mitymoo Business & Industrial software defects — Volkswagen

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Business Industrial /Energy


By Greg Reiser 11 2009

Many businesses using offshore resources to high-value, high complexity projects and many who try are frequently In a recent survey Forrester found that nearly (46%) of businesses were with their offshore for development of mission-critical applications.

begs the question, “Is offshore incompatible with high-value projects?”

My experience suggests I have worked with talented teams that successfully delivered high-value solutions using a distributed model that takes of talent located in multiple around the world.

In this I will briefly describe how practices, some associated agile development, will you get maximum value out of your development efforts.

(Please that I prefer to use the term development” instead of “offshore This describes projects work occurs in multiple It is my experience that there are no projects. Rather, there are projects where a good bit of the is performed offshore.)

Involve the whole team in the – This is counter-intuitive to those that rely on up-front and planning and then engage a team (possibly a vendor) for the work. This presents two

First, the development team insist on doing its own analysis in to fully understand the business document, use cases, RFP, Hence, some of your effort will be redundant.

and more importantly, it’s the up-front analysis and planning the business sponsors and subject-matter-experts a shared understanding of the project business objectives and priorities. If the team (or vendor) is not involved in process they will be effective in adapting when the surprises occur.

Sorry documentation just doesn’t cut it. To General Dwight D. Eisenhower. plan is nothing, but planning is

Monitor the product, not the process – agilists criticize earned analysis (“EVA”). Although the EVA has shortcomings, the basic idea of project progress by the value is sound. It is much better to progress based on functionality rather than interim such as the System Design (“SDS”) or worse, budget or consumed.

Whether the project team is or not, in-flight metrics on implemented functionality and user are significantly more reliable than traditional “percent metrics. How many projects you seen that are 90% complete for their actual schedule?

the SDS may be a very important and valuable (I’m not one of those people who all documentation), its veracity is suspect an implementation validates it.

Admit you have a (communication) problem – It matter if your project is agile, waterfall or something Communication and efficiency suffer team members are separated by It gets worse when are separated by time zones as In addition to the obvious investments in infrastructure and practices (high-quality high-bandwidth networks, overlapping schedules, etc.), consider not so obvious practices.

One of my favorites is the program”. Have people each work location time working (not visiting) in the other work I’m talking about at least two at a time, working side by with peers in the other This is both an effective and team-building technique.

Don’t give in to the argument “money saved on travel can be effectively applied to real The improvements in efficiency far outweigh the travel costs. On one large program we experienced a 200% in throughput after we implemented an program.

I don’t necessarily expensive video-conferencing equipment and Although it is a blessing to have to such, the cost-benefit is not as favorable as it is for technically sexy investments.

The line is that your plan must address the challenges inherent in distribution. If the investments exceed the benefits of the project in a distributed way then do it that way.


Redundant – A typical pattern for distributed is to have the project manager, (“SME”) and business analysts at the site and the developers and testers at an facility. This works well for small, short-term but it is sub-optimal for large, complex

Concentration of expertise and/or in one location slows the project as the development team often has to a full day (best case) certain types of impediments

Having business analysts SMEs close to the developers and improves throughput as questions are much more quickly. project managers in each improves throughput as many can be made much more Having developers at the client improves throughput as critical can be resolved immediately and integration can be addressed in a timely manner.

a lean perspective, redundant are actually a best practice the apparent waste in redundant is significantly less than the generated by the wait times in the typical staffing model.

technical integrity – “Technical ” is a metaphor developed by Ward that describes the long-term costs associated with and dirty” development. The “interest” on debt is realized in the form of development costs due to inflexible overly complex design, dependencies, duplication, defects,

Technical debt management is for any project. Distributed development technical debt management difficult because some, if not of the code is developed by the offshore of the team. Hence there is a risk that by the time the of too much technical debt obvious, the cost to correct be high.

You might replace your team due to poor performance and you even recover some of costs. But if this really is a project, your business still suffer. Although you can and apply manual techniques for the technical integrity of the software construction, I have found the use of automated tools to monitor such as automated test adherence to coding standards, quality and design complexity can as early warning signals for debt growth.

Using types of tools within an build process that an alarm when metrics outside specified thresholds two things. One, they investigation and potential remediation it is still possible to do so at low cost. they automatically encourage discipline. No one wants to be singled out for coding standards, for not following the upon testing discipline, or unnecessarily complex code.

again, a modest investment can risk and saves significant within a relatively short of time.

These are but a few techniques, some and some not so obvious, that make it possible to execute high-complexity projects and programs via a model. Look for future for more practical learnings the trenches.

About Greg Greg is a software development with 20+ years of experience as a project manager and a consultant. He has in a wide range of industries banking, insurance, publishing, healthcare and telecommunications. Greg has numerous enterprises deliver solutions using advanced development practices. He is currently on helping organizations get the most out of development capabilities.



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