Get Your Ears On

August 17, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Project management 

As we gain more experience and expertise in our selected domains, there becomes a stronger tendency to lean primarily on that knowledge to solve problems. Sometimes this works, but sometimes we tend to lean too far in that direction and forget that we should be listening before we start solving. There are times when we need to remind ourselves to get our ears on. Read more

In Search of Excellent Requirements

July 22, 2008 by · Comments Off on In Search of Excellent Requirements
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Now updated to reflect the new 3rd Edition of Software Requirements, by Karl Wiegers and Joy Beatty!

“I’ll go find out what they want, and the rest of you start coding.” This caption from a cartoon is uncomfortably close to the way some software organizations still treat the requirements specification process. Contemporary definitions of “quality” include the concepts of both meeting stated specifications and satisfying the actual customer requirements, which sadly are not always the same thing. Converging these two components into a unified vision of the final product is the linchpin of success on technical projects. Read more

Go With Your Strength

May 18, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership 

I see many companies that start out with a compelling idea for solving a nasty business problem, but somewhere along the way their implementation gets a lot fuzzier. In more than a few situations, we are best served if we remember to go with our strength. Read more

What To Do…

February 3, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

Once in a great while, I find myself in a position where I wonder what to do next. This is rare, of course, as usually there are more than enough things to keep me occupied. With technology companies, it is almost always the case that there is way too much to do, and even worse, it is almost always someone else that seems to be calling the shots. From what I have seen, there is a better way. Read more

What's In a Name?

January 27, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Process 

One of the products I offer that has been in most demand is software requirements training. A great course to deliver, with lots of information about the things that you could do (if the situation warranted) in software projects. Certainly not dogmatic or pitching a particular approach, one of the key messages is to consider your product, culture and environment, and choose accordingly. Over the years, though, I would sometimes get some pushback along the lines of “we do hardware (or firmware, or drivers…), this isn’t relevant for us”. I disagree. Read more

Birthing the Spec

December 16, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Process 

It’s a scenario that gets played over and over again in software shops: the person designated as the analyst for a project, sometimes the CTO, sometimes also the project manager, heads into the birthing hut at the start of the project, and doesn’t come out until the spec is born. This analogy hurts in so many ways. Read more

Repairing the Fixed Price Model

September 30, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Project management 

I’ve been working with a colleague recently, and it has been interesting to see how his company can work with clients to build software applications under the fixed price model. While it is generally the case that outsourcing is quoted on an hourly basis (because of what is seen as inherent risks in the software industry), this group is one of the few that can make a fixed price work. Read more

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

Quality Specification

August 26, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Process 

This is the last of a 4-part series on determining reasonable quality attributes for your projects. In the first three parts, we identified that overall quality can be expressed in a wide range of areas, and it is better to start with this wide range rather than to start with a shorter list that was devised before your project was born. Read more

Quality Translation

August 19, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Process 

Thus far in this journey to determine reasonable quality requirements for our project, we have taken steps to determine which areas of quality are most important for us to focus on. Starting with a thorough landscape for quality, we are now at a point where we can reasonably identify our specific project needs. 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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    • Blissfully at home in Vancouver, BC over the summer!
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    In our brief one day session with Clarrus, we identified the key areas to focus on, and drilled down to discuss the best approach to take in each area. Rather than a sanitary discussion of best practices, we arrived at a practical, specific set of items to implement – I think we made significant progress as a development group.

    — Daniel Miller, CEO, Miller Software