Improving Team Development, VSLive 2008, Day two

by Terry 5/13/2008 9:04:00 AM

The theme for much of the conference is Visual Studio Team System (VSTS). Improving Team Development, the session I am currently attending, is presented by Mario Rodriguez, the VSTS program manager at Microsoft. Note, while this is largely a Microsoft technology focused conference, most of the presenters are independent of Microsoft, and sometimes subtly vocal about Microsoft’s blunders, as they see them.

An ineffective team has some attributes:

  • Completes (works on) tasks with no business value
  • Divergent or incompatible agendas of the members
  • Incomplete or unknown requirements
  • Poor estimates, late delivery
  • Delivery of low quality software
  • Lack of defined roles of team members
  • Inability or poor team member communication

I have had the fortune to work on both successful and unsuccessful teams. I would agree with this list faults.

Success attributes include delivering customer value as the driver of a project; a top-down approach is constraining by focusing the team on a list of planned tasks. A top-down method is not a bad approach, but it is less efficient. By focusing on the customer requirements throughout the development process, you gain the following successful attributes

  • The customer can evaluate the deliverables
  • Quality assurance is embedded in the process
  • Eliminates process that deliver poor quality code

VSTS tools help produce quality code by enhancing, streamlining and enabling these attributes. Additionally, VSTS has Agile and CMMI templates, which are customizable. I agree with that, to a point. Having the tools available will help, and good tool integration will help a lot (I have to suffer with that where I work). Ultimately, the development team needs to work with these processes.

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About Terry Losansky

Terry Dee Losansky

I am a software architect, actively practice and teach martial arts and live in Snoqualmie, Washington. I have an amazing daughter who is the jewel of my life.

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