Software Development Best Practices Blog

Required or Not

I really enjoy teaching my company's requirement seminars. I enjoy it because, frankly, there really is no industry consensus of what a requirement is. As an instructor, I am free to say any darn thing I like. For an example as to the lack of consensus, client after client will tell me that they have a requirements document full of requirements. I then ask them if they actually deliver to all of those requirements and they say, more often than not, "No, we have to cut...

  1. Posted on December 8, 2011 1:52:PM by Earl Beede to Practicing Earl
  2. Technique, humor, requirements

Technical Debt Webinar Recording is Now Available

View it here (free membership required to view). Webinar - Managing Technical Debt "Technical Debt" refers to delayed technical work that is incurred when technical short cuts are taken, usually in pursuit of calendar-driven software schedules. Technical debt is inherently neither good nor bad: Just like financial debt, some technical debts can serve valuable business purposes. Other technical debts are...

  1. Posted on February 7, 2011 1:30:PM by Steve McConnell to 10x Software Development
  2. Presentation, Technique, Management, Technical Debt, Webinar

Origins of 10X – How Valid is the Underlying Research?

I recently contributed a chapter to Making Software (Oram and Wilson, eds., O'Reilly, 2011). The purpose of this edited collection of essays is to pull together research-based writing on software engineering. In essence, the purpose is to say, "What do we really know (quantitatively based), and what do we only kind of think we know (subjectively based)?" My chapter, "What Does 10X Mean" is an edited version of my 2008 blog entry "

  1. Posted on January 9, 2011 6:15:PM by Steve McConnell to 10x Software Development
  2. Methods & Processes, Testing & QA, Technique, Agile, estimation, requirements, productivity, Management, Design, Maintenance, 10x, research, programmer productivity, Articles, Books, Construction

It’s Effort, Not Duration

A discussion on the LinkedIn Certified Scrum Master board led me to read an article on Mike Cohn’s blog titled, “It’s Effort, Not Complexity.” Mike argues that stakeholders don’t care about how hard it is to do something,...

  1. Posted on August 24, 2010 8:29:PM by Application Administrator to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, Agile, planning, estimation, Management

Dear Construx: Story Point Inflation Causes Ever-Expanding Project!

Dear Construx:   How do you deal with the risk of Story Point inflation throughout a Scrum project? My team goes through release planning, ending up with a backlog where each item has been estimated using story points. Based upon our estimates of story points and team velocity, we predict, and commit to, a release date. So far, so good. As our project progresses, the Product Owner breaks larger ‘epics’ into...

  1. Posted on August 9, 2010 6:22:PM by John Clifford to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, Agile, Scrum, planning, estimation, Management, practices

Determining Duration on Scrum Projects

One thing I’m often asked is, how do you come up with valid project estimates in Scrum? After all, Scrum doesn’t want you to worry about more than the current sprint, does it? The basic rule of estimation is, estimate size/effort/complexity and then derive duration. For Scrum, we follow the industry best practice of using story points, an arbitrary measure of relative effort/size/complexity that is not time-based. Let me explain by using one of the analogies from my training. It’s...

  1. Posted on August 6, 2010 5:41:PM by John Clifford to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, project management, Agile, Scrum, planning, estimation, Management

Keeping Scrum Pure or Adapting Scrum to Your Culture?

One question that I often hear is, “Do we have to implement Scrum by the book, or should we adapt it to our environment?” The answer is, “Yes!” You should do both. And, they are not mutually exclusive. To me, 'keeping Scrum pure' means adopting the three roles, four meetings, four artifacts, and two levels of commitment, and adhering to the principles behind Scrum, e.g., self-directed teams that commit, timeboxing, etc. This aligns with the Construx toolbox metaphor for...

  1. Posted on May 21, 2010 8:44:PM by John Clifford to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, Agile, Scrum, practices, Process

Add Work to Shorten Your Schedule

I love this one; blows the mind of many a project manager: if you add select items to your work plan, you can shorten the project schedule. Absurd you say? You may be right, let’s take a deeper look. Any good development planning should start out with the high level details of only the work needed to get the release out. Let’s call this the Work I Gotta Do (WIGD) plan. I will represent the WIGD plan below.

  1. Posted on April 30, 2010 8:46:AM by Earl Beede to Practicing Earl
  2. Technique, humor, estimation, risk, schedule, Management

Who is NOT Happy

That should be the real question that any project should ask. Far too often the purpose of project work is to make lot of different customers happy. We get requirements from every Tom, ***, and Harry, from the business, from marketing, from sales, from the technology gurus, from the people who will have to maintain the product (OK, we DON’T get requirements from them), and all these requirements get mashed together into a big fat requirements document. Then we go to build the product...

  1. Posted on February 24, 2010 2:23:PM by Earl Beede to Practicing Earl
  2. Technique, humor, requirements

Usability Collateral Damage

Astute followers of my blog (Hi, Mom!) will have noticed that all of my previous posts are now attributed to “Anonymous”. Same as my forum responses to date. Why? Well, I accidently deleted myself from the site. “Smooth move, ex-lax,” my mom would tell me if she actually did read my blog. A little background. This site has attracted the attention of a (some?) nasty little bot that is adding a lot of fake members. The controls in the then-expensive now-outdated software package...

  1. Posted on December 11, 2009 12:51:PM by Earl Beede to Practicing Earl
  2. Technique, humor, usability, Management