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  • “Our Problems Are Different” – Not Really

    It is very common for people to see their situation as special and so different that they can only learn about management from some situation identical to the one they face. But this is a misunderstanding of what learning about better management practices is about. It isn’t an effort to find practices to copy. It is an effort to learn about managing organizations made up of people so that you can apply those ideas to your specific situation.

  • Decades Later The USA Health Care System is Still a Deadly Disease for Our Economy

    Health care is extremely expensive everywhere. But in the USA the health care system is twice as costly as other rich countries. This is an enormous burden on the USA economy. Nothing else comes close to being as costly in terms of direct spending. And there a a great deal of other damage done that can’t be seen in just the 100% more the USA spends on health care than other rich countries spend. And the health outcomes are no better for the extra hundres of billions of dollars spent every year for health care in the USA.

    The costs of decades of failure are extrodinary.

  • Kuang Si Waterfalls, Laos

    The water has an amazing blue color that seems almost fake in photos but is really that color. The blue is due to dissolved copper.

    I think the falls are a wonderful side trip from Luang Prabang. The blue of the water is really amazing and it is a wonderful hike also.

  • 6 Questions to Ask Your Software Testers

    Making sure your software testing process is staying current with the best ideas in software testing is an important factor in creating great software solutions that your customers love. Often companies understand the need to stay current on software coding practices that are successful but fewer organizations pay attention to good practices in software testing. This often means there is a good deal to be gained by spending some time to examine and improve your software testing practices.

  • The Edge-case Excuse

    I have found “edge cases” to actually mean we don’t want to fix it. Often the issue isn’t needing some special code to deal with an “edge case” it is the coding was done poorly and breaks in many different “edge cases.” It isn’t that those edge cases need to be coded for. It is that the code should have been written in a robust way that didn’t break for lots of “edge cases” but the excuse given for not fixing the fundamental coding fragility is the bugs found are just “edge cases.”

  • Giving Executives 40% of Revenue is Insane

    I have previous written on my belief that excessive executive compensation had reached the level of a deadly disease of western management (building on the W. Edwards Deming’s list of 7 deadly diseases). I named excessive executive pay and a broken “intellectual property” system as new deadly diseases in 2007.

    Twitter has given executives $2,000,000,000 in just stock based compensation from 2011 through 2015. Twitter’s revenue for those 4 years was only $4,709,000,000. So Twitter gave executives 42.5% of revenue. This is of revenue, not earnings, Twitter isn’t even profitable.

  • 10 Questions to Ask When Designing Software Tests

    Too often software testing fails to emphasis the importance of experienced software testers using their brains, insight, experience and knowledge to make judgements about what is the best course of action. Hexawise is a wonderful tool to help software testers but the tool needs a smart and thoughtful person to wield it and produce the results we all want to see.

  • W. Edwards Deming and the Leander Way

    Often people will say Deming isn’t just the tools. That is certainly true. But using tools and data to make improvement efforts concrete is important. 

    As Deming said, best efforts are not enough, you have to know what to do. But he also said, “Best efforts are essential.” Tools are not enough: and like best efforts, using them without understanding the management system can do damage. But tools are also essential and Leander’s experience shows a long term effort to integrate quality improvement tools into the management system to achieve long term continual improvement.

  • Seek to Improve How You Learn, Don’t Just Accept That You Can’t Do Better

    Learning about how people learn and remember is important to allow you to communite well. And most people seem to understand this. But they also seem to have no shame in not improving their performance in relation to these common weaknesses...

    What I see is people spouting these statistics, not as a way of learning what they need to improve themselves but as a way of explaining that it is inevitable and they won’t do any better (or even bother to attempt to do so). It just isn’t true that you can’t do better. You can train yourself to learn more than most people when the material is presented in a less than perfect manner by learning how we commonly fail to learn and making efforts to do better yourself.

  • Institute Leadership

     

     

    The aim of leadership should be to improve the performance of man and machine, to improve quality, to increase output, and simultaneously to bring pride of workmanship to people. Put in a negative way, the aim of leadership is not merely to find and record failures of men, but to remove the causes of failure: to help people to do a better job with less effort.

    W. Edwards Deming

  • Library of Congress, Washington DC

    The Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington DC is one of the most ornate buildings in the city. It was opened in 1897.  It is a suprisingly interesting travel desination.

  • A TV That Doesn’t Spy on You?

    Most (all?) “smart”/spy TVs spy on you many different ways. Some even record what you say and save that information and send it over the internet. So often these days companies say we don’t do x or y only to later say that oh well we do… And even if they say you can opt out of being spied on if the device has the capability of spying on you relying on them to actually honor request not to be spied upon seems unwise.

    It seems much safer to just have monitors that display the content you requested be displayed and don’t have spying capabilities built in.

  • Luncheon of the Boating Party, Phillips Collection

    Inside of the Phillips Collection Museum in Washington DC with “Figure of the Oriental Theater,” by Paul Klee in the foreground and “Luncheon of the Boating Party” (1881) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir in the background.

  • How to Respond to a Request for Estimates on Software Development

    If they say they need some way of deciding if doing that work is wise or something that is going to be so difficult that it isn't worth it then some kind of estimate is sensible.  If they talk about scheduling, then other explanations make sense to me - talking about the issues with fixed estimates etc. but giving them alternatives of fixed schedule with variable features (if there is a business need to deliver on some date)., etc.

  • A Wise Way to Subsidize Electricity Rates

    When I lived in Malaysia I learned that the residential electricity rates were very low for the low levels of use and climbed fairly rapidly as you used a lot of electricity (say running your air conditioner a lot). I think this is a very good idea (especially for the not yet rich countries).

    Effectively the rich end up subsidizing the low rates for the poor, which is a very sensible setup it seems to me. The market functions fairly well even though it is distorted a bit to let the poor (or anyone that uses very little electricity) to pay low rates.

    In a country like Malaysia as people become rich they may well decide to use a great deal of electricity for air conditioning.