Delivering Value

May 18, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Project management, Teamwork 

It is hard enough to get a project team to focus on delivery of value when we are initiating a project, but it is all that much tougher to remain focused on this prize as the project plays out. I would argue that the main reason for this is that the tools we use to manage projects tend to divert our focus. Read more

How Much is Enough?

March 25, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

Quite often in working with clients, questions will pop up in a vein that fits into the general theme of “How much of this should I do, how many of these should I have?” 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

Meaningful Measures

August 8, 2004 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

Look at any car’s dashboard today, and you will find the same set of core indicators. The primary element is always a speedometer, followed by a less prominent fuel gauge and odometer, after which the information tapers off quickly. There may be a temperature gauge or just a couple of ‘idiot lights’, there might be a tachometer, there may be tire pressure indicators, possibly a few others. While there is a trend these days to increase the information available to the driver (not unlike the trend of adding features to already bloated desktop applications), the important elements of a dashboard really haven’t changed for years. Read more

Data Quality

February 22, 2004 by · Comment
Filed under: Process 

Data comes in all shapes and sizes. Quantified measures, qualified relative information, anecdotal recollection, opinions, theories, and misinformation all are used with varying success as a means of making informed decisions. An astute organization will recognize the different levels of quality that is embodied in the data provided, and use that knowledge to help identify the corresponding quality of the decisions that are made. 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

Hunting the Elusive Defendable Estimate

May 11, 2003 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

Software estimation appears to be a difficult thing to do well. This is not because software is inherently different from anything else we need to estimate, but because we have been seduced into thinking that complex approaches and involved analysis somehow makes our estimates more defendable. What often happens is that we make a simple activity difficult, fail to focus on the important elements, and end up disappointed in the results. Read more

Corporate Vital Statistics

February 23, 2003 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Quality 

All of us can rattle off our vital statistics – our height and weight are easily our most commonly tracked measures, used as key identifying factors on our driver’s licenses and almost any medical form we fill out. They are easy and quick to measure and unambiguous in interpretation, important elements of good metrics. But what value do they really provide? After we reach a certain point in our lives our height changes little (until we reach a point later on when it can decrease somewhat), and comparing our weight against averages or recommendations can create something akin to mass hysteria. Change in weight can be an important indicator for insurance companies, but only exposes part of the overall picture. Read more

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