- Greg Paciga talks about demoing things that aren’t done – or that don’t work. He’s right – but what’s weird is the heat he took for saying that on twitter
- Mike Cohn (of the automation pyramid fame) asks Three Questions to Determine if Your Organization is Agile
- Yet another really nice article from Jeff Nyman on hiring testing specialists
- I’m obligated to call out posts that mention Modern Testing – especially when they’re written by Lisa Crispin
- Form your own opinion: A bot disguised as a human software developer fixes bugs
I’m preparing for some meetings with some colleagues in Europe next week and I’m a little frazzled. But this is what my frazzled brain liked this week.
- I’ve been thinking / talking a lot about culture recently. This quote from Radical Candor (which I just read for the third time) seemed relevant.
“The most amazing thing about a culture is that once it’s strong, it’s self-replicating.
- I guess everyone doesn’t know that Do Not Track doesn’t necessarily do what you think it does.
- Nice advice here on leading with empathy and kindness.
- I liked (and agreed) with this article stating that being busy isn’t necessarily the right thing for leaders. I’m going to read it again right now.
- And finally, we lost Paul Allen this week, and Bill Gates had a few really nice words to share about his relationship with Paul.
Another Friday, another week with cool things to share.
- I’m happily working through Steven Johnson’s newest book, Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most. I’m a massive Steven Johnson fan, and this book is stories and insights about decision making – but not quick decisions like in Blink (Gladwell) or Decisive (Heath bros). This book is about making big, complex, messy decisions.
And I’m loving it.
- Angela Riggs has this article on creating a quality culture that I liked.
- And another great article from Melissa Eaden on Subcutaneous Testing.
- I keep forgetting that Google Plus even exists. I was reminded this week they exist by their plans to shut down.
- Last thing for the list this week is this article from Jim Benson on why Open Offices are Not the Problem (I fully agree with Jim’s rant).
Here are a few (five, actually) things I saw this week and liked.
- This quote from Jim Whitehurst is good leadership advice. “People working in today’s information-rich, dynamic contexts don’t need leaders who think they know everything about prescribing the “best” paths forward. They need leaders who help them sit more comfortably (and sleep more soundly) in a more ambiguous world. “
- Not sure how to start on your mountain of technical debt? Start with this article on When is the time to pay technical debt?
- The Chairman of Nokia on Ensuring Every Employee Has a Basic Understanding of Machine Learning — Including Him
- Not sure how you could have missed it, but if you did, read up on the tiny chip hack.
- And finally – a game I think I have to buy (actually, I just did). Dungeons, Dudes, Dames, Danger, Dice and Dragons! Play the game where you play the role of a player playing a role-playing game!
Here are a few of the things I found interesting this week.
- I thought this article about “hacking” British Airways was sort of interesting – but mainly that they glossed over the real hack – “It is likely that the hackers had access to the BA.com site, and modified the code to insert a backdoor.”
Read and make your own judgement.
- Camille Fournier (author of the wonderful book, The Managers Path posted this article on engineering productivity.
- Ben Kelly says, You probably need fewer testers than you think (and he’s probably right)
- Saw this on twitter from Cassie Kozyrkov on Speaking at conferences. It’s really good (especially compared to the usual posts on this topic)
- Finally, I tweeted about this, but it’s worth calling out here too.
Well, @alanpage and I had a wonderful chat, and I had a lot of conversations with the awesome folks at @unity3d and I am very happy to announce that I have accepted the Tech Lead position at @unity3d in Austin, TX. I’m extremely excited and hopeful for this opportunity.— MelTheTester (@melthetester) September 28, 2018
I had this weird empty feeling all afternoon, and it just hit me. I (almost) forgot to post my five interesting finds from the week.
- Steve Blank wonders if a company can succeed using the antithesis of the lean startup.
- I’ve talked about the big list of naughty strings here before. Now, there’s a node library to access naughty strings programmatically.
