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Development

Remember Conway’s Law

October 8, 2013 10 Comments
Remember Conway’s Law

Some years ago, I was called in to lead a team of three other people in reviewing a major project at a Fortune 50 corporation. This project, which I’ll call QUBE, was a major end-to-end re-engineering of that firm’s mission-critical systems, intended to replace all the existing legacy systems. The QUBE project was supposed to […]

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How to retain IT talent with goal alignment

September 16, 2013 2 Comments
How to retain IT talent with goal alignment

Back in 1990, I was hired by the principals of a start-up company (Pages Software) to build an engineering team from scratch to create a new product: a design-oriented word processor. For more than a year and a half, I acted both as head of engineering and as chief software architect — a dual role […]

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“The Real Software Crisis” [BYTE Magazine, January 1996]

September 13, 2013 1 Comment
“The Real Software Crisis” [BYTE Magazine, January 1996]

[This commentary of mine, published in the January 1996 edition of BYTE Magazine (p. 218), used to be available on-line at BYTE.com, but no longer is, so I've re-posted it here. In the 17 years since I wrote it, I've seen nothing to change my mind.] The shortage of top-notch programmers threatens to become the […]

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Septic code: why some large IT projects never go into production

September 12, 2013 4 Comments
Septic code: why some large IT projects never go into production

A common pattern in the failure of large IT software projects is “the Never-Ending Story”, which I described back in 2000 (PDF) as follows: The client contracts with the manufacturer to develop and install a system. The project starts. The completion date slips. It keeps slipping. Each time the adjusted delivery date approaches, the project slips […]

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Active risk management: doing IT projects right

September 9, 2013 1 Comment
Active risk management: doing IT projects right

In a prior post, I talked about IT project risk management and gave a real-world example of doing it wrong, with the expected consequences. But some organizations do it right, and it’s worth looking at those examples as well. Some years back, I spent a few months at a client site reviewing a couple of […]

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