Product Portfolio Management

Product Portfolio
If you want to manage a portfolio of software products, it is necessary to understand the organizational goals that are met by those software products. The product portfolio is a vehicle for understanding the ongoing investment in development or deployment of software assets. It requires an ability to measure the value of software assets separate from their cost (rarely done in industry today), and an ability to measure the cost of ongoing support and maintenance of software product. Continue Reading

Agile Is Not For Everyone

OH: (on twitter)
“Convinced. Everyone that says “agile doesn’t work” or even “agile doesn’t work for us” just doesn’t know what it means to be agile.”

I read this on Twitter over the weekend (12/17/11). It really got me fired up. Mind you, I am an avid agilist. The point is, that some situations are not particularly suited to derive benefit from agile practices. Continue Reading

Why are we doing that?

Take anything. Any activity. Any Practice. Any Standard. Any Method. Ask the question “why?” – with fresh eyes, take a long hard look at why we are doing it. Now, ask yourself if the “why” is being accomplished. Ask yourself if you even know how to measure the benefits you originally sought. Ask yourself if all the acitivities, practices, standards, methods and other things we do make sense together.

Dogma is powerful. Questioning is more powerful. Dogma is required like training wheels. We need something to help us get up and rolling. Once we are rolling we need to get rid of the training wheels so we can go fast. Continue Reading

Take Your Team to a Drag Race

One thing that I have noticed at the beginning of a project is that there almost always appears to be confusion. Confusion about mission. Confusion about terminology. Confusion about what is important. Confusion about roles and responsiblilities. It feels bad, it looks bad and it smells bad.

It’s like what drag racers do before a run. They used to pour bleach on the tires and spin the drive wheels, creating massive amounts of foul smelling smoke. The purpose of this exercise is to heat up the rubber, so on the actual run, the tire are already super sticky and get traction and the car launches like a “hole shot” down the strip. There is a science to this, but it feels, looks and smells bad.Continue Reading

Project Pork Prevention

Why is it that the customer in corporate software projects seems to want to pack the scope of every project with capabilities of dubious value, in the same way that our congressional leaders try to pack important bills with “pork”? Why do organizational leaders try to take a well funded project or initiative and use it as a means of funding their personal management agenda? Because like congress, if they can construe their agenda as essential to the completion of some important project – they bring the business value (pork) home to their department. They can use the project as a vehicle to accomplish things that ensure that they get their bonus. These leaders act as though their incentives are more important than the overall health of the corporation – just like congressmen act as if their re-election is more important than the overall health of the nation.Continue Reading