Short Projects Aren’t Necessarily Agile

In my last post, I discussed getting the waste out of your existing software development process. The idea is to get lean and use the leaner process as a stepping stone to becoming more agile. Let’s continue that discussion. So now that your project approach is leaner — streamlined — what next? Many companies are […]

Can’t Be Agile? Start With Lean Instead.

Many people want to try agile software development techniques but they just can’t convince enough other people in the company to give them a try. Making the situations more complex, even if most agree that agile development is the way to go, they can’t agree on which agile techniques to apply — Scrum, Kanban, XP, […]

Your IT Department Has Outlived Its Usefulness

It’s time to blow up the Information Technology (IT) department as we know it. It has outlived its usefulness and over-stayed its welcome. It just doesn’t work any more. Say goodbye. The proponents of agile development, devops and Scrum, myself included, are getting no where fast. It’s not the fault of IT departments per se. […]

Bad Officiating Happens in Business Too

Watching an NFL football game and seeing my favorite team lose as a direct result of the officiating got me thinking about the effect of too much management intervention in software development. So here’s what happened. I was watching the (NFL) football game on Sunday between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. […]

Lessons Learned from Blackberry’s Decline and Fall

Enterprise-scale companies invest a lot of time and money in preserving and protecting what works — or more correctly, what they believe works. It’s this preserve-and-protect mentality that makes switching software development approaches so difficult. After having invested so much in training, documentation and tools for software development, these companies are understandably reluctant to make […]

Sprint Work Efforts Have To Be Sustainable

There’s a natural tendency on many agile software development teams to rush the work effort near the end of a sprint. Let’s face it, a deadline is a deadline. The team commits to completing a set of stories during the sprint. They work hard and often scramble near the end to keep their commitments. There’s […]

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 […]

Is a Sprint in Scrum a Project?

Focus on the product not the project. We use the term “project” a lot in software development circles. One person might be building a small desktop application or a massive group of teams might be implementing an enterprise solution. They are both projects. Neither the development approach nor the technology suite matters. Ultimately, anything can […]

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 […]

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 […]