Home construction metaphors are often helpful for communicating software project management concepts. Listeners don't need an engineering degree to grasp that task sequence is important. Explain how you must schedule an appointment for the "open wall" electrical inspection two weeks in advance. Then, explain how a one-day slip on a wiring task can result in a much longer delay in the start of the sheet rock task, which in turn may delay painting, thus, occupancy by weeks, possibly months -- same as with delays in software projects. In this week's column Payson Hall draws from personal home-ownership experience and defines the resemblance between software project management and managing his home.
The Japanese manufacturing revolution--a combination of lean production, quality techniques, and sheer necessity–lifted the Japanese industrial phoenix out of the ashes of World War II until it eventually dominated world manufacturing. The concepts used to rebuild the empire can easily be applied to the software development industry. In this week's column, Clarke Ching describes why the majority of the software industry has done a poor job of incorporating these quality techniques and reveals the one secret ingredient that makes them easy to adopt.
When building successful relationships with your customers, certain verbs such as "to respond," "to listen," and "to involve" are important and should be used. But this week's column is about another common place verb that's not at all customer focused: "to get." Naomi doesn't mean "to get a 50% raise for completing the project on time" or "to get a week off for creating a brilliant test plan." No, she means, "to get customers to do things your way." Learn how simple verb replacement therapy can help you build better relationships with the customer.
One of the most valuable services a QA group provides is preventing failure. Ironically if the group succeeds at this, QA might find themselves unpopular or out of a job. This week's columnist Linda Hayes reveals how typical methods of measuring success can actually cause failure. Especially if success is achieved at the loser's expense.
Ponder for a moment the impact of mints on your life. They provided an extra degree of confidence during some of life's most important moments from job interviews to first dates. Some people may even have a spouse and kids because a mint helped out in a crucial moment. In this week's column, Dion Johnson points out that the requirements improvement techniques called RequireMINTs can similarly impact the life of your software projects because like mints, they are small, refreshing, and effective.
There's a common misconception that test-driven development is a testing technique when in fact it's a design technique. In this week's column, Jeff Patton explains this and how you might use your unit tests to explicitly guide and describe the design of your software.
Resumes only tell a portion of a candidate's story just like caller ID doesn't always reveal the caller's complete identity. Screening candidates over the phone can help extract more of the person's story if you ask the right questions. In this week's column, Johanna Rothman shares phone-screening techniques she uses to detect great potential testers. This process of elimination saves her valuable time and ensures only qualified candidates make it to the in-person interview.
Peer reviews come highly recommended, but many who try them find they just don't work. Maybe that's because they didn't have the magic ingredients. Find out what could be missing from your peer reviews.
Get the software engineering slant on items from the recent news.
Turn to The Last Word, where software professionals who care about quality give you their opinions on hot topics. This month, read why one man thinks the US is overreacting to the threat of overseas outsourcing.
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