Issue Priority and Severity

There are several topics that can trigger near religious fervor in software developers--languages, indentation, and comments come immediately to mind. One of Peter Clark's personal favorites is the relationship of issue priority to issue severity in defect tracking systems. Just what the heck do all those levels mean, anyway? In this week's column, Peter describes a solution that his company devised to clearly define the characteristics of severity and priority and help them better understand how the two work together.

Peter Clark's picture Peter Clark
Release Management—Making It Lean and Agile

Release management is an awesome responsibility that plays a vital role in the success of a software development project. Releasing is often considered to be an activity that happens near the end of the process—a necessary evil, perhaps, but no more.

Robert Cowham's picture Robert Cowham
Approaching Parallel Development with Branch - Merge Strategies

Many times when managers first consider parallel development, it appears to be a very effective way to manage changes to concurrent streams of development. This is somewhat true if the project uses an SCM technology that allows for stable branching and establishes discreet project and maintenance branches. However, what is often forgotten is that while branching is a great way to separate code changes, at some point merging will have to occur. This article provides guidance for approaching and performing parallel development.

Mario  Moreira's picture Mario Moreira
Cases Against Applying Schedule Pressure

Do you think that by removing deadlines from a project a team will have enough time to create perfect software? Theoretically, it's possible, but in this column Mike Cohn explains that this theory might not hold against ingrained behavior. He recalls how several teams reacted when deadlines were lifted from the projects they were working on. Their only goal: to produce perfect software. But that goal inadvertently brought something to the surface, that old habits die hard.

Mike Cohn's picture Mike Cohn
How Much Work Can You Do—Developing and Managing Your Project Portfolio

Knowing how much work your group can accomplish—and how much it takes to complete that work—is critical to your success as a manager. Johanna Rothman explains how to ascertain your team's potential and how to use that information to define and manage your project portfolio so it doesn't manage you.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
Take Time to Make Time

Scheduling a project can become a comedy of errors if you don't remember to plug in all the necessary pieces. In this week's column, Peter Clark takes us to a project kick-off meeting and shows us how to spot several common mistakes people make when creating project schedules.

Peter Clark's picture Peter Clark
Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side of the Fence?

We may be creatures of habit—adhering to and promoting processes we know well—but we also habitually look to other work environments that appear capable of nurturing our ideas once an old environment becomes depleted. Ed Weller believes that searching for greener pastures is unnecessary. You just need to learn how to cultivate your managers in order to create an environment that will harbor your ideas. Ed explains why you'll end up grazing fruitlessly if you can't plant your ideas with management.

Ed Weller's picture Ed Weller
Structure Marking

Structure marking is a programming technique that defends data against damage, especially from software bugs. It adds flags to data structures and checks them at each use to detect damaged data immediately.

Tom Van Vleck's picture Tom Van Vleck
Paving Cow Paths

In the IT world, "paving cow paths" means automating a business process as is, without thinking too much about whether or not that process is effective or efficient. Often business process automation initiatives require figuring out entirely new ways of doing business processes–impossible prior to automation (for example, work flow automation and digital image processing)–defining more effective and efficient process highways. In this week's column, Jim Highsmith warns that when we pave the cow paths and ignore the highways, we do a disservice to our customers.

Jim Highsmith's picture Jim Highsmith
Free Time is Not Free

Unpaid overtime has negative personal and business consequences. Although regarded as free time by many organizations, there is a true business cost to not estimating or counting overtime hours, whether paid or not. Ed Weller presents the argument that those who do not count free time in their planning and tracking will make poor decisions and often invest in the wrong projects.

Ed Weller's picture Ed Weller


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