Wednesday, February 20, 2002

Fast Takes. I had a short conversation with Unmesh Laddha, Thinking Minds, Inc. CEO, about properly managing projects. The short version is effective project management boils down to a few simple steps and a lot of mundane--but important--attention to small details.

I am not going to go into specifics today, but am going to provide background material on processes that are reasonably easy to manage if you have a disciplined project manager and team.

Key to Success. The key word is discipline; i.e., people who will take the time to do proper up-front planning and estimating, work from checklists, and measure actual costs and work against planned baselines.

The first source is my 19 February entry in Postcards from the Revolution where I provided a presentation and whitepaper supporting 16 critical software practices. The second source is an article describing a streamlined version of the Rational Unified Process (RUP). If you're not familiar with the RUP I have a PowerPoint presentation that will quickly summarize the process.

A streamlined version of the RUP is described in an article by Gary K. Evans titled A Simplified Approach to RUP. You can also download the article in PDF format.

Another approach is evolutionary rapid development, which is described in an MS Word whitepaper. No, these resources do not teach project management, but they do provide frameworks and advice that are the foundation of development projects. At a later time I'll write a short article on the bare essentials for managing projects.

Failure and Prevention. The NIST Draft Software Fault and Failure Handbook is a valuable resource for project managers, system architects and SQA professionals. In addition, the associated Guidance on Errors in C++ and Classification of Object-Oriented Faults should be read and closely followed by your entire project team if your project involves C++ and/or OO.

End Note. For the QA professionals among you, the following real-life performance test plan is an example of how to develop this kind of test strategy and associated test cases.

I've been busy catching up on the backlog of books I'm reviewing, so entries for the rest of the week are going to be fast takes such as this one and my most recent entry in Postcards from the Revolution. Bear with me because when I do resurface I'll have a lot to say about many topics.

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