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Improving Testing Integration

by Andy Jordan

Test functions are often viewed as independent, somewhat isolated parts of the project execution environments. It doesn’t have to be that way…in fact, it shouldn’t be.

The Abstraction Equilibrium

by Al Taylor

A useful goal for the mature organization would be the definition of an “abstraction equilibrium.” This is the state where there is no impetus for change with respect to the relationship between the amount of abstraction built into the application and other project variables such as cost and quality.

An Introduction to the Cost of Change and Technical Debt

by Mike Griffiths

Application development speed and costs are not linear. Some small design and process decisions have big impacts on project outcomes. This article explores the cost-of-change curve and how agile tackles changes early, and also explains technical debt.

How to Improve Application Delivery With Agile

by Bruce Harpham

Many technology project managers focus on building or improving applications. Businesses rely on reliable and high-quality applications to serve customers and maintain operations. If you are in the business of application delivery, read on to see how agile can help.

Preventing the Squeeze

by Andy Jordan

Anyone who has been involved in application development projects is familiar with the testing squeeze--the compression of time available for testing. How do we manage to prevent it?

Successfully Managing Project Expectations: The Key to Project Success

by Marc Lacroix

Every person in service delivery should ask themselves (and all involved) at the inception of every project: What is the definition of success for this project? It seems simple, but it is infrequently done. Here we look at five ways to manage project expectations.

Testing: The Bug Problem

by Michael Wood

Why are so many bugs and defects getting through to production? Even as the time devoted to testing is expanding, the dynamic nature and complexity of systems is outpacing most IT organizations' ability to keep pace. Here are some tips to help improve your testing results.

Project Managers and Application Delivery

by Andy Jordan

How much time do project managers spend thinking about application delivery? In this writer's experience, this crucial final step often gets a lot less consideration than it needs.

The Power of the Millennial Generation

Rajakumar Ramakrishnan

Do project managers need to understand millennials? What do they gain with that knowledge? Millennials can influence the current market, so it’s essential that innovative solutions are provided to the customer--and solutions that are personalized.

Topic Teasers Vol. 65: Assessing Electronic Tools

by Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP, PMI-ACP

Question: I know project managers are now going to be more involved in business analysis things, but that doesn’t mean I know how to do that part of the job yet. My manager asked me to narrow down a list of electronic tools to see what would be best for our corporate situation. How do I even start?
A. Google “software tools for project management.” The product with the highest number of listings in your search page is the best one on the market. Recommend that one.
B. Ask your local PMI chapter, Agile Alliance chapter or IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) chapter board what three products they would recommend. They may also have a list of the vendors that had booths or tables at their last local event.
C. Software changes rapidly. Try to find the most recently developed software so that you don’t get stuck with outdated code. Always go with the old saying, “The latest created is the greatest created!”
D. Your management team, with the help of the procurement staff, will probably make the final decision. Use a logical matrix of tool profiles to narrow down the field for what you need in your organization, and then turn the final decision over to them.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Application Development: The Power of Foresight

by Rajakumar Ramakrishnan

Do project managers need to think beyond their current project boundary? Do we need to have foresight? What do we lose if we don’t have it? When it comes to development projects, this author shares how we can look beyond success of the current project for something even more meaningful.

5 IT Infrastructure Lessons Learned from Missed Requirements

by Andrew Makar, PMP

In a typical software development project, gathering and managing requirements is a common process. But what about IT infrastructure projects? Do they have specific requirements beyond the architecture diagram? Here are five lessons learned from an infrastructure project that struggled with missed requirements.

Managing Effective Collaboration in the Early Acquisition Life Cycle Stages of an Enterprise Application for the DoD

by Randall Schmidt, PMP

Collaboration inside the Department of Defense is critical to program success, especially for enterprise-wide applications. DoD program managers face challenges unique to the DoD, including culture, organization dynamics and an abundance of complex statutory and regulatory requirements. Methods explored in this paper can assist the program management office (PMO) in achieving needed collaboration, and putting these in place at inception increases effectiveness.

The Repeatable Test Cycle Resource

by Al Taylor

For PMs working in IT application development projects, which resource is the most important (other than people, of course)? For many it is a Technical Quality Assurance model that supports highly repeatable test cycles.

Your SaaS Application Implementation Framework

by Tom L. Barnett, PMP

The best way to plan a project is to deconstruct it. One PM has been using a handy model to clearly outline the types of work that need to be done by both IT and the business in order to activate most SaaS packages. Key an eye on these six subtleties when deploying packaged vendor solutions.

Taking the Long View in Software Development

by George Dinwiddie

Organizations that over-emphasize expediency can set themselves up for long-term losses. This article addresses strategies for taking a balanced approach--specifically, maintaining development capacity, maintaining code asset value and flexible tool selection.

Key PM Trends to Watch

by Kevin Kern

Trends on the horizon point to a renewed focus on the alignment of IT operations and strategic business goals. In addition, competition in all markets will continue to place pressure on both optimization and innovation. Savvy professionals can stay ahead of the curve by keeping the following project management trend predictions in mind.

When Estimates Go Wrong

by George Dinwiddie

Custom software development is notoriously difficult to estimate. We start with vague ideas of what we want, expecting to fill in the details later. We’re usually doing something a little different than what we’ve done before, or completely different. How can we act more productively?

Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls: 2 Reasons to Avoid Waterfall, and 3 Better Approaches

by Rob Saxon

The waterfall methodology for projects is aptly named, because it is equally painful to try to go back to prior phases of a project once the effort has advanced to the next phase. This article will outline two reasons to avoid waterfall, and three ways to approach software projects that are more useful.

Managing Requirements with Common Sense

by Jiju (Jay) Nair, PMP

A successful collaboration between project teams and stakeholders on requirements management will help prevent the projects from becoming another failure statistic.

The Key to Optimum Outsourcing

by Jiju (Jay) Nair, PMP

Some studies have indicated that the real benefits of offshore outsourcing can be diminished by issues in communication, skill sets and accountability. But if managed properly, offshore IT projects can reap substantial rewards.

What You Should Know About Kanban (Part 3)

by Don Kim

If Kanban works well on specific software projects, can it be scaled to facilitate Lean throughout an organization? Here we look at how Kanban can be thought of as a general purpose change management approach for your organization.

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"A good composer is slowly discovered. A bad composer is slowly found out."

- Sir Ernest Newman