Rss logo

Posts selected fromManagement Blog - Engineering Blog - Investing Blog and other blogs

  • Testing Smarter with Dorothy Graham

    This interview with Dorothy Graham is part of my series of “Testing Smarter with…” interviews: gaining insights and experiences from many of the software testing field’s leading thinkers.

    The best way to have fewer bugs in the software is not to put them in in the first place. I would like to see testers become bug prevention advisors! And I think this is what happens on good teams.

  • Duoyishu Village, Yunnan, China

    Duoyishu Village is in Yuanyang County, Yunnan, China. I took a private tour for my travels through Yunnan to make things easy on me (China and Kenya are the only places I have done this – because they are more difficult to travel by yourself than most places are).

  • The Amazing Reality of Genes and The History of Scientific Inquiry

    The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee is a wonderful book. He does a great job of explaining the history of scientists learning about genes as well as providing understandable explanations for the current scientific understanding of genes and how they impact our lives.

    As I have mentioned before, I find biology fascinating even though I found biology classes utterly boring and painful. I wish everyone could learn about biology with the insight people like Siddhartha Mukherjee provide.

  • Testing Smarter with James Bach

    This is the first in a series of interviews by me aimed at highlighting insights and experiences by many of the software testing field’s leading thinkers.

    I test them using social science methods. That, after all, is how scientists attempt to test their theories about social life. That means an emphasis on qualitative analysis, but bringing in statistical methods whenever applicable.

    I agree that the medical world is a good example of where statistical methods and heuristic approaches are also needed. In testing complex things, some of what you need to do includes:

    • You must use time to your advantage-- observing systems over time the way primatologists observe chimps in the wild.
    • You must use Grounded Theory, beginning with immersion and observation, until patterns begin to reveal themselves.
  • Software Code Reviews from a Deming Perspective

    I think the “inspection” in code reviews is different enough that we can use code reviews as a valuable tool for managing software development. The waste of having processes that create defects and then use inspection to catch them is certainly something to avoid. A significant part of the effort in code reviews should be geared toward capturing learning that can be applied to current processes to improve them so fewer bugs are created in the future.

    In my experience this part of code reviews (using it to improve the existing processes) is not given the focus it should be. So I do believe that code reviews should focus more on why did we find something we decided to fix?

  • Should I be in the Check Phase of PDCA Daily?

    The check/study phase should be reviewing the results of the experiment done in the Do the experiment phase. "Checking" how things are going during the experiment makes sense but that isn't the check/study phase of PDSA .


    Remember one key to using the PDSA cycle is to turn through the whole cycle quickly. Daily would be exceptionally quick. Moving through the whole cycle in 2-6 weeks is more normal. Organizations successful using PDSA will quickly turn the cycle 4+ times for a specific effort (often the 2nd, 3rd... times through are much faster than the first time through).

  • Don’t Assume All Web Users Have a Fiber-like Connection

    I have pointed out for more than a decade how poorly many web pages are coded. They often assume a very low latency connection and without it the user experience is poor.


    I can only assume they just test the pages on their fiber connection and if it works they are ok. This is a very bad idea for nearly every website.

    Learn to get a deep understanding of your customers and potential customers with focus on the customer’s “Jobs to be Done.”  Otherwise organizations find themelves creating solutions that work in test conditions but that don't work for their customers (or potential customers).

  • Stratify Data to Hone in on Special Causes of Problems

    One strategy to help identify special causes so they can be studied and addressed is to stratify your data.

    By stratifying the data you refine your view to make it easier to identify what is causing the problem. Instead of looking at all vehicles and seeking to find the cause they had stratified the data and learned they could exclude looking at most of the processes (those that don’t impact large vehicles). And they then sought to further refine the scope by stratifying the data to further isolate the scope of the investigation. As you refine the scope you can discover what is common just to the population you have isolated by stratifying the data.

  • Use FI/RE to Create a Better Life Not To Build a Nest Egg as Quickly as Possible

    Financial Independence/Retire Early (FI/RE) is about creating conditions that allow you to focus on what you value. Some people do focus too much on saving money quickly as though the goal is to save as much as quickly as possible. But that isn’t what FI/RE means. FI/RE doesn’t mean make yourself a slave to saving quickly in order to remove yourself from being a slave to a job until you are 65.

    To me what is most important about FI/RE is examining the choices you make and taking control of the decisions instead of just floating along as so many people do without considering the choices they make.

  • Why Do People Fail to Adopt Better Management Methods?

    It is confusing to know that better methods exist but to see those better methods being ignored.  It seems that if there were better ways to manage, people would adopt those methods.  But this just isn't the case; sometimes better methods will be adopted but often they won't.  People can be very attached to the way things have always been done.  Or they can just be uncomfortable with the prospect of trying something new.

  • Educate New Managers on Their New Responsibilities

    Far too often companies promote employees into management positions and expect them to fulfill the obligations of their new position without helping prepare them to meet their new responsibilities. People who excelled at doing their non-supervisory job often have little education or experience to succeed with their new responsibilities.

    Managing a software development team is a completely different job from being a great software developer. Most everyone would acknowledge that: but if you look at what actually happens in many organizations the management system is not setup with this fact in mind.

  • Bayon Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

    Bayon temple was built in the late 12th or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII.  The Bayon temple is well know for the many (216 actually) smiling faces adorning the temple.

  • Jobs to be Done

    If you see your job from the customer’s perspective you may change the scope of your offerings. You can add services that help the potential customer chose you. In the book, they explore the example mentioned in the article in more detail. They also discuss how an online university changed their processes to address the issues their potential customers faced in the “hiring” process. They changed, not the “product” (education), but the processes supporting potential students making the decision to hire Southern New Hampshire University.

  • Intrinsic Motivation and the Danger of Overgeneralization

    by creating systems that let people take pride in their work we take advantage of more of their potential and thus create more value

  • Cater to Customers Desires to Achieve Customer Delight

    Customer delight requires understanding your customers needs and desires. Often even your customers don’t understand these well. Businesses that have a deep appreciation for what their customers, and potential customers, desire and that create systems to deliver solutions that delight those customers benefit greatly from that effort.

    To build a sustainable enterprise you must provide value customers will appreciate.

    Your customers do not have one unified set of desires. Some customers may want as good an experience as is possible and if that costs substantially more they are happy to pay. Others want to pay the least possible while having an acceptable experience.