Improve Overall Quality by Questioning Attitude and Approach Posted on October 12th, 2008

As I searched the internet for some examples of Date Driven Development, I ran across a blog post by Ade Miller (Development Manager for Microsoft’s Patterns & Practices Group) touting Date Driven Development as Agile…

It turns out that “good” DDD is exactly what p&p does every time. We set a date and a prioritized list of product features and then keep executing on the backlog until pretty close to the date when we do any final wrap up and stabilization work and ship. Agile is “good” DDD.

Great software can be produced with a date in mind, given a population of equally great software engineers. In fact, we find that tight dates contribute to overall quality by forcing us to prioritize features and focus on only the important issues. This understanding didn’t come without a fight.  When we found ourselves worrying about time we ask the following questions:

  1. Approach (Is my approach contributing to the perceived pressure?)
    Am I clear about the overall goals of the project?
    Am I over-engineering the solution?
    Do I have a clear picture of the shortest (and best) path, or am I exaggerating the amount of work required?
    Have I checked my approach with another engineer or team?
  2. Attitude (Do I have a positive attitude? Yes, this is an important factor in meeting the date)
    Am I resigned about the possiblity of meeting the date? Why? (is this real or imagined?)
    Am I entering into a power struggle with management?
    Am I doing everything I can to make the date? (if no, who do I need to consult to correct this?)
    Does anyone else have similar concerns? Are we making the the same assumptions?

Ultimately, the answers to these questions inform the team and re-focus the effort, thereby improving overall quality.

A Perfect Storm Posted on May 17th, 2008

Date Driven Development requires agility in all areas of the development life cycle.  As you can see from the diagram below each fulfillment group works to complete their given tasks in the same cycle. To most White-Bread Development Teams (WBDT) this strategy imposes undue stress, but we live for this. Instead of worrying, we lay awake at night dreaming and scheming of ways to make the date.

Date Driven Development Process Flow
(click to enlarge)

What if we don’t make the date?
If we don’t make the date, we analyze the outstanding work and reset the date based on any new information. Our Executive team is aware that we’re kicking much ass (KMA) so they’re often understanding when we reach for the sky and fall short the first time.. Genereally though, at the end of the day we produce more than most companies ever attempt.

Date Driven Site Launch Posted on May 12th, 2008

This site will launch on June 1st. There is no plan on what will actually reside here, but in keeping with the theme, we’ve selected a purely arbitrary date for our launch.

See you then!