Projects@Work has published one of my articles: Technical Debt for Project Managers. Article summary: Technical debt describes the cumulative consequences of cutting corners in software development, but it escapes the attention of many project managers as they focus on scope and schedule. That’s a mistake because it impacts both. Here are questions to help you ascertain the real state of technical affairs.
If you’ve spent some time in Los Angeles, you may have noticed that restaurants auspiciously post a “letter grade” rating. The letters range from A to F and represent the most recent health inspection assessment. Any restaurant meeting over 90% of the health inspector’s criteria is given an “A” rating. These signs are large enough to see clearly in a restaurant window as you drive by scoping out a potential eatery. As far as I understand it, every restaurant in LA county is randomly assessed by the health inspector and every restaurant must post their results in a highly visible … LEARN MORE »
I am happy to announce that ScrumWorks Pro 5 is available for download today. It’s been about eight months in the making and my team is excited to share what’s been keeping us busy. Do you long for the day that the ScrumWorks Pro web client is better/faster/cooler? Then this release is for you. Feature Walk-through video “What’s New” release notes The features are described in the links above, but here’s a little more depth on this release: The ScrumWorks Pro 5 release brings a lot of new stuff to the web client. In fact, we focused most of our … LEARN MORE »
My team has been doing Scrum with XP-ish practices since 2003. Being a vendor in the Agile space, we’re always testing new ideas and making tweaks to our process. I’ve written about our relatively tight engineering practices when it comes to test-centric development. Nevertheless, about two years ago I made a comment to the team after a particularly rough sprint review; I was disappointed at the quantity of defects and missed “done criteria” surfaced during the sprint review meeting. It ticked me off that the team didn’t seem to find seemingly basic issues until the sprint review. Taking this feedback, … LEARN MORE »
While doing Scrum at Danube, we’ve long espoused the value of using relative, story point estimates over estimates based on strict chronology. We’ve written papers on why macro metrics are better than granular task based estimates due to the inherent uncertainty latent at the task level. And we eat our own dog food; the ScrumWorks team uses relative estimation units (labeled “headaches”, for fun) in estimating stories/backlog items. Recently though, a new team member (we’ll call “Ed”) was baffled by the team’s estimation scale. Ed had trouble acclimatizing to our estimation scale, and at a recent retrospective he pointed out … LEARN MORE »
One of the most common problems I observe in Agile teams is their inability (or perhaps unwillingness) to “swarm” on difficult problems to ensure an adequate solution. When I use the term “swarm,” I’m referring to multiple people working jointly to solve a single problem. Too often teams suffer from fuzzy logic, thinking, “Let’s divide our resources to conquer the stories in this sprint more efficiently.” What’s interesting is that I see teams fail sprint after sprint by employing this strategy. Yet they can’t bring themselves to take the recommended course of action and swarm on stories until they are … LEARN MORE »
Is software development a science or engineering discipline in which we can strive for perfection? Are perfectly executed software plans possible in today’s market? I believe that software development, in general, is fraught with uncertainty and is therefore governed, at least in part, by random events. Assuming for an instant that this statement is true, then there are tremendous implications on how software projects are developed and managed. The Agile movement is largely based on this concept, yet it’s not a slam-dunk for many people. In the pop-finance book “Fooled by Randomness“, the author N. N. Taleb makes a case … LEARN MORE »