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Software Endgames: Eliminating Defects, Controlling Change, and the Countdown To On-Time Delivery

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Software Endgames: Eliminating Defects, Controlling Change, and the Countdown To On-Time Delivery

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  • Copyright 2014
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-349202-8
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-349202-6

This is the digital version of the printed book (Copyright © 2005).

Take Control of Your Project in the Final Stage of Software Development

In software development, projects are won or lost during the project endgame—that final stage of software development between release for testing and release to customers.

Software Endgames: Eliminating Defects, Controlling Change, and the Countdown to On-Time Delivery presents the core strategies for delivering working software to your customers. Focusing solely on the endgame, the book provides hard-won, hands-on strategies and practices for delivering real value.

In the endgame, effective management and repair of defects is crucial. Experienced project manager and consultant Robert Galen shows readers how to conduct effective defect triage -- analyzing, understanding, and categorizing defects—in preparation for scheduling repairs. Readers will learn how to transform the endgame from a time of rampant defects and utter chaos into a time of focused repairs, effective teamwork, and change management. You'll set release criteria, establish endgame release plans, and utilize a variety of change reduction and endgame management techniques.

Topics include

  • developing various forms of release criteria and leveraging them to guide your teams' efforts
  • strategies for reducing the rate of change
  • change control and triage techniques that lead to efficient and effective defect repair decisions
  • alternative methods of defect repair for decision-making flexibility
  • setting up a defect-tracking system, managing defects and gathering standard metrics for endgame defect trending
  • techniques for repair planning and efficiency
  • agile extensions -- how to apply these techniques to agile projects
  • how to "mine" your endgames for overall software development improvements

Sample Content

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Introduction to Software Endgames: Eliminating Defects, Controlling Change, and the Countdown To On-Time Delivery

