A Matter of Perspective

September 23, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

I was recently working with a client that develops and deploys large-scale, complex solutions. Their product consists of custom and COTS hardware, embedded software, networks, and server-side installations. Read more

Divide and Conquer

August 27, 2006 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

In the ideal situation, the process of software development should consist of a series of appropriately selected steps, each of which clarifies some aspect of the system as you proceed from inception to delivery. Done properly, there should be no “and then a miracle happens” steps along the way, as can occur when you dive into the code right after throwing together some concepts on the back of an envelope. Read more

Designed Testability

February 15, 2004 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

The greatest opportunities for saving time and effort in any endeavour can usually be found in the activities that are most repetitive. In software projects this is often the testing stages, especially as the lifespan of systems is increasing, and more teams are adopting practices such as daily builds (that need to be exercised) or eXtreme Programming (where the goal is for the system to be live as much as possible). If a retrospective is the most powerful approach for improvement late in the project lifecycle and change management is a strong in-progress activity for control, designing testability into the system is one of the best activities to perform early on to reduce cost. Read more

Design for the Ages

January 4, 2004 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

The design phase of a software system, assuming it is done at all, is your major opportunity to ensure that you translate the system needs into a product that can adequately address all of those needs in a predictable fashion. If this phase is neglected, the likelihood of achieving the projects goals diminish dramatically – there is no cohesive architecture on which to place all the required functionality, there is no coordination in design that simplifies and streamlines the development, and there will be surprises downstream that threaten the completion of the project itself. Done well, a design takes into account the past, present, and future of the product. Read more

Building an AMO

October 12, 2003 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Process 

Many organizations today are coming to the realization that they can leverage their expertise and historical knowledge for even greater value. They build PMO’s that serve as a center of project management excellence. The PMO can serve as the focal point for ensuring that projects are consistently managed and that the organization learns from past experience. In addition, by extending their oversight beyond projects that simply create the traditional products the company sells, a well developed PMO can act as the group that implements the strategic vision of the organization. Read more

Deciding How to Test Early, Twice

February 9, 2003 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Quality 

To develop a software product, there are a couple of things you should do to help ensure it gets done as expected (actually, there are quite a few things you need to do, but this is a brief missive). You need to decide how to test early, and decide how to test early. 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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    I learned a lot from Jim, and will always be grateful to have had him as instructor and client. Jim’s class lectures reflect how knowledgeable and well rounded he is – as a person, software developer, and project manager. As a client, Jim is great because he understands the issues that obscure most projects. He made sure we both achieved our goals. It will always be a pleasure working with him.

    — Donabel Santos