I have great respect for software developers. Because software is abstract, invisible and runs at extreme speeds, the people who are good at building it have to possess a particular talent at visualization and a willingness to use complex tools. When software developers become project managers (PMs), they tend to rely on software tools to [...]
“Project management? That’s just a lot of useless overhead!” I remember hearing variations of this a lot years ago. I don’t hear this much anymore (due at least in some part to the good work at PMI), but I have been seeing something of a variation. Working with some engineering teams at some big [...]
When is an Agile development effort not so agile? When you haven’t clearly defined the ultimate objective. I freely admit that I am not an expert in Agile development so my expectations may not be appropriate but come on now how can one expect to be successful if they don’t know what the ultimate goal [...]
Agile development methodologies put forth a set of guidelines for helping to navigate the complex world of software development. For agile to be truly effective, it needs to be supported throughout the organization, and encourages reaching out to the customers. In working with the agile projects at different companies, I found challenges in getting [...]
What is it about software development projects that is different from many other types of projects? There are many things, but Scott Adams nailed on the head one of them with his March 16th Dilbert cartoon which gave me the idea for this column’s title. In the strip, Pointy Haired Boss says “My management philosophy [...]
I just finished reviewing the notes from last week’s Agile Open California conference retrospective: what an amazing journey! One of the many interesting discoveries was the fact that it was almost exactly 9 months from conception of the conference to delivery: some cycle times just can’t be improved on!
Do you have the opportunity to learn while you work, to take a look at your project experiences for lessons learned? Is the idea of learning from experience just another thing that’s fallen into the “knowing-doing gap”? The mature organization encourages and capitalizes on learnings as the starting place for refinements and new initiatives. How [...]
So what is the result? Today, usually only one team member has spoken directly with a customer, and this understanding isn’t typically captured in written form anyplace to share with the rest of the product development team members. So when a technical tradeoff needs to be made, there is a 50/50 likelihood that the tradeoff [...]
Agile project team values and their embodiment in actual practice are highly subject to personal interpretation on the parts of practitioners, and thus necessarily suffer criticism for its wide-ranging variety of acceptable variations, all claiming to be agile. So a significant percentage of projects that claim to be agile, yet not adopting all of the [...]
In my last post, I discussed change and how it is always present in projects. In this post I would like to discuss a particular area of change: what we often call changing requirements. Changing requirements are typically blamed for most ills in software projects. How can this be resolved with my earlier assertion that [...]
In the Dance of Change by Senge, et. al., the authors present five disciplines for individuals and teams to study and practice that enable organizational learning. The disciplines are Personal Mastery, Mental Models, Shared Vision, Team Learning, and Systems Thinking. Today I thought it might be useful to explore one of these, Mental Models.