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  • Don't Claim Your Customer's Suffering from Your Management System Results are a "Learning Opportunity"

    If you force the consequences of mistakes on your customers making up excuses about how this failure is a learning experience for you is only ok if you actually spell out how you are changing to assure you don't fail your customers due to this same management system failure again.

    You need to design your systems to minimize consequences to customers when something goes wrong.

    Acting as though a problem is due to some specific issue only with the exact circumstances that created the consequences is exactly the message you expect from businesses that have no respect for customers.

  • Solar Energy Capacity Continues to Grow Rapidly (Chart of Data by Country)

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates Italy has the largest percentage of electricity needs capable of being produced by installed PV systems at 8%, with Greece at 7.4% and Germany at 7.1%. Japan is ranked 5th at just under 4%, UK is 12th at 2.5%, China is 22nd at 1%, India 24th and the USA 25th at close to .9%. They estimate the total global percentage at 1.3%.

    The global percentage is rapidly increasing each year as solar costs have shrunk and the benefits of reducing climate change causing pollution are known to be extremely important for the future of the planet.

  • Wat Mai Suwannapumaram, Luang Prabang, Laos

    Photo of golden relief wall on temple in Luang Prabang, Laos.

  • Examine the Results of Your Testing Practices and Continually Improve Your Methods

    The idea of delibrately examining your software development and testing practices will be familar to those using agile retrospectives. The power of continually improving the development practices used withing the organization is hard to appreciate but it is immense. The gains compound over time so the initial benefits are only a glimpse of what can be achieve by continuing to iterate and improve.

  • 6 Tips To Help You Achieve A Better Retirement

    Are You Adding to Your Retirement Savings With Each Paycheck?
    Direct some of your paycheck to a 401(k) or IRA and you will soon be above average in preparing for your retirement.
    One of my favorite tips to nearly painlessly greatly improve your retirement life is to put some of every raise you get toward retirement savings.

    While these six ideas are easy enough to grasp and won’t require any financial wizardry to put into action, the challenge is breaking bad habits and replacing them with good ones. It’s uncomfortable, of course, but if you do, it will be rewarding in the long run. The earlier you get started, the better your retirement options will be.

  • Backyard Wildlife: Family of Raccoons

    I took this photo of this mother Raccoon with 3 youngsters in my backyard. Raccoon’s are pretty big; it is somewhat amazing to me they manage to find enough to eat. I have seen individuals around over the years (not very often though) but only saw this family twice.

  • 84% of Software Defects Found in Production Could Have Been Found Using Pairwise Testing

    Studies show that 84% of defects found in production could have been found by testing every pair of parameter values.  Those bugs were the result of interactions between 2 parameters.  The complexity of software means there are many interactions and as the data shows often the bugs seen in production are the result of such interactions.

  • Stone Bridge over River, Yangshuo, China

    Stone bridge over river (that I was rafting down) in Yangshuo, China.

  • Hand by John Hunter

    Art by me when I was in Nigeria (and was 10 years old).

  • USA Health-Care System Ranks 50th out of 55 Countries

    None of these rankings are perfect and neither is this one. But it is clear beyond any doubt that the USA healthcare system is extremely costly for no better health results than other rich countries (and even more expensive with again no better results than most poor countries). It is a huge drain on the economy that we continue to allow lobbyists and special interests to take advantage of the rest of us...

  • W. Edwards Deming Discussing the Leadership We Need in Our Organizations

    He mentions that walking around can be useful but it isn’t effective. Without the proper focus you only see a glossy picture. Going to where the work is done is important. But as with most management practices it must be done within a proper context and sadly it is often done in a superficial way. I discussed these ideas in my blog post, Management by Walking Around...

  • Making Money as a Nomad in the USA

    There are many posts about how to make money online as a nomad. Some ideas work pretty well for some people (freelance work – especially as a digital nomad, writer, bookkeeper, etc.). The biggest problem isn’t learning about these options (they are repeated all the time in many different places online) but actually making them work for you.

    ...

    I have been paying much more attention lately to nomads in the USA which opens up income possibilities in addition to online income.

  • Better Meetings for Your Organization

    This is similar to Deming’s ideas on management, I don’t believe their is a recipe to follow. There are principles that are universal. But what specific form they take depends greatly on the specific circumstances and systems in place.

    Here are principles I believe will help:

    • Have a written objective
    • Document decisions and actions to be taken
    • Prepare people in advance (and don’t expect people to come if there isn’t a good reason for them to be there)
    • Talk to those involved in the meetings to learn what is working well, what needs to be improved and if the meetings are worth the effort (should there be fewer meetings or should less time be taken with them)
  • How to Improve at Understanding Variation and Using Data to Improve

    Getting better at using data is a bit tricky, so struggling is fairly common.
    Probably the easiest thing to do is to stop reacting to normal variation (caused by the system) as if it were special. This isn’t super easy but it is the easiest step. And it does make a big difference even if it doesn’t seem very exciting.

    The idea of actually using data properly provides big benefit but it much trickier. Don Wheeler’s book is a great start. Making predictions and evaluating how those predictions turn out is also valuable. And in doing so often (though not always) it will also spur you to collect data. This process of predicting, figuring out what data to use to help do so (and to evaluate the results) and considering the result of the prediction and how well the predictions overall are working can help.

  • VW Vanlife in Kenya

    This is a photo (by my father) of my early experience with vanlife. My family took this VW Van in Kenya when I was a kid. We only spent a couple weeks in Kenya before living in Nigeria for a school year.