Better Software Magazine Articles

Two Cheers for Ambiguity

Some people dismiss words such as skill, diversity, problems, and mission as being too ambiguous to be useful. But one tester's ambiguity is another tester's gauge for assessing consensus on a project and how to achieve that consensus.

Michael Bolton's picture Michael Bolton
A Story About User Stories and Test-Driven Development: Into the Field

Drawing on real events from the authors' combined experience, this story picks up where it left off in the November 2007 issue and follows a fictional team as it encounters some of the pitfalls of using test-driven development.

Gertrud Bjørnvig's picture Gertrud Bjørnvig Neil Harrison
A Story About User Stories and Test-Driven Development: The Setup

While "testing" is part of its name, many TDD pundits insist TDD is not a testing technique, but rather a technique that helps to focus one's design thinking. Drawing on real events from the authors' combined experience, this story follows a fictional team as it encounters some of the pitfalls of using test-driven development.

The Whorfian Hypothesis

Benjamin Whorf hypothesized that the language we speak constrains the thoughts we can have. Learn how a well-developed organizational vocabulary can help increase the quality of your products.

Lee Copeland's picture Lee Copeland
Know What's at Stake

Everyone knows the importance of well-defined functional requirements. We want our products to work, don't we? But how many of us are paying as much attention to defining our non-functional requirements? In this historically focused feature, we learn from past mistakes the potentially disastrous results of inadequately tested NFRs.

The Case of the Missing IF

Grandma cooked her roast a certain way, and now you're repeating the process without knowing why you have to trim the ends off an uncooked roast even though the pan is adequately sized. Relic processes in many organzations fall trap to this mindset since the reason behind the action lost its meaning long ago. Lee Copeland calls these "IF ..., THEN ..." processes. When the organization loses sight of the IF responsible for the action, then you're left with what Lee describes as "a process without a context; a rule without a reason."

Lee Copeland's picture Lee Copeland
What Goes Up Must Come Down

Writing requirements purely top-down or only bottom-up is risky to say the least. The devil's in the details, and those details are likely to be missed when working from a single direction. What if you could tackle your requirements from both directions by incorporating use cases and user centered design? Learn how balancing your approach to writing requirements can result in more detailed, pragmatic documentation.

Jeff Patton's picture Jeff Patton
If the Shoe Doesn't Fit: Agile Requirements For Stepsister Projects

Once upon a time there was an Agile requirements process and an ugly stepsister project. This might sound like the beginning of a fractured fairy tale, but it's a reality for many projects that don't fit the criteria for an efficient, effective requirements process. Language barriers, large teams, and tunnel vision are all things that can turn your project from Cinderella to stepsister. Find out how you can overcome these obstacles and get your team back to "happily ever after."

Jennitta Andrea's picture Jennitta Andrea
Bringing Your Requirements Discussions Down to Earth

Trying to communicate with businesspeople about requirements can make you feel like you're from another planet. Using concrete examples expressed as storytests to drive the development of a system can help bring you back into the same orbit. Discover ways to introduce this process on your next project.

Rick Mugridge's picture Rick Mugridge
Form Fitting: Patterns to Judge the Effectiveness of Use Cases

You don't have to be Giorgio Armani to fashion effective use cases. Use case patterns can provide you with a vocabulary to help you describe and judge the quality of your use cases. Find out how you can use these patterns to improve your requirements modelin

Steve Adolph's picture Steve Adolph


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