Mechanics Building a Car

Sometimes building software is ugly. There, I said it. Sometimes, especially at the beginning of a project that will result in a new system, especially when you are working with a new (to you) software paradigm, especially when you are working with a new team, building software is ugly.

I recently was part of a project which took an existing piece of software on one platform, with the intention of re-implementing it on a new platform. Perhaps the biggest challenge came from the fact that the technical architect or lead who had been instrumental in developing the original product, and who was familiar with both paradigms, defected from the project when we were preparing to start the re-implementation.

He had been the driver of the decision on the new paradigm, and it was on the basis of his capacity that we built estimates and plans. Without him, we had to hire resources to work in the new paradigm, and find a leadership paradigm that could move forward.

While the new team was forming, and the new leader was coming up to speed, we started an iteration 0 to build out new infrastructure, and then an iteration 1 building a walking skeleton. I had hoped that this would help the team form, and practices would be established. Without the right leadership in place, things were ugly. Decisions were not made in the right sequence. One of the managers involved in the project said:

“It looks like a bunch of mechanics designing a car out of spare parts.”


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Agile Delivery Manager vs. Project Manager

When you adopt agile practices, especially agile life cycle plans – it is really simple to have your project manager become the scrum-master, right? Isn’t that what everybody does? After all, it’s just swapping a gantt chart for a burn down chart, right?


It certainly is what all of the project managers do when their companies start to adopt agile life cycles – but is it the best thing, or even a good thing? Continue Reading

R.A.T.S. Delegation

In writing a recent post for my other blog


about planning and delegation, I fell into a set of 4 principles that define how to delegate successfully. The principles are Responsibility, Accountability, Trust, Success or RATS.

Here is the excerpt from that post:


But in reality, delegation in leadership is not about getting other people to do the work. It is about leadership development. It is about participatory ownership.


Delegation is not dumping the work on someone, and watching to see whether they succeed or fail. Delegation is assigning responsibility, developing accountability, building trust and engineering success…Continue Reading