An iterative incremental software development process

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After getting a head of gray hairs and a quickly receding hairline, I have learned that the simplest solutions are often the best. Having worked with Java since 1995 and various software development lifecycle methodologies over the years, I have seen things grow complex in these areas. Thanks to some new lighter-weight Java tools and agile methods, I can provide a fresh perspective on developing Java applications in an agile manner. This article is different from typical Java articles for two reasons. First, instead of providing in-depth details on some API or cool tool, it provides a roadmap for building enterprise-class Java applications using agile methods and plain old Java objects (POJOs). Second, it covers a lot of ground, from conceptualization through deployment, so for the sake of brevity, there are minimal code excerpts; however, there's a completely functi... (more)

Cloud Computing Turns Virtual Teams Into a Competitive Advantage

Collaboration in the cloud is the future of business. Web 2.0 and cloud computing make it possible to solve the final challenge of coordination and management. If you're inside a larger enterprise, you can use collaboration in the cloud to compete with lean, nimble startups, or to better coordinate across different groups, offices, and divisions. We've heard all the buzzwords before. Virtual companies. Offshoring. Free agent nation. But this time, it's for real. The future of business is no longer enormous, vertically integrated titans (anyone check Ford's stock price recently?), but rather small, nimble, federations. Historically, the cost of coordination has outweighed the benefits of agility, which is why the virtual corporation had a hard time breaking through. But today's cloud technologies, with their ability to bridge the gaps between firms, and between busine... (more)

Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server

With the release of Visual Studio 2005 in November Microsoft Visual Studio entered the enterprise development tools space with a coherent set of products targeted at the distinct roles in the software development lifecycle. On March 17 2006, Microsoft released Team Foundation Server, which finally enables users of the various editions of Visual Studio 2005 to achieve the Team System. Visual Studio 2005 Team System enables the primary stakeholders in a software development project, the architects, developers, testers, and project managers, to collaborate through a common environment provided by the Team Foundation Server. According to the Standish Group, businesses in the United States spend around $250 billion annually on software development projects with the average software development project ranging from $430,000 to $2.3 million. Today only 16% of these proje... (more)

The 4 Core Principles of Agile Programming

One of the things I really enjoy at the moment is the recognition and adoption of agile programming as a fully fledged powerful way to deliver quality software projects. As its figurehead is a group of very talented individuals who have created the agile manifesto http://agilemanifesto.org/. At its core are four simple principles that, when followed and applied to software projects, generally will ensure a great flexibility and hence higher agility. Leaving aside how great agile projects are, what worries me at the moment is that more and more people seem to be buying into this idea that agile programming is a noun rather than a verb, and that to do it correctly you have to follow a certain process to the letter. Point 1: the manifesto for agile developemt states that it puts "Individuals and interactions" over process and tools. In other words, you adapt the proc... (more)

The Evo-Cycle: Doing Software the Right Way - In 16 Stages

In the adventurous world of software development, we have all come to experience, criticize, and embrace many software lifecycle approaches (e.g., RUP, Agile, Scrum, XP, etc.). At their core, they intend to identify various stages in the software process and optimize their instrumentation through various iterative techniques. Through my own consulting experience on many projects, I have come to expect a slightly different discrete set of "stages" that invariably accompany software endeavors. Expanding on these traditional software stages, this evolutionary software cycle or "evo-cycle" brings with it an incredible burden for managers and developers alike, often resulting in staff attrition, process degradation, or the dreaded burnout. Knowing the evo-cycle, software professionals can prepare better mentally for its unrelenting impact. Software professionals usually... (more)

Interview: Timothy Ferriss, Bestselling Author of The 4-Hour Workweek

Scott Hanselman: Hi, this is Scott Hanselman and this is another episode of Hanselminutes. I'm down here in Sebastopol, California at Foo Camp and I've been lucky enough to sit down with Tim Ferriss, the New York best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek. That's four, the number four, not 40, not 14, four-hour workweek. How's it going, Tim? Timothy Ferriss: It's going great. SH: I want to understand how you're able to synthesize what is a 40- or 60- or 80-hour workweek to those four or few hours that really are the most value-added. Are you just outsourcing everything that's tedious? TF: No. I think that that's the most popular topic to discuss because it gets people hot and heavy and it's political and emotional, but at the core of the most important concept is that of reductionism. What I mean by that is it's very easy to make the simple complex, but it's quite ch... (more)

Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width!

Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width" was the title of a British TV sitcom in the late 60's (yes, I really am that old), which has nothing to do with Java software development. Or does it? The more I talk to people about the issue of Java software quality, the more I am reminded of the name of that seemingly ridiculous TV show. It seems to me that however much we talk about the need for quality in software development, it's an issue that takes a backseat to the "width" - by which I mean the number of feature requests that get crammed into our development projects. Many years ago, I worked for a company called Data General. Anyone with more than one or two gray hairs may remember DG as a minicomputer manufacturer (guess what - before Eclipse was an open source IDE, it was the name of a minicomputer made by DG). DG finally passed away in 1999, when what was left o... (more)

AJAX-Enhanced Project Management

TargetProcess Company has announced the release of TargetProcess v.2, the next generation project management software product for agile projects. TargetProcess is an ASP.NET 2.0 based agile project management software product. Designed with simplicity in mind, TargetProcess helps software development companies to reduce the complexity of software project management and simplify planning, tracking and quality assurance activities. The product is designed to support geographically distributed teams and facilitate agile software development practices like Extreme Programming and SCRUM. “We’ve focused our efforts on users and simplicity in the new version of TargetProcess. User Interface has been significantly re-designed to make frequent tasks easier. We utilize MS AJAX to increase the UI responsiveness. Such features as drag and drop, context actions, customiz... (more)

Agile SOA Across the Lifecycle - Part Five: IT and SOA Governance

This is the fifth of a six part series of posts on the Agile SOA life cycle. Here we will at look at IT and SOA Governance. With the introduction of agile, spiral, and scrum development methodologies, the traditional waterfall development approach of testing a near-finished app at the end of many Agile development cycles won't be agile at all, as the elements of the application are constantly changing.  Traditional models of IT governance will also not work. To aggravate testing, the service-oriented architecture (SOA) design pattern is used to make IT  more responsive to changes requested by business. New process tooling has been introduced to specifically assist in the cataloging of service assets, and organization of policies governing SOA. This new set of tooling created to support SOA revolves around governance platforms like HP Systinet / S2, SAG Centrasite, S... (more)

The Seven Deadly Sins of Software Test Automation

For the past 15-plus years, organisations have turned to test automation as a way to improve efficiency in the Software Development Life Cycle. Yet despite heavy investment, software testing is still often the bottleneck in the delivery cycle. In a recent survey of CIOs, Original Software found that only 6% were totally happy with their automation. The scary thing is that this is tolerated - It’s the norm! “Only in a world this shitty could you even try to say these were innocent people and keep a straight face. But that's the point. We see a deadly sin on every street corner, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because it's common, it's trivial. We tolerate it morning, noon, and night. Well, not anymore. I'm setting the example.” John Doe (Kevin Spacey) in Se7en Undoubtedly Test Automation has failed to achieve for the masses. But why is this the cas... (more)

Scrum at 21 with @KSchwaber | @DevOpsSummit #Agile #AI #Scrum #DevOps

I'm told that it has been 21 years since Scrum became public when Jeff Sutherland and I presented it at an Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages & Applications (OOPSLA) workshop in Austin, TX, in October of 1995. Time sure does fly. Things mature. I'm still in the same building and at the same company where I first formulated Scrum.[1] Initially nobody knew of Scrum, yet it is now an open source body of knowledge translated into more than 30 languages.[2] People use Scrum worldwide for developing software and other uses I never anticipated.[3] Scrum was born and initially used by Jeff and me to meet market demand at our respective companies. After we made Scrum public in 1996 and writing my paper SCRUM Development Process, we started trying Scrum publicly, in companies with critical needs that were willing to try anything. The first organization where we e... (more)