Turn to The Last Word, where software professionals who care about quality give you their opinions on hot topics. This month, Johanna Rothman explains what technicians can do to convince management that context switching in the technical world is a sure-fire means to a late project.
Every manager has a story to tell. Find out how one management professional tackles a fictional dilemma. The story may be made up, but the solutions are tried and true. In this installment, Patrick Bailey tells the harrowing tale of a skilled technician-turned-manager who finds himself in a sticky situation with his CEO.
Some painful lessons seem to require periodic re-learning. Lessons about unintended consequences come around again and again, like an ugly pony on a carousel. People familiar with the merry-go-round of implementing change without regard to business consequences recognize these lessons as they reappear. For those new to the project carnival, Payson Hall describes a ride on the ugly pony and how you can avoid it.
No one starts a project with the goal of failing, but some metrics experts claim that 80 percent of software metrics initiatives fail. Just as your software project has goals for success, you should have goals for success in your metrics initiatives. Find out what you can do to better your chance for success.
Projects collapse in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. Fortunately there are things you can do to stabilize and rebuild your project before the dust settles. With these expert tips and a little elbow grease, you'll have the tools you'll need to renovate almost any failing project.
Every manager has a story to tell. Find out how one management professional tackles a fictional dilemma. The story may be made up, but the solutions are tried and true. In this installment, Michele Sliger tells the tale of the movement of a Program Management Office away from waterfall toward Agile.
So what happens when interaction designers are put to work on an Agile process? Meet "Dan Means," a system administrator persona developed to represent and emphasize customer requirements. Find out how one development team used him and other personas to blend interaction design and Agile development to deliver a product the customer really wanted.
Once upon a time there was an Agile requirements process and an ugly stepsister project. This might sound like the beginning of a fractured fairy tale, but it's a reality for many projects that don't fit the criteria for an efficient, effective requirements process. Language barriers, large teams, and tunnel vision are all things that can turn your project from Cinderella to stepsister. Find out how you can overcome these obstacles and get your team back to "happily ever after."
If your customer interview questions focus too narrowly on a problem that must be solved, you run the risk of missing information that could be critical to a successful outcome. In this column, Naomi Karten says playing detective improves your ability to gather information. To improve the odds of success, it's important to ask questions from multiple perspectives—and to pay attention not only to the customers' response, but to how they say it as well.
Drawing up a to-do list sounds like a logical starting point when you want to prioritize your workload. But if you have an extra-long list of tasks, the list you should start with is the not-to-do list. Doing so forces you to take an extra hard look at what you're doing and if you should be doing it. Learn more about Johanna Rothman's not-to-do list, how it helps you stay focused on the most important tasks, and how it inevitably helps you maintain your value to the organization.