Software Development Best Practices Blog

User Stories Ain't Requirements

Ain't isn't really a word but people use it, so does that make it de facto a word? The gurus tell us user stories are not requirements but people keep using them that way so do we need to treat them as requirements? Actually, why don't we have requirements on agile projects? I think it is because Agile is making two bets at the beginning of a project. Given the desire for a fixed schedule, the scope-what we will build-will flex so you don't want to call...

  1. Posted on May 9, 2013 12:12:PM by Earl Beede to Practicing Earl
  2. user_story, Agile, humor, requirements

Software Project Archaeology

A colleague asked me the following question: Assume you were asked to assess a software development team from outside of the organization (that might occur as due diligence or some other context), and you had full access to all internal artifacts of the organization, but you were not allowed to talk directly with anyone from inside. To what degree could you evaluate the quality and effectiveness of the software team just from reviewing just their work, without...

  1. Posted on March 13, 2013 6:53:PM by Steve McConnell to 10x Software Development
  2. Consulting, requirements, software development, classic mistakes, Construx Software, Team Productivity

New White Papers Now Available

We've recently posted more new white papers on our website. These are free to members (and membership is free). 5 Things Every Software Executive Should Know About Scrum The success (or failure) of Scrum is all in how’s it’s adopted. This white paper explores five key things software executives should understand when considering a Scrum adoption. It summarizes what Scrum can and cannot do and provides advice to software executives on how they can support the adoption...

  1. Posted on December 21, 2012 5:29:PM by Steve McConnell to 10x Software Development
  2. Innovation, Agile, Scrum, requirements, white paper, white papers, Articles

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

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

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

Why Requirements Weren't More Prominent in Construx's Classic Mistakes Survey

A reader of our 2008 Classic Mistakes White Paper made the following observation: I work in the Aerospace/Defense industry and have read your article called Software Development's Classic Mistakes 2008 dated July 2008. I am most interested in questioning the results of your most damaging classic mistakes overall that is tabulated in Table 8. I have read that up to 70% of project failures can be attributed to incomplete and...

  1. Posted on January 4, 2010 2:04:PM by Steve McConnell to 10x Software Development
  2. Methods & Processes, requirements, white papers, Articles

Fail Yet Succeed?

If you build EXACTLY what “they” tell you, you do it in the timeframe they ask for, and at the cost they wanted to pay, is that a successful project? The project is On time On budget Delivers the requested functionality No defects The team is ready for the next project Is it successful? “Yes,” you say. Rightfully so. But what if I tell you that the above project (project A) was followed by another...

  1. Posted on September 16, 2009 12:42:PM by Earl Beede to Practicing Earl
  2. Testing & QA, Technique, project management, humor, context, quality, requirements, Management

What Marketing Requirements Look Like

I recently went with trepidation into a class with Pragmatic Marketing called “Requirements that Work”, part of their Practical Product Management series. Marketing professionals have been my foil for bad requirements for years and here I was, ready to hear from the experts themselves how marketing, and not engineering, should be making all the decisions about the...

  1. Posted on August 24, 2009 11:12:AM by Earl Beede to Practicing Earl
  2. Technique, problem space, solution space, requirements, marketing

Transitioning to Scrum: Selecting the Product Owner

Many teams moving to Scrum have questions about the Product Owner position. Is the Product Owner a member of the Scrum team? What role does the Product Owner play in the day-to-day life of a Scrum project? How do we map current functional roles to Scrum roles, specifically with regard to the Product Owner? Who should we select as our Product Owner? Let me start by saying the Product Owner is perhaps the most important role in Scrum… something you don’t often hear from...

  1. Posted on August 13, 2009 12:23:PM by John Clifford to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, project management, Agile, Scrum, requirements, Management, product owner