McCarthy's video on "23 and a half Rules of Thumb for Software Development"

"23 and a half Rules of Thumb for Software Development" is a classic video of a speech that Jim McCarthy made to Microsoft Consulting Services. It has been shown worldwide to anyone taking MSF training, as part of the "Principles of Application Development" course.

McCarthy also recently released it as podcasts at

This video is a great companion to McCarthy's "Dynamics of Software Development" book, one of the cornerstones of MSF 2.0, software engineering classic (note that the book has 54 rules, not just 23), and that the video is included with the latest edition.

Agile 2006

The weather in Minneapolis was warm this year, and so was figuratively speaking the Agile 2006 Conference, which had all sorts of interesting discussions going on anywhere - lobbies, dining rooms, sessions. I felt at home for its informality, and definitely will come back next year.

While being a newbie to the gathering, I have been working with agile software development since 1999 when I was first introduced to the topic by Bill Addington, whose last job at Compaq was as a software development quality and methodologies guru.

Aside from MSF (which to me was inexplicably absent from the manifesto meeting in 2000), my first book on agile was Adaptive Software Development by Jim Highsmith, then eXtreme Programming Explained (first edition) by Kent Beck,  followed by Java Modelling in Color, a beautiful book by Coad, Lefebvre and DeLuca, which introduced FDD.

So while at the conference it was a pleasure to meet in person several luminaries who have been the backbone of the Agile movement.

The first one was Alistair Cockburn [pronounced 'co-burn']. We had a chance of chatting for a few minutes after his introductory presentation on Agile Software Development in general, and Crystal Clear in detail. My favorite book of his though is Writing Effective Use Cases.

We talked about the origin of the name "Agile"  for the manifesto, with a few interesting points I will bring back later.


The last 6 months

Andrew Delin was asking me the other day what I had been doing since January, so here is a quick summary:

Without going into details, I still kept very active in the MSF and TFS world:

  • Participated of the SEPG 2006 conference with the Microsoft booth (I will come back to that later), with Randy Miller and David Anderson (who coordinated the MSF for CMMI Process Improvement Appraiser's workshop)
  • Worked (and I am still working!) with Randy Miller on an 3-day Agile Software Development course
  • Moved to another Microsoft team focused on ALM (Application Lifecycle Management)
  • Worked on site at several customers helping them with adopting/migrating to VSTS, TFS and MSF

There could be no better event to blog about other than the Agile 2006 Conference. I will come back to it over the next few days as I collect my ideas on some of the sessions I attended.

Comparative study on RUP vs MSF

Johan Traa has just published a comparative study on RUP vs MSF for Agile Software Development: "MSF Documentation: RUP vs. MSF - A comparative study". Check the post at the MSF Forum.

It is really worth the reading. He adds new material to help you understand MSF for Agile Software Development, specially a nice graphical representation on page 132.

Who says software development has to be without fun?

If you are not interested in the not so subtle Dilbert comics, you might want to start reading David Anderson's blog for subtle Scottish wit in between some serious postings that are among the best in the industry.

MSF oldies

I was talking to my good friend Andrew Delin about how the original MSF 1.0 had several concepts which today are associated with Agile methodologies. One such concept was the polemic "Why No Requirements Document?" one. The main point in this doc is:

·         Users/customers generally don't know what they want or need until they gain some familiarity with what they can have; 

The solution presented at the time resonates with what has become common today:

   The SDD process model does not ignore customer requirements.  They are accommodated through: 

·         early identification of driving requirements and constraints as a part of defining the project scope [i.e, Vision Scope document]; 

·         establishing traceability through analysis techniques like activity-based analysis, in which all features specified in the Functional Specification are traceable to specific user activities or tasks identified in the analysis activities [i.e. Personas and a list of Scenarios]; 

·         controlled revision of project scope and Functional Specification documents to reflect changing or better-understood requirements [i.e. Functional Spec as a collection of Scenarios which can be modified or postponed to a later iteration ("versioned releases" at the time)].

These and other gold nuggets are in MSF 1.0 RC1.

Hello World

As a new blogger (out of hundreds of thousands already out there), and as a developer, my first post had to be "Hello World". I fondly remember my first experiences with Turbo Pascal 5.0, at the time the best development tool available.

You can get Turbo Pascal 5.5 even today: check this article by DavidI, who I had the pleasure to meet last June at the UML & Design World Conference (thanks Randy Miller for introducing me to DavidI).


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