Better Software Magazine Archive: September 2008

IN THIS ISSUE

Keys to Top-Notch Estimates
By Howard Smallowitz
George Stark

If the construction industry estimated projects as poorly as the IT industry does, we would still be living in mud huts. Yet inaccurate project estimates have become the norm in the software industry. Find out how you can turn your estimates into reasonable predictions of project performance.

Is ''Agile'' Distracting You?
By Jonathan Kohl

If a process tool or service claims to be agile it must be good, right? Not necessarily. The term "agile" has become abused and, since we don't have a standard dictionary definition, it is open to interpretation. So, let's look beyond the label to what really matters—value.

A Culture of Trust
By Pollyanna Pixton

So, you've been asked to take over the leadership of a struggling, disconnected team. Now what? Create a culture where the building of trust between team members is fostered, flourishes, and thrives--where people who have not begun to trust each other can discover the possibility.

From Here to Acceptance Test-Driven Development
By Antony Marcano

Acceptance test-driven development (ATDD) means different things to different people based on their experiences—from "It's all about testing" to "It has nothing to do with testing,” and from "TDD, ATDD—it's all the same" to "TDD and ATDD are nothing alike." These nine landmarks will help you navigate ATDD no matter where you are coming from.

So, You've Got a Problem: Crafting Remarks and Abstracts for Defect Reports
By Kelly Whitmill

Software defect reports are among the most important deliverables to come out of software testing. They are as important as the test plan and will have more impact on the quality of the product than most other deliverables from the software test team. It's worth the effort to learn how to write an effective defect report that conveys the proper message and simplifies the process for everyone.

Idioms and Idiosyncrasies
By Pete Goodliffe

As programmers, we are not merely engineering drones; we are also artisans. The act of programming involves as much artistry as it does technicality. When we craft great software, we naturally use language idioms help to show the elegance, beauty, and artistry of a piece of code. But sometimes the desire for beautiful idiomatic code can trip us up.

It's in the Way That You Use It
By Michael Bolton

Rapid testers don't think of test automation merely as something that controls a program and checks for some expected result. Instead, we think of test automation as any use of tools to support testing. With that definition in mind, it may not be the most obvious automation tool that is the most useful.

Exit, Stage Left
By Patrick Bailey

Many technology workers are drawn to the industry from seemingly unrelated professions. Don't underestimate the importance of a liberal arts education and general life experiences to the technology field. These workers can bring a lot of value and wisdom to your team.

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