April 30, 2008

Less Stress. More Quality.

Helix ALM
What a strange name for a blog. Less stress. More quality. Isn’t that an oxymoron? A lot of people in software development today would say that one of these words doesn’t belong with the others. If you are going to create quality software, isn’t it a given that you’ve signed up (or been volunteered) for a lot of extra hours, headaches, worry, concern, fear, uncertainty, doubt, hassles, arguments, ulcers, and anxiety? You know, stress. While I have been known to keep an industrial drum-sized bottle of TUMS on my desk during various projects in my career, over the years I have learned that there are ways to deliver high quality software and still keep your stress level within reasonable bounds. It’s not always easy, but it is possible. Most of the time. This blog will focus on what I’ve learned about creating quality software with less stress. You won’t need your antacids if you have the following available for your next project:
  • good practices
  • great tools
  • a little fun
Good Practices I’m not a fan of the phrase “best practices.” Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem learning from the successes and mistakes of those who have gone before me. Good software engineers, testers, and managers have sacrificed evenings with the family, their waistlines, and their next promotion to bring us hard fought knowledge of good ways to solve the software development problems that plague us. I just don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all solution. What works best for two programmers in a garage won’t necessarily be the best solution for the team at NASA working on a Martian explorer or a Hubble Telescope. Show me good ways others have solved similar problems and I’ll pick the best solution for my current situation. On these blog pages, I intend to share what I’ve learned about creating quality software. In return, I hope you will share what you’ve learned on your own projects with me. Great ToolsTestTrack StudioWhat can I say? There’s a reason I wanted to be the product manager for the best family of issue and defect tracking and test case management tools on the market. I love my products! I was a user and fan of TestTrack long before I joined Seapine. Stop by these pages for tips on how to use TestTrack Pro, TestTrack TCM, and TestTrack Studio to implement your good practices. A Little Fun Some days we all need to be reminded to breathe deep and smile. (The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t always an oncoming train.) Stressed-out, unhappy people make bad decisions. Bad decisions make bad software. Good practices implemented with great tools make quality software. And nothing reduces the stress in your software development life like producing quality software. I hope you can visit each week. I’ll be doing my best to fill these pages with good practices, great tools, and a little fun that you can use on your projects.