Software Engineering


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SPaMCAST 450 features our essay on Product Roadmaps.  Roadmaps link an organization’s strategy to action. Product roadmaps are directional and answer the question of where we are going and why. As with any powerful tool, roadmaps giveth when used wisely and taketh away when used less wisely.

We also visit with Gene Hughson.  Gene brings his great Form Follows Function blog to the podcast.  We discussed the entry Holistic Architecture – Keeping the Gears Turning.  After you listen to our conversation remember that roadmaps are a way to avoid your products not to resemble a bunch of spare parts flying in close formation.

Re-Read Saturday News

Today we will begin the next book in the Re-read Saturday Series, The Science of Successful Organizational Change. Steven Adams (SPaMCAST 437, SPaMCAST 412 and nearly every entry in the Re-read Saturday series) will lead this re-read.   Remember to use the link to buy a copy to support the podcast and blog.

Steven begins the re-read by describing how he found the Paul Gibbon’s book “The Science of Successful Organizational Change” (get your copy) searching “Agile Change Management” on Amazon.  

A Call To Action

You can help the podcast. If you even got a single new idea this week while listening to the podcast, please give the SPaMCAST a short, honest review in iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you are listening.  If you leave a review somewhere, please send a copy to spamcastinfo@gmail.com.  Reviews help guide people to the cast!

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SPaMCAST 451  will feature our interview with James Shore.  We began with a discussion of the Agile Fluency Model, the concepts, and ideas that led to the model and then got into topics such as whether Agile can ever be method agnostic.  

Shameless Ad for my book!

Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.

No Uncertainty Here!

Uncertainty has a significant impact on both the business and engineering of software development (in all of its myriad forms).  Wikipedia provides an operational definition of ‘uncertainty’ as, “a situation which involves imperfect and unknown information.” Defining and understanding uncertainty is important because it is a common condition across the entirety of the software development life cycle.  The big BUT that follows the statement that uncertainty is common is that it is often unremarked or ignored, which are rarely useful responses.  Recognizing the uncertainty in any scenario is useful in selling ideas, planning, motivation and in development.  Over the course of the next several articles we will explore uncertainty across the life cycle; however, we begin with some of the sources of uncertainty and why it matters.

There are typically four macro sources of uncertainty: (more…)

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The Software Process and Measurement Cast 438 features our essay on leveraging sizing in testing. Size can be a useful tool for budgeting and planning both at the portfolio level and the team level.

Gene Hughson brings his Form Follows Function Blog to the cast this week to discuss his recent blog entry titled, Organizations as Systems and Innovation. One of the highlights of the conversation is whether emergence is a primary factor driving change in a complex system.

Our third column is from the Software Sensei, Kim Pries.  Kim discusses why blindly accepting canned solutions does not negate the need for active troubleshooting of for problems in software development.

Re-Read Saturday News

This week, we tackle chapter 1 of Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World by Brian J. Robertson published by Henry Holt and Company in 2015. Chapter 1 is titled, Evolving Organization.  Holacracy is an approach to address shortcomings that have appeared as organizations evolve. Holacracy is not a silver bullet, but rather provides a stable platform for identifying and addressing problems efficiently.

Visit the Software Process and Measurement Cast blog to participate in this and previous re-reads.

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The next Software Process and Measurement Cast will feature our interview with Alex Yakyma.  Our discussion focused on the industry’s broken mindset that prevents it from being Lean and Agile.  A powerful and possibly controversial interview.

Shameless Ad for my book!

Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.

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The Software Process and Measurement Cast 407 includes four separate columns.  We begin with a short essay refreshing the pros and cons of Test Driven Development. Test Driven Development promises a lot of benefits but all is not light, kittens and puppies. Still, TDD is well worth doing if you go into it with your eyes open.

Our second column features Kim Pries, the Software Sensei.  Kim discusses what makes software “good.” The Software Sensei puts the “good” in quotes because it is actually a difficult word to define but Kim is willing to give the discussion a go!

