Off the Beaten Path

June 15, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: Project management 

Any project manager that has managed (or worked on) even a single project knows that every project will veer off of the planned route in some way. For many projects, this initial deviation is the start of a cascading effect of chaos and reactive decisions that results in delays, dropped scope or reduced quality. Rather than fight it, we should be preparing ourselves to deal with the inevitable unplanned events as best as possible. Read more

Administrative Reporting

June 8, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: Project management 

I’m just finishing my first round facilitating an intensive project management program with a local university. If there is one thing to distill out as a common challenge among the teams is that there isn’t nearly enough depth of reflection as we move through the project phases. There is a lot of administrative reporting. Read more

Idiot Lights

May 6, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

It is quite easy to justify doing nothing to improve how your organization develops software. Whether it takes the shape of “we don’t have the budget”, or “we can’t afford the time, we’re just too busy right now”, the point is the same. It can be paraphrased as “We have decided, consciously or not, that our current painful approach is preferred to spending the money or time to do something about it.” Read more

Data Integrity

September 17, 2006 by · Comment
Filed under: Process 

Generally, the suggestion that you should never argue with the data is a good one to follow, but there are clearly some caveats. There may be challenges with the measurer or the subject being measured, or both. Read more

A Good Auditor is Your Friend

January 11, 2004 by · Comment
Filed under: People 

There was a time in my career where I was naïve enough to think that everyone was always focused on improving their job performance whenever possible. Read more

The Audit Game

September 7, 2003 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership 

The first question I ask people in an organization that is ISO certified or has achieved a higher CMM rating is “what happens in this place a week before the auditor comes to town?” The response, either verbal or visually (such as nervous twitches or shifting around in their chair), tells me more than hours of additional queries ever could. Read more

Pick a Number

August 24, 2003 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Process 

More than once in discussion or during a training session, someone has asked me for a number. What is the right number of testers for a development group of this size? What is the right number of levels of management in our organization? What productivity number should I use for this estimate? For each of these questions (and most others of this type), it is possible to quote industry statistics as a response, but the result would usually be worse than to not provide any answer at all. With the diversity of software development organizations, projects and products, it is a rare question that would fit any average number the industry could cough up. In all these cases it is important to dig deeper to find the real questions, and then look internally for the answers. Read more

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    Jim frequently travels across Western Canada for engagements, and welcomes opportunities to meet, run a workshop, Diagnostic or Lunch and Learn session.


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