The Latest

Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder[article]

As a user experience design specialist, clients often ask Jeff Patton to make their software "look better," so it can be successful. But when clients focus primarily on aesthetics, they're often addressing the wrong thing. In this column, Jeff takes a look at common user interface (UI) mistakes and the key concerns software development teams should address to build successful UIs.

Jeff Patton's picture Jeff Patton
Postmodernism in Software Development [article]

Recent history has ushered in the postmodern era in all its fragmented glory. With its arrival comes the displacement of the absolute, the certain, and all that characterizes the modern age. Along with changes in art, politics, and philosophy— there are reverberations in business and technology. The societal shift from Modernism to Postmodernism mirrors and reinforces a shift in software development from traditional waterfall to non-linear Agile methods.

Ryan  Fogarty's picture Ryan Fogarty
Timing Matters in Managing Change[article]

Implementing change can be a colossal challenge. People tend to prefer what's familiar, safe, and predictable to that which is new, unfamiliar, uncertain, confusing, or potentially risky. But the timing of a change effort can influence how readily people accept the change and adjust to it.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten
When is Open Source not Enough?[article]

Open source CI tools have been immensely popular, but are they the perfect fit for your operation? Answer these seven questions to quickly assess if you should upgrade to an enterprise-class CI environment.

Anders  Wallgren's picture Anders Wallgren
Independent Testers? Or Independent Thinkers?[article]

In this article, Lisa Crispin recalls a time when testers alone were solely responsible for software quality, and compares that to more modern thinking where collaboration between developers and testers is king. Software quality is everyone's job, sometimes it takes independence to get there.

Lisa Crispin's picture Lisa Crispin
Rocks into Gold: Part 1[article]

This short book, written by Clarke Ching, is a "biztech" parable for software developers who want to survive—and then thrive—through the credit crunch. We have republished the book in a four-part series. In part one, we meet the main characters who have just found out that their jobs are on the line after discovering their major client's business is failing. Follow the story as our characters fight to keep their jobs by implementing creative business ideas and management skills taken from agile development.

Clarke Ching's picture Clarke Ching
ScrumBut: Failure to Deliver[article]

In this article, Michele Sliger discusses one of the more common "ScrumBut" practices that, while allowing teams to say "We suck less," isn't really in keeping with intended Scrum practices. This ScrumBut practice is the persistent failure of the team to complete the agreed-upon features in the iteration or sprint.

Michele Sliger's picture Michele Sliger
Deception and Self-deception in Software Testing[article]

Untruths about software testing are common. Managers, programmers, and other people on software projects don't always mean to deceive. Quite often, they fool themselves into believing what they want to believe. But sometimes they lie deliberately and even pressure testers to lie. And testers can also practice deceptions and self-deceptions of their own. In this column, Fiona Charles describes four categories of common deceptions and self-deceptions in testing and outlines what testers need to do to address them.

Fiona Charles's picture Fiona Charles
If Your Build Fails and No One is Around to Hear It, Does It Make a Sound?[article]

Continuous Integration build tools are great: they help us ensure our product works after every commit, keep historical data and metrics, build our product for all target environments, and do many more useful things. But there's one key aspect that often gets overlooked: They're fun.

Daniel Wellman's picture Daniel Wellman
Distributed Agile Day to Day[article]

"Distributed" isn't a word that always has appeared favorably in works about agile methodology. After all, the proximity of agile team members while working is highly regarded. In this article, an excerpt of which originally appeared in the May 2009 Iterations eNewsletter, Chris McMahon takes a look at how "agile" and "distributed" can work together successfully.

Chris McMahon's picture Chris McMahon
Crash Course in Proficient Presenting[magazine]

Ben has to make a presentation at the next all-hands meeting. It'll be his very first presentation, and just thinking about it has sent him into a panic. Fortunately, he has the support of an experienced speaker and coach who offers advice and encouragement to help him become a proficient, panic-free presenter.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten
Issues about Metrics about Bugs[magazine]

Managers often use metrics to help make decisions about the state of the product or the quality of the work done by the test group. Yet, measurements derived from bug counts can be highly misleading because a "bug" isn't a tangible, countable thing; it's a label for some aspect of some relationship between some person and some product, and it's influenced by when and how we count ... and who is doing the counting.

Michael Bolton's picture Michael Bolton
GUT Instinct[magazine]

Whether or not a unit test is considered good is not simply about what it tests: It is also very much about "how" it tests. Is the test readable and maintainable? Does it define the expected behavior or merely assume it? To be sustainable, the style of a unit test is just as important as the style of any other code. Perhaps a little surprisingly, the most commonly favored test partitioning style does not meet these expectations.

Kevlin Henney's picture Kevlin Henney
Three Strategies for Task Allocation[article]

Iteration and release planning are keys to successful agile projects, but overall have a relatively small impact on a developer's day-to-day life, compared to the daily planning that takes place each morning. The strategy a team uses to sign up for work has significant implications for what a developer's day will look like, impacts his work style and habits, and ultimately can significantly impact the overall success of the iteration. Unfortunately, the agile community gives relatively little guidance in this area. In this article, I will share my experiences with three strategies for task allocation, drawn from several typical agile projects with two to three week iterations.

Robert  Williams's picture Robert Williams
Putting the Kart before the Horse?[magazine]

Go-karting is where most of the current Formula One racing drivers first learned the basics of race-craft. Antony Marcano, a former kart racer himself, recounts a father-and-son racing experience that helps him explain what goes wrong for many organizations that adopt Scrum as their first attempt to "go agile."

Antony Marcano's picture Antony Marcano


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