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Small Teams Make Better Software   30 Aug 06
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I saw that a small team of good people seemed to outperform the most disciplined process, toolset, or philosophy. A bad team usually failed to produce a good result, regardless of what magic process was applied. Article

Twelve Benefits of Writing Unit Tests First   27 Jul 06
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Refactoring Demo Screencast   21 May 06
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Four different ways of performing the refactoring "Extract Method".

A thousand cleaners in one tiny room   03 Feb 06
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Ron Jeffries answered in the XP list to Jim Hughes.
 > Ed has tried what you suggest.  When the bosses want 10 things and our
 > > measured velocity indicates we're going to get 6 done by the date, the
 > > bosses reply with "how many contractors do you need to get it all done?"  Ed
 > > says "We could use a couple more good coders; maybe we could get 7 done if
 > > we get them in soon.  Any more than that will slow us down, because helping
 > > the get up to speed will take up too much of our time."

 > > "Okay, so how many contractors do you need to get to 10?"

 > > This exchange really takes place over weeks, not seconds, and involves many
 > > more people.

 > > I realize that what Ed's bosses don't "get" isn't just Agile, but basic
 > > proto-agile wisdom about how software development works, like in The
 > > Mythical Man-Month.  Ed is looking for a way to help them get it.

 I'd really need to hear the real conversations to know what's up.
 But the answer to the first contractor question probably ought to

    Adding one contractor will slow us down for 45 to 60 days, then it
    will add X percent to our speed.

 The answer to the second is probably something like:

    There is no such number. We can't vacuum your office in ten
    seconds by using a thousand cleaners. They won't fit in the room.

Engines of Democracy   25 Jan 06
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The General Electric plant in Durham, North Carolina builds some of the world’s most powerful jet engines. But the plant’s real power lies in the lessons that it teaches about the future of work and about workplace democracy.

A nice article about discovering the value of the human being.

Project (Cartoon)   01 Dec 05
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Enjoy the super comic.

It’s truer than one thinks :-).

Ron Jeffries article: Complex Scope   22 Nov 05
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In which we discover that our implementation is "totally wrong" and we have to rewrite everything. Or do we?

Agile Dilbert   16 Nov 05
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Even Dilbert has to face agile methods. Great story.

Making the Date   20 Oct 05
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Ron Jeffries posted a new article.

It seems like every development project begins with the date, and we’re held responsible for "making the date". Making the date is not a development responsibility. Here’s why.

Outsourcing research and development work   18 Oct 05
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I came across this great post by Luiz Esmiralha in the pragprog list.
 >>  On Sun, Oct 16, 2005 at 11:48:34PM -0200, Luiz Esmiralha wrote:
 >>  >
 >>  > Maybe another question can help clarify the issue.
 >>  >
 >>  > Why pay 100 grand a year for a programmer just to make a guy in the US
 >>  > or Europe happy if I can get the same job paying 20 grand a year for a
 >>  > guy in India?
 >>  Well those aren't anything near the figures.  I know someone who is
 >>  the IT director for a UK company that uses outsourcing.  The financial
 >>  savings are around 15%.  If he sets up a UK shop in one of the more
 >>  deprived areas of the UK he will be able to get to somewhere near that
 >>  figure - lower salaries, govt grants etc.  As a result he is seriously
 >>  looking at doing just that.

 In a recent survey, average savings from offshoring are around a bit
 less than 10%. 5% of the companies polled acheved savings around 50%
 (cases where they replaced 400 bucks/hour resources for 50 bucks/hour

 The realistic target saving when offshoring operations is estimated
 around 30% as companies become more mature in the way they conduct

 20 grand a year for a programmer in Brazil is a very good figure. I
 don't know the current average salary of a programmer in the US or UK.
 The 100K figure was based on supposition rather than fact.

 >>  > Your analogy implies that Indian software lacks quality. Quality seems
 >>  > to be measured (or guessed?) in CMM levels by every company in the US
 >>  > and the rest of the world is following this trend. Given that fact, I
 >>  > would like to remind you of the many companies in India appraised at a
 >>  > CMM 5 maturity level.
 >>  > I don't believe in CMM, but the guys in India didn't make it up, they
 >>  > just happily jumped on the SEI bandwagon.
 >>  I don't believe in CMM either and I dont believe it necessarily produces
 >>  a high quality product.  It has been my experience (of three different
 >>  Indian outsourcing companies) that product quality is variable, and
 >>  a lot of the developers are what I would class as juniors even though they
 >>  are not sold as such.  Undoubtedly some of this can be tracked to
 >>  the fact that development of apps that distant from the users is not the
 >>  best way of doing things. Also there is a disinclination for the Indian
 >>  guys to question the spec if they think it is inconsistent or lacking in
 >>  detail and to raise questions with whoever is leading the project.
 >>  Some (maybe most) of these issues are often also present for the big US/UK
 >>  consulting firms.

 I worked with the 'Big Five"  in some projects and they present a
 uniform pattern in their staffing that I call "War Movie Team".

 These teams are usually composed by a seasoned sargent (consultant)
 which marvels the spectator (customer) with his ability and 10 rookies
 (juniors or trainees). The sargent is usually assigned to another post
 in the middle of the movie and must leave the rookies to their own

 In unrealistic war movies, the rookies will use their talent combined
 with the experience they acquired with Sarge to overcome the enemy and
 come home as heroes. In real wars and real projects, they are
 slaughtered by snipe fire, hidden mines and disease and return to
 South Dakota in bodybags.


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