Borrowing from one of the elements of the JIRA ticketing system, there comes a time when the influx of development requests very obviously is epic in proportion, and should be recognized as such.  Any member of the team should be able to call this out, “hey, that’s Epic”, and help drive an Epic Meeting. Sometimes Epics happen naturally, especially in product development-oriented organizations.  A new product is definitely a new epic, and calls for  a discussion on the overall goals of the product and an initial approach to its design.  This should be hashed out well before development, individual tickets, and sprints start.  Sometimes, theRead More →

Agile processes, especially as recognized in software development practice, has been a very successful project management approach. In my 20+ years experience with the general approach (when it was first labeled “extreme programming”), I have experienced more rapid delivery of quality code, more predictability in the software development life cycle, less rework, and a higher resonance with customer and stakeholder needs.  I have also observed, though, it causing stress within organizations – when software is developed as rapidly as it is under an Agile approach, the corporate bottlenecks become more apparent elsewhere, causing friction with other teams. Agile detractors also point to problems within teamsRead More →

I’m sure you’ve been there – you’re sitting in a project status meeting, and a manager is going around the room asking for updates on all the assigned tasks: “is this task complete?  No, then what % complete is it?”,  or “this task was at 50% complete last week, what % would you say it is today?” No, just no.  Percent Complete is a Lie.  A complete lie. It gives everyone in the meeting a false sense of progress, masks potential risks, and ultimately leads to schedule slippages.  A task has been stalled at 80% for 3 weeks now, finally it’s starting to become a criticalRead More →

(see also, Jakarta Contrasts) Many folks have asked me, “how did you get to work in Indonesia?”  Well, it was a small chain of events.  I was doing Lotus Notes development work at the time, and Lotus Consulting partnered with my small firm (they were very keen on their partner network) to do several small applications.   One of their managers asked if I could work on a project in New York.  Turns out it was a “troubled project”, a highly visible project that wasn’t going well, and they were at risk of losing the whole contract.  The client was Ernst & Young. As oneRead More →