J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

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  • Blog Post: Visual - Backlogs with User Input

    One of the first things to help a business to gain agility is to connect the product development to the actual user community.  A simple way to do this is to connect the backlog to user input.  If you can show the users your backlog of scenarios, and they can help you prioritize and validate...
  • Blog Post: 30 Nuggets on Software Development from Shaping Software

    A while back, I started a site called Shaping Software .   The purpose was to create a collection of little nuggets on lessons learned from designing, building, and shipping software. I ended up writing more than 100 articles on software development (browse the archives for a quick view). The...
  • Blog Post: Any Activity Can Be Turned into a Game

    Any activity can be turned into a game, if it meets the right criteria.  Wise words from Dan Cook :      “If an activity can be learned…      If the player’s performance can be measured…      If the player can be rewarded or punished in...
  • Blog Post: Sinofsky on How To Analyze the Competition

    Sometimes the best way to do something well, is to know what to avoid.  In Ex-Windows Boss Steve Sinofsky: Here's Why I Use An iPhone , Nicholas Carlson shares some tips from Steve Sinofsky on analyzing the competition: Don't use the product in a lightweight manner Don't think like yourself Don...
  • Blog Post: The Key to Agility: Breaking Things Down

    If you find you can't keep up with the world around you, then break things down.  Breaking things down is the key to finishing faster. Breaking things down is also the key to agility . One of the toughest project management lessons I had to learn was breaking things down into more modular chunks...
  • Blog Post: Wearable Computing

    I was watching a video on Google Glass with Robert Scoble , and I couldn’t help but wonder about all the possibilities that technology can bring to the table. Wearable computing bridges the gap between the real world and the things we see in Sci-Fi movies. Of course, when we overlay information on our...
  • Blog Post: Nobody Wants to Invest

    A colleague sketched a visual of a recurring theme he runs into, where “nobody wants to invest” in the time, to take a step back, to leap frog forward.  The visual looked like this:     I’ve seen this pattern, too.  There are lots of reasons.  Many of them come down to change...
  • Blog Post: ALM Categories at a Glance

    I'm reviewing some ALM (Application Life-Cycle Management) work for a colleague, so I thought it would help to rehydrate a map of the ALM space.  I’m a fan of having simple maps to find my way around.  By map, I simply mean topics and categories, and ideally sub-categories to help see the lay...
  • Blog Post: Layered Architecture Solution Guidance for 2012

    Serena Yeoh, former Microsoft, has ported  her Layered Architecture Solution Guidance to Visual Studio 2012.  Her Layered Architecture Solution Guidance is a collection of project templates and tools for developing Layered Applications. Serena has a passion for helping others use technology...
  • Blog Post: Agile Life-Cycle Frame

    As a program manager, it’s tough to shape a process with the team, if the team can’t “see” it.  When you have a mental model you can share with the team, things move a lot faster.   The problem with life cycles and end-to-end processes, is that people don’t usually know what the end-to...
  • Blog Post: Change is Good

    "All projects experience changing requirements.  Traditional projects view this as bad.  Agile projects embrace it."   -- Steven Thomas, BBC Kelley Hunsberger writes about embracing scope creep, rather than fight it in her article “Change is Good”, in PM Network . According to...
  • Blog Post: Reference Models, Reference Architectures, and Reference Implementations

    "All models are wrong, but some are useful." -- George Box I often see confusion over reference models, reference architectures, and reference implementations.  In this post, I’ll share my experience and learnings and observations: Reference Model - A Reference model is a model of something...
  • Blog Post: Product Success Frame for High Customer Impact

    What proven practices have you seen are vital behaviors that significantly contribute to customer success? … That’s a common question I get, having spent the bulk of my time at Microsoft in patterns & practices.  In fact, that’s a question the Windows Azure team asked me last Summer, as a way...
  • Blog Post: Methodologies at a Glance

    I'm a fan of simple maps to help drill in. After all, it's hard to explore the concepts if you don’t know they exist, or you don’t know what they are called.  Below is a work in progress.  I’m making a quick, simple map of the key activities for a some software project-relevant processes. I...
  • Blog Post: Why Does Culture Matter?

    I saw the Facebook privacy issue on the news. I remember somebody saying, developers should just be responsible.  A common practice is to "make it work, then make it right."  The problem is, you don't always get a chance to "make it right."  That very much depends on...
  • Blog Post: Pragmatic Patterns

    As Ward Cunningham taught me, the value of patterns is simply having a shared language for sharing strategies.  I would add though, that “visual” is key … visual languages change the game. I’m very much a fan of pragmatic patterns.  Here are some of my lessons learned for making patterns more...
  • Blog Post: Application Types (App Types) – The Early Years

    Several years back, I did an exercise in mapping out families of application architectures and application types.  It was an extensive archeological expedition. Key Goals / Outcomes There were several goals of the exercise: Identify canonical application architectures and app types Figure out a...
  • Blog Post: Experience-Driven Development

    Features don’t necessarily aggregate up to “experiences” and I would argue that today’s winning approach is … … Experience-Driven Development … Where experience means user’s can perform their goals successfully… the software makes them feel good and succeed at their goals.  It’s an integration of...
  • Blog Post: Lessons in Software from Mike de Libero

    I have a guest post, Lesson in Software from Mike de Libero , on Shaping Software.  Mike was a security tester on the Microsoft Office team and has a variety of experiences under his belt.   Here is a summary of his lessons: Lesson 1. All software is flawed. Lesson 2. Check-in often. Lesson...
  • Blog Post: Lessons in Software from James Waletzky

    I have a guest post, Lessons in Software from James Waletsky , on Shaping Software .  James is a Development lead at Microsoft, with several years of coaching teams on Agile practices and software engineering under his belt.  Here is a summary of his lessons: Lesson 1.    Keep...
  • Blog Post: Lessons in Software from Alok Srivastava

    I have a guest post, Lessons in Software from Alok Srivastava , on Shaping Software .  Alok is a solution architect at Microsoft with several years of experience in large scale, distributed systems.  In this post, he shares his lessons learned in software.  Here is a summary of his lessons...
  • Blog Post: Customer Connected Engineering

    I posted slides on how we do Customer Connected Engineering at patterns & practices to Shaping Software .  Customers Connected Engineering (CCE) is how we engage customers throughout our product development. We formally engage customers during the planning, development, and release of our deliverables...
  • Blog Post: Agile Architecture Method Revisited

    I posted an update to the Agile Architecture method on Shaping Software .  When I originally posted about the Agile Architecture method, I took some things for granted.  I thought the mapping to agile practices was more obvious than it turned out to be.  After taking more customers through...
  • Blog Post: Project Life Cycles at patterns & practices

    Periodically I like to revisit our project life cycle in patterns & practices. I like to see how it's shape-shifted over the years. (Note - our project life cycle wraps our product cycle) patterns & practices Project Life Cycle Circa 2005 Here's a snapshot of our patterns & practices project...
  • Blog Post: Software Guidance Share

    I'm testing another version of the home page on Software Guidance Share . Software Guidance Share is a perpetual work in progress. I think of it as my quick-and-dirty guidance KB for developers and solution architects. I continuously refactor information into reusable nuggets. I also test ways to browse...
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