The software engineering field has changed a lot over the years. There have been many advances in the field in terms of tools used, how teams build and test software, the speed of delivery, and so on. For teams that have not yet become a true Agile team (every sprint is developed, tested, and production ready), one pattern continues to show itself even though this pattern is a carry over from the days of large waterfall projects. This pattern is the projection and allocation of budget based on the one-third rule. In the days of large waterfall projects, organizations made the assumption that a software budget was allocated one-third per major category: analysis and design, Read more
Posts Tagged 'lean'
If you’ve been following my series of posts about ALM, you know that the Lean concept of flow is one of ALM’s two central pillars. (The other is alignment, an indicator of the likelihood that the software organization is delivering value.) Whenever I talk about anything related to Lean, I’m always a little nervous. People misinterpret Lean frequently, with highly destructive consequences, so putting a Lean frame around ALM is almost asking for trouble. The most frequent distortion of Lean that I’ve seen in software development is the following syllogism: Lean tells us that we should reduce waste. Unused capacity is a form of waste. Therefore, we should maximize the utilization of our capacity. To Read more
Software development is not really a single discipline. What comes under the overall field is a combination of disciplines that address a range of problems: Maintaining and evolving fielded code Adding significant new features to an existing application or platform Building an entirely new application or platform These differ in the amount of innovation required and the amount of information available for delivering a quality system. Teams working on type 1 problems generally are not required to invent anything and they have detailed information on the code change required and available technology. Teams addressing type 2 efforts may need to be innovative in building out and integrating the capability. Also, they usually have incomplete information Read more
Lean, like Agile, is an increasingly nebulous term. At its core, Lean centers on paying attention and continuously improving our processes and our products. Tools like Kanban, Personal Kanban, A3s, Validation Canvases and the like are spreading Lean thinking — but the focus is more and more on tools, not on continuous improvement. The more we learn about how software is created and the modern product lifecycle, the less certain the processes are becoming. Change happens quickly, and business needs to respond quickly. We want to increase predictability, but the best we can hope for is to simply understand what is predictable and build systems to suit. Since we are dealing with evolving products in Read more
In a recent post I reflected on a ‘built-in’ benefit of my job, as follows: One of the pleasures of being practice director is that I get to know and be known to fascinating folks that I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to meet and build a relationship with. If another proof for my reflection was needed, this post welcoming Dr. Murray Cantor is as hard a proof as they come. Here is a researcher and author whose originality and rigor are second to none, and I have the privilege and pleasure of writing about his joining Cutter as a Contributing Expert! I would hate to steal Murray’s thunder, but would allow myself to hint Read more
Cutter IT Journal Call for Papers with Guest Editor Jim Sutton. The heart of a modern enterprise is the knowledge work it does. How to run a factory effectively is fairly well understood these days. But strategy, market positioning, effective services and the like are what make for an effective business. These are all knowledge work activities. Enterprises and knowledge work leaders are moving away from the mass production paradigm and into a systems view using the Lean paradigm. Lean knowledge work emphasizes getting the most from people through appropriate decisionmaking, from executives through workers. This trend is reversing the short-term, every-division-for-itself fractionalization that many organizations adopted during the financial pressure years spanning 2008 – Read more
Due to the uncertainty of our times, I’m going to make two predictions. First, the world will come to an end on December 21st, exactly as the Mayans DID NOT predict hundreds of years ago. Granted, the Mayan calendar runs out on the 21st but to be quite frank my calendar runs out every year on December 31st and the world has still gone on despite of that dire prediction. The Mayan calendar myth dates back to the mid-1970s, a time when we were seeing Sasquatches in every forest, aliens eviscerating cows in every farm field, and chariots of the gods in the skies of South America. At that time we were also doing prodigious Read more