How we build Software@

Talking about design teams - how we build software

Software@ has moved to the Design Talk podcast! A place for sharing lessons learned, interesting stories, and talking about the theory, practices, culture and politics of software engineering. 

How do you design, build and manage the teams that build software? We look broadly at digital technology - software really, but other high-tech things too. We dig into the inspiration for software designs, creative processes, coding, programming, team culture and team processes. 

Hosted by Allen Higgins, College of Business, UCD and Mel Ó Cinnéide, School of Computer Science and Informatics, UCD. Typical format: 20' to 60' audio recording.

Academics on theories and foundations - prompt questions such as:

  • What do you think people mean when they talk about design? 
  • How do you define "design"? What do you look for in a well designed thing?
  • Talk about the creative process and problem-solving?
  • In Architecture (landscape and built environment) projects start with a Design Brief, a simple statement of needs and inspiration points. But for digital+software how/when/where does design happen?
  • What would go into a software design brief?
  • Do you subscribe to the view that the development lifecycle problem has been solved with Agile+Scrum?
  • What did we lose when waterfall/traditional was left behind?
  • What do you think determines the way software teams are organised?
  • Is there a typical organisational culture for digital enterprises (IT/software companies)?
  • Can you talk about the concept of ‘research design’ in academic/scholarly research?
  • What research designs are well suited to studying digital/IT/software teams?

Practitioners on the practical realities - prompt questions such as: 

  • Tell a good story...
      • What worked well?
      • What didn't work well?
      • What would you do again?
      • What would you drop?
  • My company is a...
      • Public or private, start-up, SME, MNC, unicorn...
      • Typical team sizes, organisation size.
      • People-offices are: global/local, distributed/co-located, virtual/in-person.
      • Years in industry sector market maturity.
      • Years in development/product maturity (major/minor #versions).
      • Size of codebase (10K, 100K, 1M, 10M, 100M LOC).
  • What does a typical work day look like?
  • What do you enjoy about the work?
  • What would you change about the work?
  • How are your teams organised? 
  • When/where does design happen?
  • Talk about the development lifecycle...
  • Where do requirements come from? 
  • Can one person do it all? 
  • Does development lifecycle make a difference? 
  • Can you sketch your architecture?
  • Do you capture and keep sketches on whiteboards, flipcharts?
  • How has the design/system/architecture evolved?
  • How do you manage design knowledge?
  • What practices or processes would you introduce to your next team?
  • How do new ways of working get adopted?
  • Talk about the last time you introduced (or changed) a work practice?
  • How do you cope with the politics?
  • Who manages the team? How do you decide what gets done?