Category: People

Happy Agile People Build Good Agile Teams

2013 is winding down and businesses around the globe are making plans (or have made them) for 2014. Most of those plans will be poorly defined and lacking in clear objectives. Rather than focus your energy on things beyond your control, focus on you. Would you like your software development team and your company to […]

Stop and Think About Your Assumptions

What are you assuming? Every software development project contains many assumptions. Often, they’re obvious things like “the software has to operate in Windows 7 using IE 9 or above”. Yet at times, they’re not quite so obvious like “the software has to be written in Java”. The problem with assumptions is simply that they are […]

You Might Be a Bottleneck If…

You know what a bottleneck is, right? In this context, a bottleneck is a stage in a process where progress is retarded or blocked. Bottlenecks can slow down software development teams to the point where failure becomes imminent. Bottlenecks are all too common. They can be caused by anyone who tries to do the right […]

Dysfunctional Teams Never Deliver Great Software

Technologists love to argue and it’s really easy to start an argument. Here goes — my software development approach is better than yours! My approach has a better success rate. My approach delivers better results. It works for me so it’s the approach that everyone has to use. Only an idiot would develop software any […]

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, […]

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 Change, You need to Learn AND Unlearn

The challenge isn’t learning new things. It’s unlearning old ones. Change is all but doing something differently, which requires learning something new. No problem, right? Life is learning. But there’s a flip side to change. You have to unlearn something old. You need to stop doing something you’ve learned to do. If you’re not particularly […]

How to Do Less and Deliver More

Have you ever had a manager ask you to “do more”? Or maybe he skipped the politeness and just told you to “do more”? It usually happens after you’ve indicated that you have too much to do — too many projects, too many tasks, and not enough time. Rather than offer help, all the manager […]

Don’t Just Change the Rules, Change the Game

Several studies have shown superior software development success rates when using an agile approach like Scrum or Kanban versus a waterfall approach. Does using a waterfall approach to develop software cause many projects to fail? Conversely, does using an agile approach cause projects to succeed? I wish it was that simple. Ultimately people cause projects […]

Hire the Best People By Focusing on What Matters

In my post “Don’t Just Prioritize User Needs, Prioritize the Process Too”, I discussed the need to prioritize the elements and artifacts of the software development process. In this post, I’m turning my attention to the hiring process. When your team needs to bring another developer on board, what do you look for? If yours […]

Don’t Ask Me What I Want, Give Me What I Need

I don’t know about you, but scenarios like the following happen to me all too often. I meet with the business stakeholders and representatives of the user community to discuss changes to a software application. We discuss new features and/or changes to existing ones. They give me a general idea of what they want. I […]