Friday, October 17, 2008

Project Management week

My company still uses a - for lack of a better term - a modified waterfall methodology. Although different team members and team leads are doing some agile techniques, senior management is not comfortable or can support a fully agile process. Plus no one really understands what a shift this would take. So I do what little I can.

To that point, The past two weeks, my main project has been moving (painfully) into testing and out of development. It seems like these transition periods always cause a lot of team friction. Plus I have the fun process of losing my key business analyst to another part of the project and getting two new team members who are to be testing the system.

Now it's always good to do "novice user" testing for a system. Not having knowledge of the system brings insights and questions forward and that can be a good thing. But we are under pressure to get through our formal testing. Adding these two people as the only testing resources is part of the stress level, because as we worked through development and made changes we did not formally go back and update all business requirements.

Now the testers are frustrated because they don't know the system, the developers are frustrated because the questions they are getting don't reflect their knowledge of the system, management is frustrated because we are at least 1 week behind in testing (out of 5 weeks...) and I'm frustrated because of all of the above.

The good news is that I got a lot of miles today walking between the test crew and the developers and the business anlsyst and my managers...

So - what am I going to do to make things better for the short term.
  1. Keep on walking
  2. Force team members to talk face to face (I can't move them next to each other...)
  3. Do test mockups myself to show team members it is not "beneath them" to do the work
  4. Continue to put in long days until things stabilize

So what can I do to help for the long term?
  1. Keep on reading about agile / lean management and development techniques
  2. Start to teach what I'm reading to team members
  3. Remember that with all of the stress I'm going through I've got a good family, a good management team and a good project team.

Monday, October 6, 2008

wanting to cross the pond...

I've got this (wonderful, crazy, weird {like her dad}) daughter who is doing a semester in London.

I'd like it to be simple to just jump in a plane and go over and see her, but its not...

I've got to find a flight, a hotel, get away from work, get my youngest out of school {just to complicate matters} and do this as cheaply as possible since it is an unplanned expense.

But then again, somebody has got to restart this economy! Might as well be me...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Starting Out

Like anyone of my generation (did I just type that?), I'm struggling to figure out what I want to Blog about.

My first introductions to computers were through Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov.

I've been involved with computers since 1975. The first computer I owned was an Atari. I messed with TRS80s and in college my first computer was a DEC. I worked on Burroughs minis. I've worked on a multitude of mainframes programming in RPG, COBOL, Assembler (Macro and Command), CICS, Fortran.

I learned VB starting with version 3.0 and am now messing with both versions of .NET.

I want to start learning Ruby on Rails.

but my "day job" is as a project (I hope not pointy-haired) manager.

Now if I could just figure out what I want to be when I grow up...