personas) and specifying your promised outcomes (or business goals). We need to be specific about our target audiences and promised outcomes. It comes down to setting expectations. You can deliver what you documented […]

Scrum Doesn’t Scale. It Morphs.

Scrum doesn’t scale, at least not easily. In fact, waterfall doesn’t scale either. It degenerates into a phases and gates approach that guarantees bottlenecks and delays. Realistically, you can’t expect a large enterprise to develop software the same way a small organization does. In a large enterprise, there are many concurrent, overlapping projects. Managing integration […]

Don’t Build Bad Business Software With a Good Process

5 Steps for Avoiding the Perils of Building the Wrong Business Software Building an enterprise-scale software package is an expensive proposition under any circumstances. (The definition of enterprise scale for this post is any software package that requires a shared server and supports multiple users.) The real cost includes upfront payments, server costs, user training, […]

Are You Being Agile or Are You Writing Software?

Is your goal to be agile or to write software? Sorry. ‘Both.’ is the wrong answer! There needs to be a focus. Something has to have priority. You can’t serve two masters. Here’s why. Let’s say your team has used a waterfall (command-and-control) process for a while and is comfortable with it. The team has […]

Turn These Lean Times into a Strategic Advantage

Being agile is not simply about changing how you develop software. It’s also about how you conduct business. Today’s businesses have to think fast and act faster. Technology is a driver that can pull organizations to new heights but only if they abandon the past and embrace change. Here are five areas where changing the […]

The Software Must Be ‘Done’ by the Due Date

My examination of enterprise agile development based on the article I wrote for the Tools Journal called “10 Tips for Succeeding with Enterprise Agile Development” is nearly complete. Let’s talk about delivery dates…deadlines…schedules…drop-dead dates. Meeting dates is important. Let me repeat that — “Meeting dates is important.” Some agile development practitioners seem to believe that […]

Sacred Cows Often Stop Enterprise Agile Teams

My exploration of enterprise agile development continues with the topic of training and coaching — areas that are often overlooked or shorted. When transitioning from a command-and-control development approach like waterfall to an agile approach like Scrum or Kanban, there’s a tendency to oversimplify. After all, the rules governing agile development, particularly Scrum or Kanban, […]

Team Retrospectives Are Not Enough for Enterprise Agile

This post continues my exploration of what it takes to be successful with enterprise agile software development. The Scrum-of-Scrums only scratches the surface of what you’ll need to do. Let’s reconsider the role of the retrospective. Everyone practicing any agile development approach should recognize that regular retrospectives are a critical success factor. Teams need to […]

Automate Your Way to Enterprise Agile Success

As I continue to explore what it takes to achieve enterprise-scale agility, I have to admit that I’m a big proponent of automation. I know many advocate physical Scrum or Kanban boards but they don’t scale. They can be used at the small team level but you have got to leverage software solutions to scale […]