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 432 begins with an essay on the impact of leadership types on adopting and sustaining Agile.  Leadership style has a direct impact on an organization’s ability to adopt and sustain Agile.  Some leadership styles are more supportive, while others evoke more of a response that is epitomized by locking feral cats and dogs in a room (nobody wins).

Next up, Jeremy Berriault brings his QA Corner to the cast to discuss surprises in QA testing.  Visit Jeremy’s blog at https://jberria.wordpress.com/  Next we will have a column from The Software Sensei, Kim Pries.  Kim discusses the holy trinity of forethought, execution and follow through. Reach out to Kim on LinkedIn. Last, but not least, Jon M Quigley brings his column, the Alpha and Omega of Product Development, to the Cast. In this segment, Jon discusses on-boarding. On-boarding new people is critical even if the person is just joining from another team down the hall.  One of the places you can find Jon is at Value Transformation LLC.

Re-Read Saturday News

This week  we tackle Chapter 5 in Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (buy your copy and read along).  In Chapter 5, Dweck uses examples from the business world to illustrate and elaborate on fixed and growth mindsets.

Every week we discuss a chapter then consider the implications of what we have “read” from the point of view of someone pursuing an organizational transformation and also how to use the material when coaching teams.   (more…)

carrying-a-basket-on-his-head

Efficiency a measure of how much wasted effort there is in a process or system. A high efficiency process has less waste. In mechanical terms the simplest definition of efficiency is the ratio of the amount of energy used compared to the amount of work done to create an output. When applied to IT projects, efficiency measures how staffing levels effect how much work can be done. The problem is that while a simple concept, it is difficult because it requires a systems-thinking view of software development processes.  As a result it is difficult to measure directly. (more…)

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Too big to fail?

Moral hazards occur when the potential outcome of taking a risk is disassociated from who will bear the cost of a risk.  Moral hazard is often caused by information asymmetry; the risk taker has more information than the person or organization that will bear the cost of a risk. Even though we assume in many cases perfect information or harp on the need for communication, information asymmetry is a common occurrence. Too big to fail is a form of moral hazard in which the organization may take larger risks with the potential the larger returns because they know they will not be allowed to fail. (more…)

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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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This week’s Software Process and Measurement Cast includes three columns!  The first is our essay on Agile Project Charters.  Project charters, done correctly, can play an extremely important role in the initiation of projects. The essay lays out how Agile projects can get the benefit of a project charter, without the bloat and shelfware that often get attached to project charters.

Software process and Measurement Cast 365 also features the return of the Software Sensei with a discussion of improvisation in software development. Kim Pries writes, “Many people think improvising means making things up, on the spot, without any advance preparation. I prefer a different definition: creating something special from whatever ordinary ingredients happen to be available. I would suggest we can go beyond this definition—good improvisation is a sign of mastery of one’s craft. Furthermore, truly great improvisation always involves ensembles (i.e., leave your ego at the door).” A powerful and important essay for anyone interested in delivering software.

Finally, Gene Hughson brings a new installment from his Form Follows Function blog to the Software Process and Measurement Cast with a discussion of his entry titled, “Maybe It’s Time for Customer-Driven Development.” Gene reminds us that the point of all work is pleasing a customer. That is a reminder that we all need to hear over and over and over to ensure it sticks!

Call to Action!

Review the SPaMCAST on iTunes, Stitcher or your favorite podcatcher/player and then share the review! Help your friends find the Software Process and Measurement Cast. After all, friends help friends find great podcasts!

Re-Read Saturday News

Remember that the Re-Read Saturday of The Mythical Man-Month returns this week when we tackle the essay titled “Hatching a Catastrophe!” Check out the new installment at Software Process and Measurement Blog.

 

Upcoming Events

Agile Development Conference East

November 8-13, 2015

Orlando, Florida

http://adceast.techwell.com/

I will be speaking on November 12th on the topic of Agile Risk. Let me know if you are going and we will have a SPaMCAST Meetup.

Next SPaMCAST

The next Software Process and Measurement Cast features my interview with Jeff Dalton.  Jeff returns to the Software Process and Measurement Cast to discuss the attributes of successful organizations. There are a relatively small set of attributes that successful organizations exhibit. These attribute don’t occur by accident, but rather are a reflection of hard work and consistency of purpose.  We can all reflect and adopt these attributes in our pursuit of success.

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, neither for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.

 

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The week’s Software Process and Measurement Cast features three columns.  The first is our essay on Agile Success Factors.  We recently surveyed a group of people actively involved in the software development field.  In the essay we discuss the top ten (factors involved in successfully using Agile.

This cast also includes a new entry in Jeremy Berriault’s QA Corner.  Jeremy discussed the sticky topics of who owns QA (testing) and who owns quality. Jeremy’s take on ownership of testing and quality is thought provoking.  After listening we would like your take on the topic.

In the third column, Kim Pries brings his popular Software Sensei column to bear on the prototypes and frameworks in software development. Kim explores the many of the different types of models that exist and discusses when and where they can be used.

Call to Action!

It is time to start building our fall and winter interview schedule.  Who would you like us to interview or is there a topic you want to hear discussed?  Please send us an email at spamcastinfo@gmail.com.

Re-Read Saturday News

We are taking a day off this week to attend Podcamp Pittsburgh X.  We are re-visiting the first re-read we ever did which was focused on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Upcoming Events

Software Quality and Test Management
September 13 – 18, 2015
San Diego, California
http://qualitymanagementconference.com/

I will be speaking on the impact of cognitive biases on teams.  Let me know if you are attending! If you are still deciding on attending let me know because I have a discount code.

Agile Development Conference East
November 8-13, 2015
Orlando, Florida
http://adceast.techwell.com/

I will be speaking on November 12th on the topic of Agile Risk. Let me know if you are going and we will have a SPaMCAST Meetup.

Next SPaMCAST

The next Software Process and Measurement feature our interview with Steve Turner.  Steve and I talked time management and email inbox tyranny!  As the summer winds down in the northern hemisphere, it is time to start thinking about getting in control of our time and inbox so that we can be not only more productive, but dare I say, more satisfied.

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, neither for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.