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Table of Contents

Preface         xix

My Motivation for the Book    xxi

Intended Audience    xxii

How to Approach This Book    xxiii

What We're Not Trying to Explore   xxiv

Chapter One: Introduction         3

You Know You're in the Endgame When …    4

Focus of the Book: It's Mostly About Defects   5

Triage Workflow   6

Repair Triage and Change Control Workflows    8

Flow of the Book    12

Part One: Endgame Basics         17

Chapter Two: Triage and Change Control Process and Meeting Framework        19

Different Names and Formats    20

Formal CCB Format   21

A Lightweight CCB (LW-CCB) Explored   22

A Quick Look at the Meeting Flow   25

Meeting Participant Roles   26

Setting Up Meeting Dynamics   28

Triage MeetingAgenda Format   32

Decision-Making   36

Wrap-Up: Additions to Your Endgame Toolbox   40

Chapter Three: Developing Release Criteria and Working Views         42

Release Criteria or Defining Success   43

Better Decisions: Aspects of a Project Working View   46

Steps to Establishing a Working View    49

Examples of Working View Application Scenarios   52

Project Application: Example #1   54

Project Application: Example #2   56

Project Application: Example #3, Another Approach   59

Resetting Your Working View   59

Wrap-Up: Additions to Your Endgame Toolbox   60

Chapter Four: Endgame Release Framework         62

Overview of the Framework   64

A Word on Strategy   70

Release Framework Example   72

Measuring Progress for the Release Framework   75

Ownership of the Release Framework   75

Updating Your Release Framework    76

The Impact of Granularity on Methodologies   76

Wrap-Up: Additions to Your Endgame Toolbox   77

Chapter Five: Reducing the Rate of Change          78

Change Reduction Milestones for the Endgame Framework   79

The Notion of a Code Freeze    80

Beyond Code Freeze and Code Complete  Defect Repair Change Cycles   83

Change Reduction Anti-Patterns   85

How the CCB Assists in Change Reduction   96

Wrap-Up: Additions to Your Endgame Toolbox   97

Chapter Six: Configuration Management in the Endgame        98

Configuration Management Readiness Checklist   99

Level of CM Control Granularity   100

Early On  Run a Practice Build Test   101

Beware of Changing Tools in the Endgame   101

The Role of Team Leaders in Configuration Management   102

Periodic (Nightly) Builds and Smoke Testing   104

Release Turnover Meetings   107

Wrap-Up: Additions to Your Endgame Toolbox   108

Part Two: Endgame Defects        109

Chapter Seven: Defect Basics: Terms, Tools, Methods, and Management        111

Fundamental Defect Types   112

Basic Defect Data Fields   114

Defect Evolution   129

Introduction to Work Queues   131

Information Weight   133

Using Defects to Track Development (and Other) Work   134

Frequent Defect Monitoring  What Needs Attention   135

The Idea of Bug Advocacy   136

Wrap-Up: Additions to Your Endgame Toolbox   137

Chapter Eight: Useful and Relevant Metrics        138

Find (New) Versus Fixed (Closed, Deferred)   139

Factoring in Priority   141

Factoring In Keywords   144

Defect Transition Progress  146

Functional Areas and Defect Distribution   149

Further Examination of Trending  Correlations to External Stimuli   151

Metrics Analysis Questions   56

Maintaining Historical Data   158

Wrap-Up: Additions to Your Endgame Toolbox   159

Chapter Nine: The Many Ways to Fix Defects        160

Just Repair It   161

Make a Partial Repair to Reduce Impact and Severity   161

Log It As a Known Defect and Move On   162

Simply Change the Severity or Priority   163

Ignore It and Hope It Goes Away   164

Consider It Anomalous Behavior and Wait for the Next Occurrence    165

Defer the Repair to a Later Release   165

Negotiate with Marketing or the Customer to Change the Requirement   167

Add More System Resources to Reduce the Impact   168

Find a Workaround (Procedural, Operational, Documentation, or Automated)   171

Remove the Functionality/Code   173

Change or Remove Interacting Software Products   174

Wrap-Up: Additions to Your Endgame Toolbox   175

Part Three: Endgame Workflow        177

Chapter Ten: Work Queues and Packaging        179

Work Queues   180

Deriving Work Queues from Your Defect-Tracking System   182

Queue Loading Rules   184

How Should Testing Interact with the Work Queues?   185

Deal with Defect Repairs in Packages   186

Thinking About Package Costs   190

Think About Your Regression Trends   191

Package Plan Status and General Replanning   191

Wrap-Up: Additions to Your Endgame Toolbox    193

Chapter Eleven: Defect Repair Selection: Other Considerations        194

Reproducing the Defect   195

Overall Level of Difficulty   196

Locality and Relationship to Other Defects   198

How Will the Repair Impact the Test Team?   199

Exploring Possible Workarounds   201

Handling Gold Features   201

Considering Your Available Resources   203

Likelihood That the Defect Will Surface in Normal Operation of the Product   206

Wrap-Up: Additions to Your Endgame Toolbox   207

Chapter Twelve: Endgame Estimation: A Few Useful Collaborative Techniques        208

Defect Estimation Life Cycle   209

PSP PROBE Method—Proxy-Based Estimation   211

Wideband Delphi Method   214

Other Estimation Techniques   217

Collaborative Estimation  What to Collect   220

Wrap-Up: Additions to Your Endgame Toolbox   222

Part Four: Endgame Management        223

Chapter Thirteen: Management Dynamics        225

The Importance of Team Leads: Clear Roles and Responsibilities   226

The Tone of the Endgame   229

Be Aware of the Natural Tension Points Across Functional Groups   233

Identify Your Best Debuggers   234

Reserve Resources or Develop Generalists for Later Repairs   235

Team Types: Strengths for the Endgame   237

Wrap-Up: Additions to Your Endgame Toolbox   239

Chapter Fourteen: Leadership Practices         241

The Burden of Leadership   242

Use of Overtime   244

Establish a War Room   245

Find Room for Play   247

Daily Status Meetings   248

Gathering General Status   251

Handling Distributed Endgame Teams    252

Knowing When to Say When  Release   255

Knowing When to Say When  You're in Trouble   257

The Testing Team  Your Secret Weapon   259

Wrap-Up: Additions to Your Endgame Toolbox   262

Chapter Fifteen: Endgame Retrospectives and Conclusions         263

Keeping an Endgame Log or Diary   264

Should You Conduct a Retrospective?   265

Key Points of a Retrospective   265

Guidelines for an Endgame Retrospective   268

Using Your Endgame Data in the Retrospective   268

Endgames Provide Wonderful Insights into the Character of Your Team   272

Celebrating Success   273

Agile Endgames   276

Concluding Thoughts   279

Afterword: An Invitation to Endgame Collaboration        281

Appendix A: Pre-Endgame Preparation Checklist       283

Appendix B: Collaborative Estimation, Data Focus Checklist        286

Appendix C: Sticky Note Guidelines        288

Note-Generator Guidelines   288

Note-Facilitator Guidelines   289

Note Formats   290

Appendix D: Guidelines for Constructing Endgame Release Frameworks        291

Historical Notes   291

Plan Details   292

Endgame Flow   293

References        295

Index        299


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