Alyn Wambeke interviews several software consultants for their take on the ups and downs of working on their own. He also gives pointers on getting started, and on how to determine if you're up to the challenge.
In comparing himself today to his younger self, Steve Smith says, "I've changed. The work that interests me wouldn't interest Young Steve. Although Young Steve would outdo me technically, I could compete in that arena: Young Steve couldn't compete with me in my new mission."
Change is the watchword of life in the software world--perhaps no field has grown and transformed itself as quickly as our industry. To survive and succeed in this business we must truly be masters of change; those who have been the most successful are the ones who have been able to use change as a tool and catalyst. Maureen O'Hara describes how change can be an agent for growth.
Jack Cook explores reasons for testers to gain development knowledge and experience. Expanding your knowledge into the arena of software development will not only enhance your testing skills, it will improve your marketability both inside and outside your company. Knowing that you can work intelligently with developers can be very rewarding to your career and your self-esteem, and it will help you enjoy your work experience even more.
Tried and true techniques for getting a grip on priorities and schedules can mean the difference between breaking your neck to get a passable software product out the door and emerging from a project with a quality product and a sane staff. Alyn Wambeke relays some software-specific time management suggestions.
Steve Whitchurch reviews the latest edition of Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister, describing it as a "must-read for all management wannabes, as well as those who are currently leading project teams and organizations."
Risks sound like disasters, but risks are neither bad nor good. They are only smart or stupid. Stupid risks are chances taken without significant gain if you succeed. Smart risks are ones that will pay off handsomely if you can overcome them. Smart risks are taken by folks who have knowingly made the decision to proceed in the face of risk.
Steve March discusses problems experienced by the Mars Pathfinder. He imparts the following lessons: 1) design defensively in the face of complexity; 2) design defensively for post-shipment problems; and 3) beware of best cases.