e-Talk Radio: Derby, Esther, 4 January 2001

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would you say your goals are for STQE for 2001?

Esther Derby: Well, we want to continue to provide that high-quality practical information, present a wide range of topics both from people who are in the consulting field and people who are actually employees of software companies on the line doing test management, testing and development management.

Carol Dekkers: Now you've seen--you've been involved with magazines for the last--the better part of the last year and I know that Brian Marick has been involved since, a couple of years anyway, and I know you've had some discussions with him and we've talked a little bit about some of the trends that you might have seen or that Brian has seen over the last three years at the magazine. What are kind of the emerging trends that you see or that you think are going to become fairly major in the area of software development?

Esther Derby: Well, you know this is like any situation, we have visibility to what we have visibility to, we don't see the entire span of the world--it's kind of like we're each seeing our piece of the elephant here, and when Brian and I talked about it we were struck by the number of things in the industry that haven't changed. There's really a lot of things that are kind of continuing as they have been over the last several years. Some of the things we do see changing over the last period of time is far more emphasis on light methodologies, small teams, and the kind of extreme programming model that has been quite visible in the media lately.

Carol Dekkers: Right. We had Kent Beck back on Dec. 5, on our final show in the last thirteen-week series and we've got actually two of the three "extremeos"--we have Ward Cunningham and Kent Beck, and we're hoping to line up Ron Jeffries to also be on the show, and we've got them scheduled for February 1, so I think they'll have some interesting things to say about how extreme programming meets measurement and just where extreme programming is going. You said you were stuck by the number of things that have changed, that the smaller teams--what's your feedback in terms of people working in smaller teams--has that helped with testability, has that helped better management?

Esther Derby: Well, I think the dynamic changes dramatically when you get a larger team. When you have a very small group, the quality of interaction tends to be higher, the communication tends to be a little more seamless. When you get a larger team, there's a natural tendency to fragment into subteams, and the communication necessarily becomes far more complex as well as the coordination of activities. So, keeping teams small tends to contribute to having a more manageable piece of work and a more manageable effort.

Carol Dekkers: Have you seen any trend in, towards the Capability Maturity Model? Are more companies embracing that or less companies embracing it, are more companies saying, you know, "We just don't care about standards--let's just go and build software"?

Esther Derby: You know, that's not one of the arenas where I have a lot of experience. I think the CMM is still very prevalent in organizations that are doing any kind of work with the government.

Carol Dekkers: Um hum.

Esther Derby: And they are now working on personal CMM type models that have to do with an individual software development process, as that fits within the overall organization.

Carol Dekkers: Right, but you haven't seen it really pervade the

About the author

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby

A regular StickyMinds.com and Better Software magazine contributor, Esther Derby is one of the rare breed of consultants who blends the technical issues and managerial issues with the people-side issues. She is well known for helping teams grow to new levels of productivity. Project retrospectives and project assessments are two of Esther's key practices that serve as effective tools to start a team's transformation. Recognized as one of the world's leaders in retrospective facilitation, she often receives requests asking her to work with struggling teams. Esther is one of the founders of the AYE Conference. She co-author of Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great. She has presented at STAREAST, STARWEST and the Better Software Conference & EXPO. You can read more of Esther's musings on the wonderful world of software at www.estherderby.com and on her weblog at www.estherderby.com/weblog/blogger.html. Her email is derby@estherderby.com.

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