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Comment You're using CMMI wrong (Score 1) 200

If you're using CMMI as a religion, you're using CMMI wrong.

If CMMI is causing you more problems than it's worth, you're using CMMI wrong.

If ALL of your projects are generating a huge paper trail, you're using CMMI wrong. (Choose better "focus projects" for your appraisal.)

If CMMI is stifling innovation, you're using CMMI wrong.

If CMMI makes you focus on principles developed elsewhere instead of your business objectives, you're using CMMI wrong.

If CMMI isn't helping you improve your product quality, you're using CMMI wrong.

If CMMI isn't helping you, you're using CMMI wrong.

But that comes as no surprise. Most companies seem to be using CMMI wrong.

CMMI is a tool. If you hold it right, if you swing it right, if you have enthusiastic people skilled in using it, the tool can give you good results.

If you inflict the tool on reluctant people who don't have any experience in using it, you will likely get really bad results.

You should only use CMMI if you're serious about improving your software engineering processes. Don't blindly chase arbitrary numbers or timetables. Use it in ways that help you and don't use it in ways that harm you.

CMMI prompts you to think about which of your projects should use best practices from industry, like using requirements tools and bidirectional requirements traceability. You should use some of these practices on some projects, and you should avoid their use on other projects.

Comment INCOSE Requirements Management Tools Survey (Score 1) 200

The INCOSE Tools Database Working Group (TDWG) has a Requirements Management Tools Survey: The responses are self-reported by the tool vendors, but they appear to be mostly accurate. This survey could help you choose between requirements management tools to help you find one that will fit your needs and your business style.

Need a Friend? Rent One Online 134

crimeandpunishment writes "Housewives, college students, and others are working for a website that charges users an hourly rate for their companionship. No, it's not an escort service — at least it's not one 'with benefits.' It's a site called, that's trying to carve out a niche in the 'everything's available online' business world. The seven-month-old site, patterned after hugely successful sites in Asia, has nearly 2,000 members who pay either a monthly or yearly fee to check out the pictures and profiles of more than 160,000 potential pals." I thought Craigslist had already cornered the market on renting a friend for an hour or two.

Why the First Cowboy To Draw Always Gets Shot 398

cremeglace writes "Have you ever noticed that the first cowboy to draw his gun in a Hollywood Western is invariably the one to get shot? Nobel-winning physicist Niels Bohr did, once arranging mock duels to test the validity of this cinematic curiosity. Researchers have now confirmed that people indeed move faster if they are reacting, rather than acting first."

How To Teach a 12-Year-Old To Program? 799

thelordx writes "I've got a much younger brother who I'd like to teach how to program. When I was younger, you'd often start off with something like BASIC or Apple BASIC, maybe move on to Pascal, and eventually get to C and Java. Is something like Pascal still a dominant teaching language? I'd love to get low-level with him, and I firmly believe that C is the best language to eventually learn, but I'm not sure how to get him there. Can anyone recommend a language I can start to teach him that is simple enough to learn quickly, but powerful enough to do interesting things and lead him down a path towards C/C++?"

Comment Re:scratch (Score 4, Interesting) 634

I'm a father of three and a college professor teaching computer programming, and I've found that Scratch is a very good "language" for teaching programming. It shows programming concepts such as looping, variables and interfaces in an immediately accessible and kid-friendly manner. It includes multimedia and event-driven programming capabilities. It uses the best features of immediate feedback of success and visible results to encourage exploration and fun.

Programming in Scratch helps kids

  • start simple and do complicated things later
  • create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web
  • jump right in and understand the basics like variables, loops, arrays, etc, without getting bogged down in an over complex or restrictive language
  • learn to program by diving in and doing it
  • impress their friends

During the directed learning that takes place in a Scratch-oriented curriculum, the teaching team can introduce another programming language to show how syntax-oriented programming languages can perform the same tasks as the graphics-oriented systems. Any programming language can serve as that second language.

I find it a bit ironic that the best language for teaching programming languages isn't a language at all.


Tomorrow's Science Heroes? 799

An anonymous reader writes "As a kid I was (and still am) heavily influenced by Carl Sagan, and a little later by Stephen Hawking. Now as I have started a family with two kids, currently age 5 and 2, I am wondering who out there is popularizing science. Currently, my wife and I can get the kids excited about the world around them, but I'd like to find someone inspiring from outside the family as they get older. Sure, we'll always have 'Cosmos,' but are there any contemporaries who are trying to bring science into the public view in such a fun and intriguing way? Someone the kids can look up to and be inspired by? Where is the next Science Hero?"

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