Reading Between the Lines

This is a true story related to me a few years ago.  My friend was working for a software contractor on a project for a large technology giant.  The technology giant is wedded to the idea that the value of software is directly related to the number of lines — which is crazy.  Most of us stopped counting lines decades ago, but here is a shocking example of what can happen if you don’t understand what your client thinks is valuable. Continue reading

All-or-Nothing is a poor planning technique

I work with a large development group.  Every 6 to 9 months we go through a planning phase.  What follow is a curious ritual that I will recount in detail, that end up in a project that is deemed excellently planned by the engineers and managers, even though the resulting software product is summarily disliked by the customers.  It is all based on the theory that perfect software requires a perfect plan. Continue reading

Learning to Iterate

I work with a large team in Japan that develops software.  The software produced is late, out of date, falling behind the competition, and is filled serious usability problems.  The software is of high quality from a Japanese point of view: the products do exactly what they say they will do.  Certainly no less, and generally no more, than advertised.  The development is expensive, and the product is falling behind the competition.  It is clear to everyone, even the team itself, that something needs to be done to ‘fix’ the development methodology. Continue reading