Facilitating the Spread of Knowledge and Innovation in Professional Software Development

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  • Do You Think Like a Lawyer, a Scientist, or an Engineer?

    Law, science, and engineering offer three distinct approaches to logical thinking. Each is important in different circumstances, and in practice, we can use all three. How much understanding and control do you have of a situation? Do you simply need to follow the rules? Are you operating in a world of uncertainty and volatility? Or are you building and defining the rules as you go along?

  • Using Checklists to Organize Software Development Processes

    A checklist as a process organization tool has already made a good showing in aviation and healthcare. In this article, Zakhar Yung explains how Agile teams take advantage of checklists at different stages of software development processes including sprint planning, software testing, deployment and debugging, and discover their benefits for your own project.

  • The Role of the Analyst in Agile Projects

    Addressing another Agile Myth (we don't need no analysts!), Shane Hastie, Chief Knowledge Engineer at Software Education, outlines how the Business Analyst can help Agile teamwork - when properly aligned with the business, rather than the development team.

  • A Case For Short Iterations

    Dave Nicolette, Agile Coach with Valtech, addresses the question are short iterations better than long. Dave demonstrates that short iterations: allow for more rapid response to change, the opportunity to discover and fix problems more often. He also deals with the concerns that short iterations might lead to burnout and other issues.

  • The Three M's - The Lean Triad

    The discussion of applying lean principles to software development has largely focused on identifying and eliminating waste (in Japanese: muda). Lean Thinking equally aims to remove overburden (muri) and unnecessary variation (mura). Roman Pichler discusses the relationship of the "three M's" and proposes to eliminate overburden as the first step toward a leaner process.

  • Kanban Applied to Software Development: from Agile to Lean

    In this InfoQ article Kenji Hiranabe applies lessons learned while working with Japanese manufacturers. While many Agile teams are optimizing only a portion of the value stream, Hiranabe proposes a simple way to adapt lessons from Lean Manufacturing's "Kanban" visual tracking system to make process visible to more of the organization, for better communication and process improvement.

  • The "Consulting" Contract

    Coach Michael Spayd tells us that both contractors and permanent employees can play a "consultant" role, and should think about developing consulting contracts or "designed partnerships" with their clients - not about the exchange of money, but to help create stellar results for the client while working in a manner that adheres to their own values and preferences.

  • Don't Let Miscommunication Spiral Out Of Control

    We miscommunicate every day, with results ranging from trivial to catastrophic. In this seasonally themed article, J. B. Rainsberger shares one of his secret weapons - the Satir Communication Model. It's a thinking tool to help us analyze troubling conversations, and to more deeply understand the people around us, building trust, the first step towards building an effective team.

  • AgileEVM: Measuring Cost Efficiency Across the Product Lifecycle

    In this InfoQ article, Tamara Suleiman explains AgileEVM, an adaptation of traditional Earned Value Management (EVM) metrics, designed to fit a Scrum project management framework. Compatible with traditional EVM metrics, it allows both Agile and traditional projects to be tracked within a single program, giving important early warnings of trends across the entire product life cycle.

  • Agile, Architecture and the 5am Production Problem

    Can refactoring and unit testing really create robust “working software” that survives the real world? In this story adapted from his book Release It! Michael Nygard contends that "abstractions leak": we need to attend to architecture, even in Agile projects, to guard ourselves against the 5AM failures that occur when foundational abstractions misbehave.

  • Agile User Interface Development

    The wider adoption of Agile software development has raised questions about how an approach that shuns up-front design and analysis can coexist with the emerging practice of user-centered design, which has a detailed user research and modeling phase before development begins. In this article Dave Churchville explores how the disciplines can be used together for an effective development process.

  • Interview: Using Agile for SOA

    Recently, Digital Focus documented their experience using Agile to tackle SOA for Federal Home Loan Banks. The incremental approach included adopting an SOA platform that could grow as the SOA application portfolio grew, and getting frequent feedback from customers and developers. InfoQ interviewed both the client and the author of the experience report on the project, and business-IT alignment.