The Latest

Know What's at Stake[magazine]

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.

PMBOK to Agile[magazine]

Extreme Programming has increased in popularity in recent years, but shifting your organization away from the Project Management Body of Knowledge to agile methodologies can be a real challenge. David Christiansen has outlined three common obstacles to incorporating agile and offers ways to overcome them.

David Christiansen's picture David Christiansen
The Right Stuff[magazine]

In the countdown to a product release, leaving load testing for last is a risky maneuver. In this month's cover story, Rex Black and Barton Layne present a case study of a project on which they adhered to a four-step strategy. By following these four steps, they were able to alleviate those nasty, end-of-project performance surprises.

Barton Layne's picture Barton Layne Rex Black
Seasons of Software Development[magazine]

In this installment of Management Chronicles, Peter Clark introduces us to a programmer who is trying unsuccessfully to complete a project mired in underestimation. Find out what you can do to keep your estimates in the free and clear.

Peter Clark's picture Peter Clark
The Roof Is Going to Go[magazine]

As one poor German tourist can attest, idioms don't translate. But Chuck Allison thinks programmers should become "native speakers" of the programming languages they use. This includes using and understanding them, idioms and all.

Chuck Allison's picture Chuck Allison
The Magic 8 Ball of Testing[magazine]

Have you ever wished for a tool to help you define and refine requirements and make your programs more testable? OClear could be the tool you've been waiting for.

Michael Bolton's picture Michael Bolton
How Do You Think?[article]

What are the attributes of a good tester—of a great tester? As every test manager knows, identifying the right people for a test team can be a struggle. In this column, Fiona Charles describes the qualities of mind she looks for in testers, and the interview questions she asks candidates so that she can evaluate how they think.

Fiona Charles's picture Fiona Charles
Lean Metrics for Agile Software Configuration Management[article]

Taking an lean-agile slant on metrics for configuration management, the authors focus on ways to measure the value CM and SCM adds to the project and product and how to measure flow and waste.

Sharing the Vision[article]

In this article, Michele Sliger discusses why sharing the vision with the project team is so important and how this knowledge helps the team in its delivery. With examples from Walt Disney and software development, Michele explains how bringing everyone together and getting team members on the same page allows for belief in and commitment to the project, which is a must for a successful outcome.

Michele Sliger's picture Michele Sliger
Agile Top-Down: Striking a Balance[article]

Agile is being evangelized in executive boardrooms and introduced top-down with increasing frequency. Considering that Agile advocates self-management by the individual and within a team, what is the role of senior leadership? My experience from this top-down perspective has given me insight into attitudes and techniques that are successful and others that fail. I assert that there is an effective and appropriate stance for senior leadership that will improve the effectiveness of an Agile transformation. Key to my list of recommendations for making Agile work is the balanced involvement of both senior-level leaders and practitioners in the planning and executing the introduction of Agile practices.

Bryan Stallings's picture Bryan Stallings
Go For The Low Hanging Fruit![article]

As professionals, we are always looking for ways to improve the way we work. We encounter ideas and methods that we start to implement, but often we fail. Does this sound familiar to you? How should you avoid this? You should focus on implementing the changes that have the highest benefit versus effort ratio for you and your team, or as the title of this article puts it, the low hanging fruit. To facilitate this, we suggest the following steps: Make a change backlog, Find your low hanging fruit, Establish a raiding party, Establish a success story, Go to war, Celebrate! And Start over.

Odd Martin Solem's picture Odd Martin Solem
The Agile-V Balanced Scorecard Metrics[article]

Much has been written about the balanced scorecard methodology. Its goal is to measure desired outcomes and predict drivers of those outcomes. For a properly implemented agile team, this line-of-site measurement happens naturally and is controlled daily. This article suggests a simple and natural scorecard that provides accurate daily visibility of drivers and outcomes for an agile team focused on delivering business value to its clients.

Guy Beaver's picture Guy Beaver
The Death Spiral[magazine]

Users don't have to be doomed to the nightmare of software fraught with defects that should have been fixed before release. Time spent testing now can save you from the Death Spiral later. Remember: If you don't have time to do it right, how will you have time to do it over . . . and over . . . and over?

Linda Hayes's picture Linda Hayes
The Exceptional Exception[magazine]

So much more than a bucket for your errors, exceptions can be a valuable tool that lets you communicate to your clients not only that there is a problem but why and where the code failed.

Tod Golding's picture Tod Golding
There's Nothing Like the Real Thing[magazine]

Ever wondered why one team's automated tests pass but your tests of the same software fail? Jonathan Kohl has an explanation. Perhaps we should all take a page from Marvin Gaye's songbook and test our project ideals in real-world environments. After all, "there ain't nothin' like the real thing."

Jonathan Kohl's picture Jonathan Kohl

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