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When we talk about process improvement, we are talking about making work practices more efficient, in other words, how can we increase their value in relationship to their cost?
When I talk with organizations about employee engagement and continuous improvement, leaders often complain that they don’t have time for improvement. Or, they say their employees are too busy to participate and managers are too busy to get involved.
Is improvement old-fashioned? Is process going out of style? It would seem that, according to the Google Ngram search on Process Improvement, it started being discussed in the mid-1980s and peaked around the year 2000, and has now started declining.
Every project needs a little magic, and every project manager needs a little bit of “woofle dust” to make obstacles disappear and help launch dates align with the project schedule.
Experienced people in our industry will be familiar with this popular anti-pattern. Now it has a name.
If you think daily stand-ups are working great for your team -- and, more importantly, the team thinks that too -- stick with them. If you're curious what life would be without them, then abandon them for a couple iterations and objectively observe what happens.
It’s terribly difficult to manage unmotivated people. Make your job easier and don’t...
Too many managers believe in the myth of 100 percent utilization. That’s the belief that every single technical person must be fully utilized every single minute of every single day. The problem with this myth is that there is no time for innovation, no time for serendipitous thinking, no time for exploration.
Changing people’s behavior is not about changing people, but changing the context which they are in: the smell of the place.
The two core goals of project management are prioritization and predictability.
Trying to create a sense of urgency almost always backfires.
"I have used many different project management tools but I have to say that I have not yet found one which really makes me 100% happy to use it."
It’s hard to quantify the customer experience. “Simpler and faster for users” is a tough sell when the value of our work doesn’t make sense to management. We have to prove we’re delivering real value—increased the success rate, or reduced time-on-task, for example—to get their attention. Management understands metrics that link with other organizational metrics, such as lost revenue, support calls, or repeat visits. So, we need to describe our environment with metrics of our own.
Postmortems, also referred to less deathly as “root cause analysis,” are a way of retrospecting on a particular incident or failure. They help to better understand what went wrong and – crucially – how it can be avoided in the future.
In terms of sheer quantity, most software is written below the waterline, deep in the bowels of companies that don’t sell software, but need it anyway. That’s the world of internal software development. And internal software development, in-house software shops, have a problem. Well, they have lots of problems, but we’re going to focus on one today: Internal Billing and the Billable Hour.
In software development, we have a lot of planning and design methods that should help us in creating a vision of a final product. However, as it usually is, they are designed with commercial products created by full and paid teams in mind. What if we are doing our personal project in spare time? We could try to employ those methods too, but they would usually be an overkill and even complicate things more. So, what instead?
If you want to understand why so many startups become infected with unhealthy work habits, or outright workaholism, a good place to start your examination is in the attitudes of their venture capital investors.
People in our industry think they stopped doing waterfall and switched to agile. In reality they just switched to high-frequency waterfall.
Nothing… Apart from pretty much everything with the way we use them…
Software Engineers are well-paid professionals and often represent the life and blood of the organization, but also one of the largest cost centers in the budget. For that reason, there is unavoidable scrutiny on the productivity of every engineering team and the allocation of its resources.
A shocking window into the $36 billion video game industry and how it can burn out its most valuable employees.
There are projects that no one wants to work at. There could be many reasons for that. Being aware of these problems is the first step to start fixing them. And most importantly, by being aware of these problems we can start from day one implementing processes that prevent these kind of things from happening.
How long will it take you to run to the store and buy some milk? You know how far away the store is, you know where they keep the milk, and you know that you’ll probably have to spend a few minutes checking out. But, chances are this isn’t enough information to answer the question. If you’re like most people, you’re terrible at these kinds of predictions.
An engineer looked at some work and imagined the solution in their head. “Yeah I don’t think that’ll be too hard.” They saw in their head how to do it, so they positioned the work at the top of the hill. What happened next? After they got their hands dirty and started building, the reality turned out to be more complicated.
As a programmer looking for a job, you need to be on the lookout for badly managed companies. Whether it’s malicious exploitation or just plain incompetence, the less time you waste applying for these jobs, the better. Some warning signs are subtle, but not all. One of the most blatant is a simple phrase: “must be willing to work under pressure.”
Project management doesn't have to sound like a foreign language with this handy list of terms to reference.