Insights and outlooks on software development


On time or functionality

Saturday, June 27, 2009 by Thomas L

 1107168876_a1cd450cb8_o One rule in agile software development is:

Quality - Time - Functionality - you can have only two

This generally means that it is impossible to have fixed time and fixed scope, at the same time as you keep a high quality. Of course, there are times where you are lucky and made the full scope on the specified time at the same time as you have a high quality. However, generally, when you enter a project, it's not wise to promise all of these three.

Another rule that I tend to think is hyper-important when developing software is that quality always should be a primary focus. This actually reduces the rule above to:

Time or Functionality - you can have only one

If we widen the scope to include project management outside of the software development arena, we usually have one more parameter, which is resources (or cost). This means that in a building project, it's possible to increase the throughput in a project by adding more people or working overtime.

Adding resources to a project is hard to do when you do software development. If you impose overtime on your developers, they will be more tired and will take worse decisions in the continuous design process that is software development, and if you add more people, your throughput will go down in the short run since the new people will need training from the original project members.

This means that you have a choice when planning a release, either Time or Functionality. What to choose? That's hard to answer generally. I tend to like projects releasing in a continuous takt, like Ubuntu's 6 months lead-time. It gives customers and project members predictability in the planning of e.g. when you are doing upgrades or trainings. However, it's entirely possible to use agile processes to deliver both release types.

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On Agila Sverige 09 - afterwards

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 by Thomas L

The conference has just ended, and I'm sitting in my living room. These are my thoughts.

I got contact with some people regarding my presentation "LWAM - Light-Weight Agile Maturity". It seems as if I've stuck a nerve somewhere, since a big consultant/product company apparently sells a product that has to do with basically the same thing as I've talked about, albeit packaged up in an expensive box, together with consulting hours and education. However, my main point is that it doesn't have to be this complex! If you can create a tool as simple as possible, then everyone can use the tool to point to improvements to come to a goal.

The lightning talks and open spaces were some good, some bad. I'm a bit sad in that there is only a number of people, basically the same over and over again, that do the presentations and stand up to present/lead an Open Space topic. The rest of us are a bit too shy to get out there. It's of course the responsibility of the single person to stand up and propose a topic, but I'm a bit curious if something could be done to counter this. The issue is probably due to some people not being comfortable enough to present things to hundred unknown faces. If we could overcome this fear, I think that we could get even more interesting topics and discussions. That's actually where Agile Öresund 2008 had an edge to Agila Sverige 09; the beginning featured an introductory get-to-know-each-other in where we did a quick presentation of ourselves.

To sum it up: the conference was good, very good. I have things to take back to my daily work, and other things that I'm going to try if I have a clean sheet. In the conference retrospective, I answered a 9 on a 1-10 scale if I would recommend the next conference to others, my only issue is the one stated above. Quite telling.

On the next ALT.NET Oresund meeting

Friday, June 5, 2009 by Thomas L

The 4th ALT.NET Oresund meeting is going to take place at ITU (IT Universitetet) in Copenhagen Thursday June 25th.

If you're arriving from Sweden, the easiest way is to take an Öresundståg from Malmö C and then get off at the Ørestad train station. Then hop on to the Metro and hop off at Islands Brygge. The travel is less than 40 minutes.

There'll be a run-through of the new NUnit 2.5 features, and of course Open Space sessions. It will most certainly be a blast.

On the strangest bug I've ever encountered

by Thomas L

I tend to use the Find in files (Ctrl-Shift-F) feature in Visual Studio quite much. Some days ago, all my searches failed, having a strange error, something like this: "No files were found to look in. Find was stopped in progress".

To fix this issue, which seems to have been there from Visual Studio 2003 (I use Visual Studio 2008), you should press Ctrl+Scroll Lock.