Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

back to the future

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Over the past few months, my work scope has grown to encompass a new area: data mining and advanced analytics. As part of my newest project, I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to do some classical and new-fangled data analysis, and some real coding. I’ve written – and tested, and refactored – about 1000 lines of C# code in the last few weeks. That’s nowhere near the amount I used to produce early in my career, but you know what? It’s still fun. 🙂 Anyway, I thought I’d share 3 key observations that have begun to jell as a result of my new work.

  1. What’s changed the most are the development tools. Compared to the simple text editors I started with, modern IDEs offer way more built-in guidance and ‘accelerators’ (although they do sometimes get in the way). And I’m learning to leverage the vast amount of online help and forums available nowadays. Learning to navigate the complexities of newer IDEs and debuggers, and become hyper-efficient in using them, will still take a little time, I’m sure.
  2. Oddly, the languages themselves haven’t changed all that much. I began with assembler and FORTRAN and quickly moved into RatFor, a C-like Rational FORTRAN preprocessor. I also did some work in Pascal and Ada, and lots of batch scripting, before moving to C and C++, then into Java. Picking up C# over the last few weeks has been straightforward.
  3. My background in both agile methods and more formal approaches to architecture and requirements is clearly influencing how I do my work now. Thinking about what might be ‘the simplest thing that will possibly work’ and how to test steers my ‘XP For One’ task planning. I mull up front whether I need to design for performance to handle the huge datasets I’m working with now, and plan spikes to help me test early. For this project, throughput on my laptop is more than adequate so far: my programs runs through 4 years’ worth of data in just a few minutes. Robustness and error detection in how I clean and process my data are critical, though.

Bottom line: it’s gratifying to know that after so many years focusing more on management and process, I do still have the design, programming, and math skills to tackle and solve technical problems hands-on. It’s still cool to wake up in the morning with a piece of a solution to a coding challenge I fell asleep thinking about, or to find my mind puzzling out an answer while I’m in the shower. And I like that this experience is building my mental framework for my future technical leadership, whether in management or coaching or research, to truly understand what product development teams using these latest tools are coping with. It’s all good!


Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

A very full week at SATURN 2010 is now over. I’ll be summarizing the sessions I attended on our WordPress blog shortly, but in brief: it was an excellent conference offering great networking opportunities and bringing much-needed attention to effectively combining architecture with agility.

Our AHEAD tutorial on Tuesday morning was well-received, and several enjoyable, thought-provoking discussions with participants ensued later in the conference week. Following Linda Rising‘s good keynote advice on using the Just Say Thanks pattern, I’d like to publicly thank Aldo for co-presenting it with me, and express my deep appreciation to Elizabeth for her extensive preparation work and thoughtful support as we developed the tutorial together.

upcoming events

Friday, February 5th, 2010

2010 has been super busy so far, and is off to a great start. In addition to a new IEEE Computer Society meeting panel invitation, and our previously accepted SEPG 2010 presentation on requirements engineering metrics, the Agile Teams collaborators now have a half-day tutorial accepted at SATURN. If you’re also attending SEPG or SATURN this year, please look for us and say hi!

architectural evaluation for usability

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Recently announced on the SATURN software architecture blog: A tool to support evaluating an architecture for usability, based on collaboration of ABB’s Pia Stoll with the SEI and Carnegie Mellon University. Their A-PLUS tool supports efficient evaluations of software architecture with respect to usability concerns, and is now available for download. Check it out!

moving AHEAD

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Our recent work with developing and applying AHEAD, which blends requirements engineering, AHP, architecture analysis, and prototyping for software technology evaluations, has been well received. Since the QFD Symposium, we’ve had papers on different aspects of the AHEAD method accepted by IASTED, SEPG, SAC, and SATURN! These AHEAD papers will be made available, subject to the conference publishers’ permission policies, after the conferences.

We also set a new personal-best record for accepted papers at the CMMI Technology Conference: seven! The papers include lessons learned from geographically distributed appraisals and innovative approaches to economic valuation of SPI activities. PDFs are now available online at the NDIA site and via our 2008 CMMI Technology conference page.

(Conferences page has been updated – Publications page, by date, will follow soonis now up to date too.)

We’ve also recently vetted our 2009 RE (requirements engineering) research roadmap with management, and are diving into some exciting new areas of work – stay tuned 🙂 Also mulling whether to submit papers for RE2009 and/or Agile 2009

getting AHEAD

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

In conjunction with our colleague Elizabeth, Aldo, Qingfeng, and I have recently completed several new papers on the AHEAD method which emerged from a recent software technology evaluation project. AHEAD stands for Attribute Hierarchy-based Evaluation of Architectural Designs; the method blends the SEI’s Attribute-Driven Design (ADD) with the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to deliver a nice balance between efficiency and accuracy (agility and discipline) in performing objective software technology evaluations. Our research results are just now ‘hitting the press’ … the first paper was well received at the QFD Symposium last week, and two others have been accepted at conferences and will be presented in March. Please check out AHEAD – we’d love to hear your comments and suggestions for improving and applying it!


Thursday, October 30th, 2008

This blog has been quiet for a while, partly due to a shift in employer focus away from coaching agile, TSP, and CMMI, and towards research in requirements engineering, technology evaluation, and software architecture. I’m delighted to be reviving this blog now with the addition of new topics (including QFD, ADD, AHP, PrIME) and an outstanding new collaborator, Dr. Qingfeng He! It also seems likely that agile coaching activities will resume in the near future, based upon grass-roots demand for Scrum, which we’re excited about. Look for more new posts and publications here in the near future!

Think big, start small, move fast

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

good article on the IASA website on an evolutionary approach to enterprise architecture