Connecting Business and Software Development

Consulting & Coaching for
Agility & Product Ownership

Foto Gunnar Harde

Gunnar Harde

Ich bin Übersetzer: Deutsch-IT/IT-Deutsch. Aus Geschäftsideen entwickle ich digitale Produktvisionen, aus Produktvisionen konkrete Anforderungen für die Softwareentwicklung. Und ich mache IT verständlich - für Entscheider und Stakeholder.

Als Product-Owner und Certified Scrum-Professional bin ich überzeugter Agilist. Ich denke strategisch, aber nicht ideologisch; ich fokussiere mich auf die nächsten Schritte, arbeite aber nicht hemdsärmlich.

Nach meinem Studium der Physik habe ich als Software-Engineer, dann als IT-Berater und Projektmanager für Beratungsunternehmen und Forschungsinstitute gearbeitet. Bei Unternehmen unterschiedlicher Größe und in unterschiedlichen Branchen habe ich als Product-Owner die Entwicklung von IT-Systemen verantwortet und agile Entwicklungsmethoden eingeführt.


Agility and Obligation - Part 1: Why Fixed Price Projects Fail

Developing software is a complex task. Especially the interaction between client and contractor is very challenging because de facto the client cannot completely describe his requirements for the system to be developed due to the complexity. This must be considered when arranging the contract of the cooperation.

Fixed price agreements require a precise description of requirements to achieve a high level of certainty for the pricing. Because it is impossible to define precisely all requirements in advance, this kind of agreement is often conflict-laden. The planning certainty for the client suggested by fixed price agreements is usually not given. Furthermore, the contractor is tempted by fixed prices to produce software lacking the necessary quality. Therefore, the sustainable maintenance and further development of the software is endangered.

The first part of this paper examines the pitfalls of fixed price agreements and their impact on requirements engineering, project management and software quality. The second part “The Art of Assigning Software Development” will describe alternative agreements between client and contractor that lead to better quality and results.

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Agility and Obligation - Part 2: The Art of Assigning Software Development

Many clients believe in fixed price agreements with well-defined requirements specifications in order to control the outcome and costs of software development. But because of the complexity of software development the suggested control is often an illusion. Service agreements can instead provide much better support for the effective development of high-quality software. However, the client must make sure that the collaboration with the contractor is close and transparent. And he has to make sure that he is not trapped in a long-term obligation in case a trustful cooperation could not be established.

To resolve many conflicts between the parties, the software company may take a share in the profits of the delivered software. In this case, the software company is keen that the development is of high standard, the related efforts are justified and the requirements to be realized are the real needs of the market.

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Managing the Invisible - Ensuring Software Quality beyond Micromanagement

Software quality consists of many different aspects. Some of these aspects, like functional correctness or learnability, can be directly perceived and thus easily checked by the client who assigned the software development. However, other aspects, like resource utilization or reusability, are very hard to validate without detailed technical knowledge.

Source code metrics and other key performance indicators are widely used to measure software quality. These indicators suggest a level of client control which does not always reflect reality. Furthermore, they encourage the client to practice micromanagement and therefore to do the job of the contractor. In this paper alternative approaches are presented which enable the client to check invisible software quality dimensions. These approaches focus on the business impact of software quality and leave the responsibility of their realizations to the contractor.

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