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Adopting XP

Extreme Programming (XP) takes practices that are known to be good and combines and applies them in a revolutionary way. Before you turn your team on to XP, check out the steps to take, and pitfalls to avoid, to make your project an "Xtreme" success.

C. Keith Ray
Focused Improvement

Improving processes takes planning, time, and effort. A formal improvement project that applies the best practices of development to process improvement can help focus your team and effect real and lasting change.

Karen King
Preparing to Choose a CM Tool

Do your homework when shopping for a CM tool. This article teaches you how to bypass the marketing hype to select the tool that will work best with your company's processes and tasks.

William Rinko-Gay
Why Nobody in Our Business Can Estimate

Tim Lister gives three examples of software project failures that resulted from poor estimates. The main problem? Software practitioners often don't understand the difference between an estimate and a goal. Here is some advice on how to be better estimators.

Tim Lister's picture Tim Lister
Managing Technical People (When You're No Techie)

There's a lot more to managing software teams than understanding the technology. Do you know how to elicit requirements from users? Do you work well with management? Do you have a knack for asking the right questions at the right time? Not knowing where to put the semicolons in a line of code isn't a big deal. Knowing how to lead people–that's a big deal. Elisabeth Hendrickson explains how to bring your own unique talents and skills to the table.

Elisabeth Hendrickson's picture Elisabeth Hendrickson
A Look at Rational's RequisitePro

Creating requirements involves tracking and documenting all of the criteria for a system's success. A requirements management tool, such as IBM Rational's RequisitePro, can support this effort. While the tool won't verify that the requirements are consistent, correct, complete, relevant, coherent, and testable, it can help manage the task more efficiently by allowing you to document, track, and maintain the requirements in an automated fashion.

Elfriede Dustin's picture Elfriede Dustin
Using Your Staff Wisely: How to Make Do with Less

In the authors' experience, sharing testing and development tasks is a viable option when the test staff can architect the tests. However, it requires the full support of everyone involved–testers, developers, and managers. All staff members must be committed to delivering a high-quality product and have a common vision of how to achieve this goal. Suzan Noden and Jennifer Mingee describe their experience sharing testing tasks with development.

Ghost Bug Busters

The nasty bugs, some of the juiciest, aren't easy to replicate. The author calls these "ghost" bugs–things we've seen but cannot conjure up again. They leave us haunted with doubts about a system. In this Bug Report, Karen Johnson gives tips on how to replicate these apparitions.

Karen N. Johnson's picture Karen N. Johnson
Ellen Gottesdiener on Requirements Exploration and Modeling

Translating customer requests into software requires exploration, learning, and discovery. As such, this Reference Point lists resources you can use to learn more about requirements exploration and modeling. Ellen Gottesdiener—a recognized authority on software requirements—provides her top recommendations for books, journals, and online resources on the subject.

Ellen Gottesdiener's picture Ellen Gottesdiener
Should a Manager Know a Language?

Knowing C++ or Java can make a manager's job easier. But what about being an expert in spoken language? It's essential to be competent in the use of daily language when you are making the transition to management. Technical Editor Esther Derby gives advice on improving your language, including a warning about the dangers of using absolutes and of leaving out details in conversation.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby


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