Posts Tagged ‘software development’

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Architects as Scouts

Software architects have many responsibilities and expectations placed upon them which can be confusing to handle. For a while now I have been condensing these demands into a small set of metaphorical roles. I have found this helpful in staying true to my broader objectives as I move between tasks or problems. The role that […]

The Shocking Truth about Agile and Waterfall

There is a common perception within I.T. that Agile methods are recent innovations – the new kids on the block – and they are contrasted with the traditional waterfall approach – the old-timer that has been around for ages. This perception is propagated by events such as the widely-discussed 10-year anniversary of the agile manifesto […]

Getting Started with WebSphere Configuration Scripting

Deploying Java EE applications into a WebSphere application server typically requires configuration within WebSphere of settings such as data sources, thread pool sizes, and maximum heap size. The WebSphere Administration Console provides a graphical user interface for easily doing this setup, but the fatal flaw of this approach is that it is manual – repeating […]

Alternatives to Formal Traceability

In my prior post The Trouble with Traceability I discussed the problems with doing requirements traceability, especially formal traceability using approaches like a requirements traceability matrix (RTM). Despite the flaws with traceability the underlying objective is sound: ensure that everything the customer or user requires is correctly delivered. So how can we achieve this objective? […]

The Trouble with Traceability

In software development traceability is the linkage of requirements to the software and/or development artifacts like design or test cases. The underlying objective is to ensure that everything the customer or user requires has been correctly delivered. I have no quibbles with this goal, but in practice the applications of traceability I have seen leave […]

Defects – To Fix or Not to Fix

To fix defects or not fix defects, that is the question: whether it is better to suffer the complaints of outraged users, or to divert effort to investigate and eliminate them. Shakespeare quotes aside, every software development project has to make decisions on how many defects to fix and which ones to leave alone prior […]

Software Documentation Templates

I am a believer in minimizing software documentation that lives outside the code. This does not, however, mean no documentation. There are a number of reasons why documentation can be useful, especially for larger organizations: Documentation is more effective than code at communicating high-level or cross-cutting design and operational concerns. Larger organizations or distributed organizations […]

Most Disturbing Code

One question I often ask when giving job interviews is “What do you find most disturbing when reviewing code?” The answers I receive are especially interesting when compared to the interviewee’s results doing an actual code review: it is rare for them to identify the problems they consider the most disturbing. This lack of congruence […]

Top Seven Quality Principles in Software Development

How do you ensure high quality when developing software? The processes that are used, the decisions that are made, and the actions that are taken must be aligned with proven quality principles. In this context I define a principle to be a fundamental truth that is the foundation for a system of behavior. Too often […]

Growth through Operating Under Constraints

The other day I was composing a tweet and it struck me that the difficulties I faced in crafting my message to fit within 140 characters without using abbreviations was a good exercise for making me a better writer. After further reflection I generalized this specific case to a broader principle about personal development: performing […]

Streaming Data to Reduce Memory Usage

I recently performed a series of optimizations to reduce an application’s memory usage. After completing several of these I noticed that there was a common theme to many of my optimizations that I could explicitly apply to help identify further opportunities for improvement. As a reoccuring solution, this qualifies as a design pattern which I […]

How Should You Feel About Defects

I have recently observed myself and others having a variety of reactions when defects are found ranging between the extremes of elation and despair. How should we feel when defects are discovered? Should this vary by role? Role-Based Attitudes I will first answer this question on a role by role basis, starting with the role […]

Connecting with Calgary

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Calgary, Alberta to visit the CGI office there and hang out with several of the development teams. These teams have extensive experience with larger-scale agile development including both XP and Scrum and have a good reputation for having a great development culture that excels at mentoring and […]

When is Testing Done?

I have been asked several times recently about the question of when testing can be considered ‘done’ for a piece of software? A related form of this question is to ask when one should stop testing. This applies to both developers and testers for any type of testing ranging from writing automated unit tests to […]

Predicting and Evaluating Defect Levels

Is it possible to predict how many defects will be encountered in acceptance test or production? What number of defects would be considered reasonable versus signs of low or high quality? These are questions I considered when my last project entered acceptance test. At the time I had no good answers. So over the past […]

Filter by Failure Mode Matrix: A Method for Planning Quality

For any software development effort a core component of planning how to achieve high quality is the selection of the quality-enhancing activities and practices that will be performed to assess the software. This selection depends on a number of factors including the capabilities of the team, the characteristics, complexity and criticality of the software, the […]

Who is Responsible for Quality?

I had a manager a short while ago ask me who was responsible for quality within their organization, within the context of software development projects. Without having to think about it, I knew the answer. It was intuitively obvious, but it was an intuition fueled by reading hundreds if not thousands of pages about lean […]

Mistaking Plans for Goals

I believe there are two primary flaws in focusing on plans. The first flaw is the assumption that following the plan will achieve the goal. Sure, the plan is assembled with the intent of meeting the objectives, but what guarantee is there that this will actually happen? The second flaw is putting one’s primary attention […]

Example-Based Requirements

Most of the requirements I deal with are in the form of documented use cases and lists of business rules. These requirements are almost always written in a generalized form. For example a business rule might be written as “Produce a warning if the last transaction in the account is more than a year ago.” […]

Defect Prevention Practices

I have written numerous times about defect elimination practices such as code reviews, unit testing, and static code analysis tools. From the perspective of lean thinking, however, eliminating defects, no matter how soon after they are introduced, results in waste due to rework to fix the defects. The ideal as far as lean is concerned […]

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