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Keys to a Successful Software Development Project
 

Keys to a Successful Software Development Project

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Video at vimeo.com/kvangork...

Video at vimeo.com/kvangork

Presentation given at the 2010 Washington GIS Conference in Tacoma, WA.


Abstract: Software projects have a notoriously low rate of success. This presentation will convey keys to a successful project, gleaned from years of experience both as an in-house developer and consultant. We'll avoid buzzwords and fads, focusing on practical steps you can take to ensure a successful project.
Planning — You can't get anywhere without a map.
Infrastructure — basic tools to keep everything on course whether you're working solo on geoprocessing scripts or with 100 people on an enterprise integration.
Communication — Listen to the right people and develop a decoder ring to understand what they mean.


I got some push back afterwards regarding my comments on estimation, so I'll clarify my thoughts:
Accurate estimation (+-25%) is impossible on any project big enough to be interesting. The reasons for this are two: nothing is as simple as it looks, and good software development is responsive to an evolving understanding of the need.
One exception to my estimation impossibility theory is if you're building something you've already built in the past. If that's what you do...you have my pity and you're probably not even reading this.

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  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
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  • Excelent for for new users, maybe too simple for current admins, I was hoping to see some jenkins, capistrano, buildbot, etc. Thanks for the input.
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  • simply great
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  • <br />
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  • Destination Unknown <br />
  • Why? Can&#x2019;t I just start writing something? <br />
  • <br />
  • Software is complex. <br /> Need to know the big picture/end goal. <br /> How do the parts fit together? <br />
  • Writing massive documents is a bad idea because: <br /> People don&#x2019;t read <br /> Things change <br />
  • What you really need is a list of things to do, <br /> easy to re-prioritize. <br />
  • Words are ambiguous. <br /> Avoid Illusion of Agreement <br /> Think of specific users, real or imagined. <br />
  • You will get it wrong. Plan on it. <br />
  • Where do you keep this thing? <br /> Solo Options: Excel, Notebook <br /> Teams: Post-it Notes or... <br />
  • Where do you keep this thing? <br /> Solo Options: Excel, Notebook <br /> Teams: Post-it Notes or... <br />
  • Where do you keep this thing? <br /> Solo Options: Excel, Notebook <br /> Teams: Post-it Notes or... <br />
  • Where do you keep this thing? <br /> Solo Options: Excel, Notebook <br /> Teams: Post-it Notes or... <br />
  • If you&#x2019;ve been asleep, wake up. <br /> Once this section is over, you can get up and leave, or take a nap. <br /> This is the one true KEY. <br />
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  • Think with me for a moment about our future selves. The ones who will discover all the things we&#x2019;re currently doing wrong. <br />
  • Think with me for a moment about our future selves. The ones who will discover all the things we&#x2019;re currently doing wrong. <br />
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  • This is so critical that people give it away just to make the world a better place. <br />
  • Worst product name ever. <br /> Just call it SVN to get through your IT department. <br />
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  • Know that feeling when someone does it better than you ever could? <br />
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  • Ready for some sports analogies? <br /> A team can&#x2019;t work together (or stick to the plan) unless they meet frequently to get synchronized. Do the same thing. <br /> At least twice a week. <br /> Basic questions - What did you work on? What are you working on? What are your problems? <br /> Watch for people checked out, like number 75 here. <br /> A productive developer is a happy developer. An enthusiastic manager is an involved manager. <br /> Otherwise you&#x2019;ve got trouble starting. <br />
  • Don&#x2019;t treat anyone like a mushroom, don&#x2019;t act like a mushroom. <br /> Don&#x2019;t keep people in the dark. <br /> Cultivate trust. How? BE TRUSTWORTHY. <br />
  • Usability testing. <br /> Beta testers. <br />
  • Estimating is hard. No, it&apos;s impossible, unless you&#x2019;re reinventing something (why?). Lucky guesses are more likely the smaller the problem is, so break things down. Know your weaknesses. My estimates are always low because I&apos;m an optimist. How do I know this? I started tracking them. Pay attention to the people you work with so you can learn their offsets. <br />
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Keys to a Successful Software Development Project Keys to a Successful Software Development Project Presentation Transcript

