Category Archives: Software development

Software development articles generally relate to the implementation stages of the development process. We also discuss overall approaches and strategy to creating and managing software products, including waterfall, agile, and other methodologies.

A Prototype is Worth a Thousand Lines of Code

A picture is worth a thousand words.  A prototype is worth a thousand lines of code.  Two key elements of product management – and of agile development are elicitation and feedback.  Low fidelity artifacts can significantly improve both.  Polished, codified prototypes can create problems that prevent you from getting the benefits of communication.

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Cadence Versus Risk

I’ve been thinking about the software development process.  Big, upfront, design and requirements.  User research and analysis.  Market insights, gained on exploration or over time.  Release cadence – how quickly you get, and incorporate, feedback from your customers about your product.  How quickly you react to your competitors’ reactions to your actions.

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Use Cases for Iterative Development

Almost everything I’ve read about use cases focuses on describing what needs to be added to your product.  Agile development says “get it working first, make it better second.”  That means changing the way the software enables a user to do something they can already do.  How do you manage requirements for incremental improvement?

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Atomic Requirements

Each requirement you write represents a single market need, that you either satisfy or fail to satisfy.  A well written requirement is independently deliverable and represents an incremental increase in the value of your software.  That is the definition of an atomic requirement.  Read on to see why atomic requirements are important.

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Sprint Backlog – Don’t Solve Half of the Problem

Every team that transitions to agile faces this problem – some stories are too big to fit in a single sprint.  Most of the teams that I have worked with have the wrong instinct – to solve half of the problem for all users.

The right approach is to first solve all of the problem for a subset of the users.

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Foundation Series: Inside A Scrum Sprint

Photo of students in a classroom, learning scrum

People who already use Scrum will only find one new thing in this article – a way to communicate what happens inside a sprint that has proven effective for me.  People who are new to Scrum who wonder “how do things work inside a sprint?” will see how things work in a way that avoids hyperbole and is easy to map to what they already understand from traditional software development processes.

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The One Idea of Your Product

a blue light bulb, a visual metaphor for having a single idea

“For what one idea do you want your product to stand in the mind of your customer?”  I heard Roger Cauvin ask that question at the most recent ProductCamp Austin [correction – he said it here – thanks Roger], and the quote has been jumping to the front of my mind almost daily ever since.  Maybe by writing about it I can exorcise the demon and get back to using the idea instead of being haunted by it.

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Measuring Great Design – Mad Libs Input Form

image of mad libs pads

I came across a really interesting article LukeW.com, showing how making changes to the way an input form on a website increased interaction by 25 to 40%. The changes reflect the value of thinking outside-in, investing in user experience, and performance measurement.

Bonus: the idea is cool.

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