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Dave Hendricksen

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Recent posts by Dave Hendricksen

It does not focus on agile, but it does focus on a variety of estimating techniques and approaches. For me, having a variety of tools usually comes in handy.
10 years ago
Hi Pradeep,

These won't cover it exactly, but they are good estimating references:
- Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art by Steve McConnell
- Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn

Good luck on the estimates!
10 years ago
Hi Pradeep,

For estimating, I usually do a few things
- talk to the "customer" to get a better sense of the requirements and size of the project.
- do a gut feel estimate - based on previous experience.
- do a model driven estimate - I model the problem and assign values to the boxes.

You will never know everything - sometimes you just have to jump off the cliff.

That's what I do.

Thank for the question!
10 years ago
Hi Akhilesh,

Usually the best thing to do with politics is - do the right thing regardless of how others behave.

It is usually best not to play.

Good question!
10 years ago
Hi Chris,

I am sorry to hear you have had such a bad experience.

I believe utilizing processes such as agile development may help with delivering small portions of the project on a regular cadence.

Projects need to be executed by a team with many contributors including project management, coaches, developers, business representatives, ...

There needs to be an opportunity for open and gracious communication within the team to address concerns (possibly in a iteration retro) where a feed back loop can be put in place for areas than need adjustment.

Thank you for the question and good luck on your next project!
10 years ago
Hi John,

Most detailed estimates that I help produce are made by a group of individuals. Depending on the nature of the estimate, we may provide multiple options for the business to select. This enables them to get the most for the money they are looking to invest and can weigh some of tactical versus strategic aspects of what they are looking to accomplish. We may also include a confidence level in the estimate.

Thank you for the question!
10 years ago
Hi Luke,

I personally like UML and use it regularly. It's a great way to visualize information about structure and sequence.

Nearly every project I work on is agile - I still need to take time think through the problem at hand - UML helps me with this.

I usually only produce what is needed at the responsible time (sometimes only on white boards) versus creating volumes of diagrams that may or may not get used.

Thank you for the question!
10 years ago
Hi Pradeep,

I agree with Jeanne.

Estimating is absolutely part of an architect's job? high level quick estimates to help give the business an overall sense of the cost for a project - all the way to detailed estimates to be used in a business case. You need to be able to put financial numbers to things you likely do not have all the information for. If you can, look for ways to model the information related to the project to help rationalize the numbers you are giving.

Thanks for the question!
10 years ago
Hi Shwetank,

The chapters in the book are ordered. In general, I would look to focus on the early chapters as development areas and then progress to the later chapters. If you don't have some of the earlier skills, the later ones may not matter.

I didn't cover the technical aspects of architecture in the book. I simply assumed knowledge and fluency in them is a foundational aspect of being an architect.

Once you have the right technical skills/knowledge/domain experience, the soft skills come into play. It certainly doesn't hurt to have them earlier on in the journey.

Thank you for asking the question!
10 years ago
Hi Ayub,

I believe you need to focus in on areas you are passionate about. Whatever it is - learn everything you can. Read about it. Implement it. Learn the nuances. Learn what the cost drivers are. Know what the technical challenges are. Know who the industry experts are. Learn where the industry is going. ...

Learn how to describe the problem/technology at multiple levels of detail and for multiple audiences. (look to the 4+1 view architecture by Phillip Krutchen)

I read and listen to all kinds of books - business, technical, soft skills, self-improvement, ...

Good question!
10 years ago
Hi Darek,

I believe you can certainly learn soft skills by self training. At least for me, when I am trying to change behavior, it takes a lot of focused effort to change.

I am not sure being an architect is the right job for everyone - you need to like being in the decision making arena and be willing to deal graciously with the politics that go on regularly.

I certainly believe it is a worthy pursuit - it's what I love to do.

Thank you for the question!
10 years ago
Hi Luke,

The standard architectural response would be - it depends.

It depends on the overall size of the project, the complexity of the project, ...

I would tend to think of it in terms of architect to tech lead ratios.

In general, I think an architect can interact with 5 +/- 2 tech leads with each tech lead being over 5+/-2 developers.

Thank you for the question!
10 years ago
Hi Jeanne,

Leadership Skills:
• The motto on our team is “student lead, mentor driven”. We work toward having the students lead the team, and leverage the expertise of the mentors. In many respects, I see this as one of the daily jobs of an architect – allowing others to lead and own the project or parts of the project, but guiding it in a manner that drives it toward success.
• Learning to delegate – allowing others to have an ownership in delivering.
• Learning to work in areas where you need to work through influence, not authority (most architects do not have direct reports; they have to work through influence to get things done).

Business Skills:
• Learning to be pragmatic – finding ways to balance the need to move forward technically (bringing in new technology) while simultaneously keeping costs down (implantation, operational, …) and delivering on time (you only have 6 ½ weeks to build the robot from when you first learn of the requirements).
• Vision – helping establish a common vision of what needs to be built.

The really short answer is nearly everything I talk about in the book gets exercised when working with a FIRST team.

Just like a real project, it is nearly always a thrill to see the project get delivered.

Mentoring others is also highly rewarding. It's fun to see others grow and see the light bulbs go on.

Thanks for the additional comments!
10 years ago
Hi Pradeep,

In most interviews, I am looking to begin a conversation.

I want to understand what they have done in the past (basically, I am looking for them to begin talking), and I will vary my questions based on what they say.

I want to understand how they think about problems, how they work with people, how they communicate information ...

I am likely to want to dive into specific areas to see what the depth of knowledge is.

There isn't a script.

I am really just trying to figure out if I believe they can do the job and if they are a fit for the position.

Thank you for the question!
10 years ago
Hi Amit,

I generally think of a software/solution designer as someone who is likely taking direction from and working with an architect to flesh out more specific details surrounding a particular area.

Thank you for the question!
10 years ago