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Offering UML Instruction and Consulting for your projects and teams.
Code is not Enough Discussion of development matters beyond coding.
Ulterior Motive Lounge Episode 32: Talking with Pilot
Continuing The Project that Time Forgot, a UML case study. (Click images for larger versions.) On the surface, this Episode may seem almost social. Demented and sad, but social. But if you could join Hacker Girl, reading Geek Girl’s Tablet PC over her shoulder, you might see a different picture: And you would also see this diagram: You saw a conversation. Geek Girl hopes that Pilot saw a conversation. But she saw an interview, and a chance to capture and model requirements. Let’s review the notation ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 4, 2009 4:06 PM

Overlooking the Obvious
I just wanted to rename a Word document while I was working in Word. You know what comes next. In practically every application out there, I have two choices: Close the app. Navigate to the file in Windows Explorer and rename it. Double-click it to reopen the file. Within the app, do a Save as…. Optionally delete the old file name. In both cases, both file names now appear in the Most Recently Used list, even though the old file may no longer exist. Yawn. We know how this works. But can you learned ......

Posted On Wednesday, February 25, 2009 12:10 PM

You're Selling Software
Update: Fixed a typo and a calculation error. Josh Holmes has a great post on Return on Investment (ROI). And by “great”, I mean great even by Josh’s usual standards. He worked hard on this one. I was privileged to review three drafts before he published it; and by draft two, I was saying, “Josh, this one’s a winner. I’m going to reference this one a lot.” So stop reading me, and go read what Josh has to say. I’ll be waiting here when you get back. OK, you’ve read it. Pretty scary, huh? But the scariest ......

Posted On Tuesday, February 24, 2009 3:33 PM

The U-Shaped Curve (A few more reasons why Coding Geekette is right)
Note: This is a Best Of post from my other blog. The topic came up on Twitter, so I'm rerunning it here. Coding Geekette has a slightly dated but still timely post about The Making of a Good Developer. That post was inspired by Justin Etheredge's equally interesting post on why Being Smart Does Not a Good Developer make. Both address the idea that good developers are those who like to learn new things, not just smart people. And they lament or wonder that so many people in the software development ......

Posted On Friday, January 9, 2009 1:18 PM

Don't Make Me Send Yoda Over There to Whack You With a Stick...
15.5 hours in to what I hoped would be a 5 hour day... Working the last major bug on the bug list... A bug that has literally consumed over 200 hours of development spread among various team members... A bug that our best minds looked at, and looked at, and looked at, to no avail... A bug that got the project lead so frustrated, he did the programming equivalent of taping electrical tape over the blinking VCR clock... And today, the black-electrical-tape patch started showing massive bugs of its ......

Posted On Saturday, November 15, 2008 5:49 PM

Code Is Not Enough
So you're a coding ace. You know the latest languages. You use the latest tools. You even write your own tools, so your development environment practically reads your mind. You eat, sleep, and breathe code. So why do you keep missing your deadlines? Code is not enough. You love to code. You can hardly believe that people pay you to "work" at a hobby you often do for no pay at all. You're never without a few personal projects under development. So why do you feel so stressed at work? Code is not enough. ......

Posted On Saturday, November 15, 2008 5:31 PM

An Argument for Requirements Analysts
An attempt to trade quality for cost or schedule actually results in increased cost and a longer schedule. Steve McConnell, Professional Software Development What has long been known in other businesses is true for software development as well: if you cut corners for shorter schedules or lower costs, you will get longer schedules, higher costs, and higher defect rates; but if you take the right measures to lower defect rates, you can get lower defect rates and shorter schedules and lower costs. As ......

Posted On Tuesday, December 16, 2008 6:11 PM

Ship It On The Side

Curtis Gray informs me that the first Ship It On The Side podcast is now published.Listen to us talk about building and shipping great software while holding down day jobs.

 

Posted On Saturday, November 29, 2008 3:59 PM

Doctors are the Stupidest Users!
Note to doctors: No, I don't really mean that title. I use provocative titles to get attention and capture an attitude. What? What are you doing? You're going to stick that thermometer where? Doctors are the stupidest users. If you've ever had to write software for doctors, you've discovered this: the phrase "RTFM" was made for doctors. They just can't be bothered to read even the simplest help docs. They can't bother to learn even simple tools that a bright grade-schooler can master. OK, that's ......

Posted On Thursday, November 20, 2008 10:33 PM

Quantity IS Quality
On a mailing list where I hang out, a participant recently said (paraphrased): “He believes that popularity proves quality. I believe that there is almost no correlation between quality and popularity.” We hear this sort of thing all the time. There’s an implication among self-appointed elites that “the masses” — i.e., everyone who’s not them — just can’t recognize quality. It’s assumed that “popular” is proof that something is bad. You see this attitude in film snobs who insist that an Oscar nomination ......

Posted On Saturday, November 15, 2008 6:20 PM

Concern vs. Worry vs. Obliviousness
Concern Worry Obliviousness "Has this happened yet?" "Oh, no, what if this happens?" "This could never happen." "How likely is this to happen?" "Oh, no, what if this happens?" "This could never happen." "How can we tell if this happens?" "Oh, no, what if this happens?" "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil..." "Can we prevent this from happening?" "Oh, no, what if this happens?" "This could never happen." "What will be the impact if this happens?" "Oh, no, what if this happens?" "No problem..." ......

Posted On Saturday, November 15, 2008 5:56 PM

The Department of Motor Vehicles and Clipboards
All right, I've had enough. It's time for me to issue a decree: Henceforth, programmers who wish to use the clipboard must be licensed in the same fashion as automobile drivers are licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. (Yes, yes, we call it the Secretary of State's Office here in Michigan; but more people know it as the DMV.) 1. Before you may use the clipboard to copy code, you must take 20 hours of classroom instruction on how not to use your clipboard. 2. Before you may be fully licensed ......

Posted On Saturday, November 15, 2008 5:55 PM

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