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Author Rettig, Marc
Source ACM Digital Library
Content type Text
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
File Format PDF
Language English
Abstract I have often heard the phrase, “We see what we know.” As technicians, we concentrate on technical ways to manage complexity: abstraction, design techniques, high-level languages, and so on. That is what we know best. But when the tale is told of a project that failed, the blame is often laid not on technical difficulties, but on management and interpersonal problems.In the last six months, I have seen firsthand how attention to the social organization of a software team can make a big difference in the success of a development project. I work in a “Research and Development” group. “Research” means that some aspects of the project are experimental—we do not know for sure what is going to work. “Development” means we are expected to produce high-quality software for real users. So while we want to encourage creative thought, we must pay heed to the lessons of commercial software developers in quality assurance, testing, documentation, and project control.Our all-wise project leader decided we also needed to pay heed to the lessons of sociology. In particular, we began to apply the ideas found in Larry Constantine's work on the organization of software teams. Our efforts have resulted in a team that is productive, flexible, and comfortable. I thought these qualities are unusual enough to merit a column on the subject.
Description Affiliation: Academic Computing, Summer Institute of Linguistics, 7500 West Camp Wisdom Road, Dallas, TX (Rettig, Marc)
Age Range 18 to 22 years ♦ above 22 year
Educational Use Research
Education Level UG and PG
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Date 2005-08-01
Publisher Place New York
Journal Communications of the ACM (CACM)
Volume Number 33
Issue Number 10
Page Count 5
Starting Page 23
Ending Page 27


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Source: ACM Digital Library