World-class software development requires far more than language/platform expertise and steady sprints. Join us as we describe time-tested, industry-proven software best practices at the team, organization, and leadership levels, sharing examples from recent engagements with software teams of all sizes.
Construx is led by industry leader Steve McConnell, author of Code Complete and More Effective Agile. Software experts first and software trainers and consultants second, our team has seen what works and doesn’t work in hundreds of software organizations.
Host Mark Griffin spent the first half of his career as an electrical engineer doing silicon hardware design and leading software automation teams. He moved into the sales side of software because he wanted to spread the value of what his company was building. It was supposed to be a one-year assignment that turned into the second half of his career. His balance of deeply technical skills and right-brain artistry also makes him a masterful home brewer!
#30 Scaling Agile: Three Agile Scaling Frameworks and Six Scaling Recommendations
Hearing about different scaling frameworks and wondering which one is for you? Join host Mark Griffin and guest Jenny Stuart for an overview of the popular Agile scaling frameworks SAFe, Nexus, and LeSS, including their strengths and relative weaknesses. We’ll cover the frameworks’ core techniques and approaches; this will provide you with a basis for determining whether one of these frameworks is a good fit. Jenny will also provide six scaling recommendations for you to think about regardless of the framework you might be considering.
#29 Twenty Years Is Enough! It’s Time to Update the Agile Principles and Values
Today’s episode focuses on the very basis of Agile: its principles and values. Steve McConnell recently gave a keynote at XP2021 in which he said they need to be updated. You'll hear a quick recap of Agile’s beginnings, what was happening in software development when people got together at that Snowbird conference: primarily "code & fix" and the SW-CMM (Software-Capability Maturity Model). Steve will describe the current non-agile institutionalization of Agile. Then Steve and Mark will work one by one through the Agile values and principles to describe their relevance (or lack of relevance) to today's software development practices and culture.
#28 Six Ways to Decrease Stress in Development Partnerships
Working with external software development partners often increases stress for the existing internal staff. A Construx client asked us to conduct research with our clients on approaches to reducing this stress. We identified six recommendations and related specific actions that organizations can take to decrease internal stress and improve overall teamwork with their partners.
Join Construx Senior Fellow Earl Beede as he describes the results of this client-driven research. You'll learn the six recommendations and specific actions you can take to lower your internal staff’s stress. You'll also hear about some case studies that describe what worked and what didn’t work in the case of several specific external partnerships Construx studied.
#27 More Effective Kanban, Part 3: Kanban for Portfolios and Programs
Construx VP of Consulting Jenny Stuart and Mark Griffin cleared up common misconceptions about Kanban in Episode #19. In Episode #24, they discussed numerous best practices for establishing and optimizing your Kanban system. Here, they focus on seeing the big picture—working with Kanban at higher levels of workflow. Topics included setting up program-level and portfolio-level Kanban boards. Jenny shares various approaches she's used with clients to determine work items, model the workflow, define exit criteria, and establish WIP limits at the program level, a much higher level of abstraction than user stories. Also discussed are Kanban in the context of SAFe and two-tier Kanban boards, which illustrate multiple levels of abstraction or types of work on one board: epics and features at one level and user stories or children stories underneath.
#26 Software Estimation Lessons Learned from Covid-19 Forecasting
For the past year, Steve McConnell has applied his extensive estimation expertise to a timely problem: Covid-19 forecasting. Steve’s Covid Complete Data Center provides US national data, state data for every state, state scorecards, forecasts, forecast evaluations, and other data on the pandemic: https://stevemcconnell.com/covidcomplete/ His Covid Complete forecasting model has been accepted into the US Center for Disease Control’s “Ensemble” model, which means that it is one of the models driving overall CDC forecasting. In this episode, host Mark Griffin and Steve explore what Steve has learned from his modeling efforts and the lessons learned that are valuable for the software world. You’ll learn the importance of the following for software estimation: using historical data, keeping "control knobs" to a minimum, the difference between accuracy and precision, the difference between reported and actual ground truth, and the absolute necessity of closing the loop and judging your forecasts’ accuracy and effectiveness.
#25 Crafting Software, Part 1: Beers to Pair with Requirements, Design, & Estimation
We thought we’d do something fun to start our second season and use a familiar vehicle to help new listeners and our old friends understand Construx’s software engineering expertise. And how are we going to do that? We’re going to use beer! You might be thinking, "Well, now you have my attention." Host Mark Griffin and Construx consultant Steve Tockey are accomplished home brewers, with 39 years of beer-brewing experience between them. In this first part of the conversation, they’ll work through the beginning phases of software development—requirements, design, and estimation—choosing beers that pair well with each phase, given the similar desired outcome of the particular beer and the software phase. Learn, for example, how software design is similar to an English IPA. We’re pretty sure you’ve never heard anything quite like this.