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Methods & Tools - News, Facts & Comments Edition - February 2002

*** Products ************************************************************

* BeOS: Was or Will Be?

After having bought from Be Inc. the intellectual property for the BeOS operating system, Palm has decided not to give the product a life on its own, planning instead to incorporate part of it in the next Palm OS.

There is however an important group of BeOS developers that would have like to continue using it. After Palm's rejection of their request to license BeOS (Palm requested a $2 million upfront fee only to open discussion...), they have decided to do it on their own. An OpenBeOS project is on its way and perhaps it will have the same success than Linux. After all, Palm seems already acting like Microsoft...

If you are interested by the OpenBeOS project and you want to learn more about it, visit

* Web Services... Without Vices (But with ws-i!)

With the release of the final version of the .Net tools, the battle for being a preferred supplier of Web-based application software has reached a new milestone. There are basically two objectives for Web-based software infrastructure providers:

- delivering application over the Internet, across many platforms

- allowing different applications to communicate automatically over the Internet

The basic technologies to achieve these goals are Java, XML (Extensible Markup Language) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). There are also standards like WSDL (Web Services Description Language) and UDDI (Universal Description Discovery and Integration). A major problem with these "standards" is that their implementation is often incompatible. Even in the Java world, proprietary application servers are proposing their own extensions to ease implementation. This will not allow transferring easily code from one product to another.

A group of companies including Oracle, Microsoft, HP, IBM, SAP, BEA Systems and others (but not Sun...) have decided to join their efforts so that their products will have a common view for such issues like security, authentication and interoperability. To know more about this, you can look at the following Web site:

*** In Other's Words ****************************************************

* The Nine Deadly Sins of Project Planning

"1. Not planning at all.

By far the most common planning problem is simply not planning at all [...]

2. Failing to account for all project activities

[...] Some project plans are created using the assumption that no one on the software team will get sick, attend training, go on vacation, or quit. [...]

3. Failure to plan for risk

[...] In many business contexts, the word 'risk' isn't mentioned unless a project is already in deep trouble. In software, a project planner who isn't using the word 'risk' every day and incorporating risk management into his plans probably isn't doing his job.[...]

4. Using the same plan for every project.

Some organizations grow familiar with a particular approach to running software projects, which is known as 'the way we do things around here'. When an organization uses this approach, it tends to do well as long as the new projects look like the old projects. When new projects look different, however, reusing old plans can cause more harm than good. [...]

5. Applying prepackaged plans indiscriminately

A close cousin to Deadly Sin #4 is reusing a generic plan someone else created without applying your own critical thinking or considering your project's unique needs. 'Someone else's plan' usually arrives in the form of a book or methodology that a project planner applies out of the box. [...]

6. Allowing a plan to diverge from project reality

One common approach to planning is to create a plan early in the project, then put it on the shelf and let it gather dust for the remainder of the project.

7. Planning in too much detail too soon

Some well-intentioned project planners try to map out a whole project's worth of activities early on. But a software project consists of a constantly unfolding set of decisions, and each project phase creates dependencies for future decisions. Since planners do not have crystal balls, attempting to plan distant activities in too much detail is an exercise in bureaucracy that is almost as bad as not planning at all.

8. Planning to catch up later

For projects that get behind schedule, one common mistake is planning to make up lost time later. The typical rationalization is that: 'The team was climbing a learning curve early in the project. We learned a lot of lessons the hard way. But now we understand what we're doing and should be able to finish the project quickly.' Wrong answer! A 1991 survey of more than 300 projects found that projects hardly ever make up lost time - they tend to get further behind. [...]

9. Not learning from past planning sins

The deadliest sin of all might be not learning from earlier deadly sins."

Seems all common sense, isn't it? However, these sins are not always easy to avoid in practice. Let's try to do it!

Source: " The Nine Deadly Sins of Project Planning", Steve McConnel, IEEE Software, September/October 2001.

*** Web Siteseeing ******************************************************

* Software Engineering Institute (SEI) -

It is true that the products of this research center are more oriented towards software development in the defense area. However, the SEI and this site is one of the best source of information in the area of software quality.

In the "Area of work" section, you will find the main tools developed by the SEI to improve the software development process:

Capability Maturity Models® (CMMs®) assist organizations in maturing their people, process, and technology assets to improve long-term business performance. The SEI has developed CMMs for software, people, and software acquisition, and assisted in the development of CMMs for Systems Engineering and Integrated Product Development. The latest development in this initiative is the CMM IntegrationSM (CMMISM) Product Suite.

The SEI Appraiser Program (including a listing of authorized Lead Assessors and Evaluators) enhances this work.

IDEALSM is an organizational improvement model that serves as a roadmap for initiating, planning, and implementing improvement actions.

Risk Management helps organizations proactively focus on preventing problems. Proactive organizations can spend more resources developing the right products and less dealing with unforeseen crises.

Software engineers trained in the Personal Software ProcessSM (PSPSM) make accurate and realistic estimates and then routinely produce on schedule, with reduced development time and significantly reduced numbers of defects in delivered code.

The Team Software ProcessSM (TSPSM) builds on the foundations of the CMM and PSP to guide organizations in forming and managing high-performance integrated product teams. The TSP provides explicit guidance on launching, planning, managing, and reporting the team's work.

The SEI has produced many tools to help you manage software risk and software acquisition. These include: Software Acquisition CMM®, Software Acquisition Guidebooks, Software Risk Evaluation Service

Software Engineering Measurement & Analysis (SEMA) provides measurement and analysis practices and techniques, and collects and disseminates data on the costs and benefits of improved software engineering practices.

The Software Engineering Information Repository (SEIR) offers data and customized analyses of the software engineering practices that lead to improvement.

In the "Publications" section, you will be able to search with keywords and download in PDF format all the SEI's knowledge.

*** Humour **************************************************************

The Evolution of a Programmer

*** Conferences *********************************************************

Software Test Automation Conference -- March 25-28 in San Jose
SQE's Software Test Automation Conference shows you how to add more automation to your testing and ensure you have a better product going out the door -- every time.


5th Software & Internet Quality Week Europe (QWE2002) - Internet NOW!
11-15 March 2002, The Sheraton, Brussels, Belgium -
Check out the entire program with detailed descriptions of multiple tracks, abstracts and authors on the Web site:

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