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Jolt Awards

The 14th Annual Software Development Jolt and Productivity Awards


V1: XP 1.0

I really wish I’d written this little gem. Instead, we can thank Robert Holler of Alpharetta, Ga.-based VersionOne, who wished harder and then did it. He longed, like me, for an easy way to plan iterative software projects. And he wanted something that developers, project managers and the green-money buyers of a project could all use and understand. And finally, he wanted a planning tool with the ease of update and approachability of the plain, old-fashioned whiteboard.

Holler’s team has realized the whiteboard aspect in an appealing way. Each iteration is shown with the project features (stories in agile and Extreme Programming parlance) it implements listed along with the total units of work needed for that iteration. Also visible is your team’s speed of story delivery (velocity). To arrive at project loading, you just drag and drop a story title into your iteration of choice—voilà!—the plan updates before your eyes using your velocity data. Don’t like what you see? Well, just drag the story to some other iteration until you find the best fit. Reworking the plan later to respond to new features or delays is just as fast.

The interface has an individualized single place to go for each of the roles of developer, project manager and project buyer, thus making V1:XP a quick learn for all.

—Roland Racko

“This award offers tremendous validation to both the momentum and significance of agile development.”

—Robert Holler, CEO

Estimate Easy Use Case 1.1
Duvessa Software

Leesport, Pa.-based Duvessa Software’s Estimate Easy Use Case (EEUC) is a great tool to help with one of the hardest tasks: estimation. Moreover, it performs the estimates early in the project when only the use cases are known.

EEUC estimates a project based on use case points. Based on the actors, use cases and adjustment factors, it estimates the total project hours. Independent research indicates the algorithm works as well as or better than expert developer estimates. The algorithm and the methods can be learned in a day. Then, you’re ready to roll: EEUC is easy to use, adjust and experiment with.

At just $90 per user, there’s no reason not to get it!

—Hugh Bawtree

Microsoft Office Project Pro 2003

A typical day for a project manager means juggling many projects for many lines of business, each of which has many participants, tasks and complex interdependencies. What happens? Deadlines get missed, balls get dropped. You need a project management tool, my friend, and perhaps the most ubiquitous for Windows is Microsoft’s Project. What’s great about Project is that for smaller teams or casual management, it can behave as a simple timeline tracker; but it can scale up to handling all the tasks assigned to individual contributors. The new Pro version works with Microsoft’s Project Server 2003, extending the tool’s reach through the corporate network or across the Web. Plus, integration with Visio adds diagramming to project management, and the new XML file format enables better schema extensions and flexible reporting.

—Alan Zeichick

TestTrack Pro 6.1
Seapine Software

The choices for a bug-tracking system are plentiful, with a number of open source options that can be particularly appealing, at least initially, from a cost perspective. But when rolling your own or working without a solid support lifeline just isn’t an option, you can find a lot to like in Mason, Ohio-based Seapine Software’s reasonably priced TestTrack Pro. I found it easy to use and customize, with support for uniquely defining the terms that make sense for specific projects. There’s also built-in support for e-mail notifications for key events, integration with the big source-code repositories, a visual workflow designer and a redistributable tool for collecting bug data from customers in the field. While I’m not crazy about yet another proprietary database, I appreciated Seapine’s license, which allows user access to the bug base from either the Windows client or the product’s elegant Web interface.

—Robert A. DelRossi

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