Project Management

The Biggest Challenge: Getting User Feedback

“We love Menlo, but there’s no way we’re going to be able to get user feedback the way you do. It just won’t fly back at our company.” We hear this often from Menlo visitors. They learn about our process, …[Read more]

Also posted in Culture, High-Tech Anthropology(R), Management, Quality Assurance, User Experience | 0 Comments

How We Made JOY Our Competitive Advantage

“When you walk into the lobby of Menlo Innovations, you find yourself standing in the heart of what makes this company one of the most innovative and productive software development firms in the world.”
Wrote John Baldoni, a Forbes magazine …[Read more]

Also posted in Culture, High-Tech Anthropology(R), Joy | 0 Comments

The Theory and Reality of Sunk Cost

We often find ourselves in discussions about sunk cost here at Menlo. Many of the people who walk through our door have already invested in a piece of software they are not happy with, they don’t want to start over …[Read more]

Also posted in Quality Assurance, User Experience | 0 Comments

“Yes” Always Means “No”

There’s a common theme we find when talking with visitors about our process. Our willingness to embrace change as a project progresses is always interpreted as unmitigated scope creep. While understandable, this conclusion is wrong. Our process — our planning …[Read more]

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“The Biggest Mistake We Made Two Years Ago …

was not choosing Menlo Innovations to do our software design and development.”
– a former prospect having coffee with me the other day.
Arrrggghh.
This is a common theme and there is no joy, no schadenfreude when I hear this.  …[Read more]

Also posted in Human Resources, Management, Software Development, User Experience | 0 Comments

$50 Fines to Control Scope Creep

One of the most common questions we are asked when people are learning about our process is “How do you control scope creep?” Scope creep defeats more software projects than probably any other single cause.
Once upon a time I …[Read more]

Also posted in Management, Menlo Software Factory, Software Development | 1 Comment

“There’s No Way Our Project is That Big…”

Estimation is always a hot topic in software development. An even more important topic, and usually ignored, is not how to estimate but rather how to size a project. So what’s the difference?
By now you can probably imagine our …[Read more]

Also posted in Menlo Software Factory, Software Development | 0 Comments

Doing Donuts in the Parking Lot

People who come to Menlo Innovations or take our classes are often fascinated with the power and simplicity of our paper-based planning game. When we first introduced this planning game process at my old company, Interface Systems, my boss/CEO Bob …[Read more]

Also posted in Management | 0 Comments

Finding My Way to Menlo

Fall of 2006 marked the beginning of my senior year in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. While my classmates were being flown around the country for interviews and juggling different offers I was clueless as …[Read more]

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Accountability: Another Overworked Word

In a previous post I talked about how empowerment is one of the most overworked words in management today. Right near the top of that same list is “accountability.” I shudder every time I hear someone in management say “We …[Read more]

Also posted in Management, Software Development | 0 Comments