In our third column, we return to Tame The Flow: Hyper-Productive Knowledge-Work Performance, The TameFlow Approach and Its Application to Scrum and Kanban published J Ross (buy a copy here). We tackle Chapter 10 which is titled The Thinking Processes. Thinking processes are key to effectively using  Agile, lean and kanban processes.  

Gene Hughson anchors the cast with an entry from his Form Follows Function Blog.  In this installment, we discuss the blog entry titled “Learning to Deal with the Inevitable.”  Gene and I discussed change which is inevitable and innovation which is not quite as inevitable.

Re-Read Saturday News

This week we continue our re-read of Kent Beck’s XP Explained, Second Edition with a discussion of Chapters 16 and 17.   Chapter 16 ends Section One with an interview with Brad Jensen.  Section Two addresses the philosophies of XP.  Chapter 17 tells the creation story of XP from Beck’s point of view.

We are going to read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Jossey-Bass .  This will be a new book for me, therefore, an initial read (I have not read this book yet), not a re-read!  Steven Adams suggested the book and it has been on my list for a few years! Click the link (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team), buy a copy and in a few weeks, we will begin to read the book together.

Use the link to XP Explained in the show notes when you buy your copy to read along to support both the blog and podcast. Visit the Software Process and Measurement Blog (www.tcagley.wordpress.com) to catch up on past installments of Re-Read Saturday.

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In the next Software Process and Measurement Cast, we will feature our interview with Kupe Kupersmith. Kupe brings his refreshing take on the role of the business analyst in today’s dynamic environment.  This interview was informative, provocative and entertaining.     

Shameless Ad for my book!

Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.

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One last week in mixtape format! I am completing a trip that is a mixture of vacation and a board meeting but that does not mean you have to forego your weekly SPaMCAST.  In place of our normal format I am posting a mix tape of the answers to the “If you could change two things” question I have been asking interviewees for nearly ten years.  This week on SPaMCAST 393 we feature our top downloaded podcasts from the year 2010:

SPaMCAST 85 – Cory Foy on Agile Coaching

http://traffic.libsyn.com/spamcast/SPaMCAST_85_-_Cory_Foy_Agile_Coaching_Collaboration_Part_1.mp3

http://bit.ly/1Qmmx0g

Cory used his wishes to discuss the obsession with certification rather than performance and bring user into making critical business decisions so that usability is maximized.

SPaMCAST 92 – Don Reinertsen on Product Development Flow

http://bit.ly/1WERCDZ

Don used his wishes to ask that people understand the economics of product development and then to use that understanding to measure and reduce WIP queues.

SPaMCAST 94 – Ivar Jacobson on SEMAT

http://bit.ly/1SYSmhA

Ivar discussed the SEMAT core defining software engineering and how SPaMCAST listeners can support the development of SEMAT.

If these excerpts tickled your fancy listen to the whole interview by clicking on the links shown above.

Next week we will return to regular programming with a thought provoking interview.

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Software Process and Measurement Cast 381 features our essay on Agile adoption.  Words are important. They can rally people to your banner or create barriers. Every word communicates information and intent. There has been a significant amount of energy spent discussing whether the phrase ‘Agile transformation’ delivers the right message. There is a suggestion that ‘adoption’ is a better term. We shall see!

We will also have an entry from Gene Hughson’s Form Follows Function Blog. Gene will discuss his blog entry, Seductive Myths of Greenfield Development. Gene wrote “How often do we, or those around us, long for a chance to do things “from scratch”. The idea being, without the constraints of “legacy” code, we could do things “right”. While it’s a nice idea, it has no basis in reality.” The discussion built from there!

And a visit from the Software Sensei, Kim Pries!  In the essay, Kim ruminates on the gender gap in computer science education leading to a gender gap in the industry. (more…)

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Software Process and Measurement Cast 380 features our interview with Kim Robertson. Kim and I talked about big picture configuration management.  Without good configuration managements work, products, and programs often go wildly astray. Kim describes the a process that is as old a dirt . . . but WORKS and delivers value. We also discussed the book Kim co-authored with Jon Quigley (Jon was interviewed in SPaMCAST 346) Configuration Management: Theory, Practice, and Application. (more…)

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