  • SUCCESSFUL SOFTWARE PROJECTS Kirk van Gorkom, Woolpert kirk.vangorkom@woolpert.com | @kvangork
  • SOFTWARE IS HARD
  • SOFTWARE IS HARD Successful Failed
  • SOFTWARE IS 71% HARD Successful Failed
  • WHY? The Maus Phone | http://www.flickr.com/photos/25041332@N03/2906834393
  • WHY? The Maus Phone | http://www.flickr.com/photos/25041332@N03/2906834393
  • State Route 12 | http://www.flickr.com/photos/53074617@N00/2280426320
  • WE NEED A PLAN only a little off-course | http://www.flickr.com/photos/44124330110@N01/1589808066
  • GOOD CODE TAKES THOUGHT The Thinker... | http://www.flickr.com/photos/66164549@N00/2260970300
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/67715696@N00/1971736315
  • BAD IDEA My Flickr Book... | http://www.flickr.com/photos/35034356424@N01/84792919
  • KEEP IT SIMPLE Backlog of Agile Transition Steps | http://www.flickr.com/photos/14167748@N00/3352783122
  • KEEP IT REAL Interactive Sketching Notation | http://www.flickr.com/photos/purecaffeine/4328394839/
  • BE FLEXIBLE Flexible! | http://www.flickr.com/photos/17425845@N00/420878465
  • TOOLS FogBugz | http://www.fogbugz.com Defeat | http://www.flickr.com/photos/30744708@N00/311380970
  • TOOLS FogBugz | http://www.fogbugz.com Defeat | http://www.flickr.com/photos/30744708@N00/311380970
  • TOOLS FogBugz | http://www.fogbugz.com Defeat | http://www.flickr.com/photos/30744708@N00/311380970
  • TOOLS FogBugz | http://www.fogbugz.com Defeat | http://www.flickr.com/photos/30744708@N00/311380970
  • TOOLS FogBugz | http://www.fogbugz.com Defeat | http://www.flickr.com/photos/30744708@N00/311380970
  • THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I COULD EVER TELL YOU ABOUT SOFTWARE PROJECTS
  • VERSION CONTROL
  • VERSION CONTROL Repository
  • VERSION CONTROL Repository Checkout Working Copy
  • Repository Working Copy
  • Repository Commit Working Copy
  • Repository Commit Working Copy Update
  • Bearded Men of the 21st Century (1939) | http://www.paleofuture.com/blog/2008/1/16/
  • Repository Working Copy ☣
  • Repository Revert Working Copy
  • WHAT DID I DO? On The Road | http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucazappa/35339550/
  • OKAY, WHAT’S THIS GONNA COST?
  • $0
  • SVN SERVERS • Roll Your Own http://www.visualsvn.com/server/ • Free Services http://beanstalkapp.com/
  • SVN CLIENTS • IDE integration • The One True Client™
  • TORTOISE TUTORIAL • http://bit.ly/ tortoisetutorial
  • BIG PROJECTS • Mercurial http://hginit.com • Git http://git-scm.com http://nvie.com/git-model
  • The Battle WHAT ELSE? 50% 50% Feature List & Version Control ?
  • MEETINGS Peewee Football Huddle | http://www.flickr.com/photos/51888819@N00/279634853
  • WATCH OUT FOR MUSHROOMS Huddle | http://www.flickr.com/photos/66878236@N00/2981667821
  • STAY CLOSE TO YOUR USERS My mom taking usability test | http://www.flickr.com/photos/83198397@N00/4004256777
  • ESTIMATING Is Flickr an addiction? | http://www.flickr.com/photos/91903883@N00/2311427946
  • RESOURCES • JoelOnSoftware.com – blog and books • CodingHorror.com • StackOverflow.com – ask questions • Follow me on Twitter @kvangork • Email kirk.vangorkom@woolpert.com or call 720.279.4700