Best Foot Forward

November 7, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Process, Quality 

There are many approaches that teams can take to improve. One thing that any team needs to understand before they should even try to get better is to understand why they would even bother to do so. There needs to be a clear and compelling reason for doing something different than they are currently doing, or any attempt to change is doomed to failure. Usually, that ‘why’ is sitting right under their noses, hiding in plain sight. Read more

Control and Management

October 20, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Process, Project management, Quality 

The terms Control and Management are often used interchangeably for a variety of activities in product development: configuration, change, risk, process, and so on. From my perspective, there is a difference between the attitude (implied or expressed) with these words, and for a couple of reasons, I tend to lean towards management over control. Read more

Norms and Rules

October 13, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Process, Project management, Quality 

I was chatting with someone the other day about my upcoming trip to Germany (I’m actually writing this one in the departure lounge). He was over there during the summer, and as a way of helping me ensure I had a good time, he noted “just remember, there are social norms over there, but there are no social rules”. Makes me ponder the relationship between the two. Read more

Attacking Technical Debt

August 26, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Agility, Process 

Two of the artifacts of incremental or iterative development are that you tend to use scaffolding as you go to prop up the product, and you tend to build similar capabilities in several different locations. Over time these can add up to quite a bit of cruft, or technical debt. Read more

Real Assurance

April 19, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Process 

In almost any field you can imagine, there has been a concerted effort to improve quality by proactively managing the process and systematically eliminating the errors that one would otherwise encounter again and again. I say almost, because even though there is no rocket science behind these techniques, most software organizations still don’t get it, and continue to waste gobs of money and work with massive risks. Read more

Improvement Cost?

March 25, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Process, Teamwork 

I was talking to a couple of people last week about the situation in their organization. To cut a long story short, suffice it to say that there were plenty of symptoms of trouble, and management had settled in on the expectation that it was going to cost millions of dollars to clean things up. Once I got up from the floor, we talked about why I believe that an attitude like that will almost surely lead to disappointment. Read more

Training for Value

March 18, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Process 

It would be naive to suggest that I don’t generate a good percentage of revenue from training engagements. Unfortunately, it would also be naive to suggest that these engagements consistently provide the most value for my clients. In fact, the opposite is true in many cases. Not because the training provided is bad (as there is plenty of objective evidence to the contrary), but because most organizations bring in training for the wrong reasons. Read more

Building the Faith

January 9, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Process 

A few months back, I wrote about the need to have faith in the process that was being used to build a product. This was recently reproduced in the Cutter E-mail Advisor, and generated a question about the diagnostic I referred to, and a question about how to build that faith that I alluded to in the article. Here are a few thoughts on the topic. Read more

The Down Side of Good Tools

December 7, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

Often, out of the sea of different opinions of how things should be done, there rises a few techniques that make it to the level of becoming a standard way of doing things. They can be codified in a Body of Knowledge, if such a thing exists for that discipline, or become generally accepted as a ‘best practice’, though we all know that these things are quite rare. Even when they are raised to that level, there is danger that they can become overused: while every technique has it’s niche, no technique should be used too broadly. Such is the case with Work Breakdown Structures and Gantt charts. Read more

The Future is Never Certain

September 28, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

We can look at what has happened in the past on projects, what is currently
happening, and what is happening in the future. If we are sloppy with our
records, we can easily have different versions of the past. If we are weak in
our communications, we can even have different perspectives of the present. With
care we can avoid both of these issues, but it is safe to say that when we are
looking into the future, we can never be certain of what will happen. This is a
limitation we need to appreciate. Read more

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  • What’s Happening

  • On The Road Again

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

    Contact Jim if you would like to connect around any of the upcoming dates:

    • Blissfully at home in Vancouver, BC over the summer!
  • What People are Saying

    We found the diagnostic very effective in providing a way for our teams to express their views on areas that we need to improve. At the same time, seeing where we were doing relatively well offered some great perspective and encouragement.

    — Michael Nienhuis, VP Operations, Class Software Solutions Ltd.