- Someone on the One Of The Three slack team posted a link to The Small Book of The Few Big Rules – OutSystems Culture Book, and I liked it a lot.
- Quality Logic has an interview with Melissa Eaden with a great discussion of the “T word” (Technical)
- Finally, you know Machine Learning is mainstream when there’s research on Using Machine Learning to Analyze Taylor Swift’s Lyrics
Here’s stuff I found interesting. Some of it published recently – some is not.
- I posted earlier this week about painful observations of “stand-ups” turning into horrible status sentences. Seth Eliot pointed me to this great post by Henrik Kniberg that covers my peeve better than I did.
- I’ve been reading Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. I’ll avoid personal feelings and just say that it’s well-written, and I’m enjoying it.
- I loved The Children’s Guide to Kubernetes. Heck – even I can understand it.
- I frequently (consistently?) state that a retrospective is the single most important meeting your team can have. While this article (4 Reasons Why Your Scrum Sprint Review Isn’t Effective) focuses on the scrum sprint review ritual, the concepts apply to any retro.
- Continuous Testing for Devops Professionals is out. I’ve read 90% of it (I was fortunate enough to be a reviewer), and think it’s pretty good.
Status meetings are boring. More importantly, status meetings are unneeded. Meetings are for discussion, and updates on status rarely require that (until, of course, they do). Nothing – nothing is more painful than sitting through a meeting where people go around the table and say, “Today, I’m doing X”.
Hopefully nothing alarming so far.
A lot of teams have adopted Scrum for project management. One of the rituals of Scrum is the daily stand-up where traditionally, 3 questions are asked:
1) What did you do yesterday?
2) What are you doing today?
3) What is blocking you?
And a lot of times during the stand-up meeting, most people say something like, “Yesterday, I worked on the fizz filter. Today, I’m working on the fizz filter. Nothing is blocking me.”
And then the next day at stand-up, they say, “Yesterday, I worked on the fizz filter. Today, I’m working on the fizz filter. Nothing is blocking me.”
Eventually, since the answers to questions 1 and 3 never change, standup information is “optimized” to something like this:
“Today, I’m working on the fizz filter.”
…and this repeats until they’re (eventually) done with the fizz filter.
Something is wrong, right?
Somewhere in the rituals of scrum or agile, teams who operate like this lost the importance of communication and collaboration – they go through the motions of “agile”, but fail to get the immense value that’s easily within their grasp.
If you’re tied to the canonical three questions of scrum, then at the very least you owe it to your team to improve the way in which you communicate your status. Discuss details; include something you learned (maybe you were blocked, but figured it out); think about how other team members may be able to help you. You can also make a big dent in the scrum-as-status-reporting problem if you break your work items into things that can generally be done in a day or less.
“Yesterday, I worked on the database connection for the fizz filter. I had a challenge getting the ODBC connection set up, but Janet gave me some tips and I got the problem solved. Today, I’m going to write a test suite for the fizz filter database connection. I may need some help learning the new test runner, but other than that, I should be good to go”
If you want to go further, Brent Jensen taught me a question that I now use to drive any project management meeting I’m in. This came up while discussion managing a team using kanban (which I believe, when used correctly, far exceeds scrum as a project management framework), have task owners answer one question:
“What needs to be done to move this task to the next column?“
The question is automatically contextualized by the kanban column containing the task. Answering the question reveals questions, dependencies…and even status.
The question from Brent is wonderful, but the the main point here is that your status messages (barf) or status meetings (double-barf) aren’t helpful for you, your team, your software – and ultimately, your customers. The great news is that it’s easy to do better.
What needs to be done to move this task to the next column for your team?
Friday snuck up on me, but the interesting links and thoughts kept coming. I hope you find something of interest here.
- I’ve been re-reading (re-re-reading?) Radical Candor, and this line poked me enough to write down. If you’re a people manager – or even if you just value relationships, it’s something to keep in mind.
“Make sure that you are seeing each person on your team with fresh eyes every day. People evolve, and so your relationships must evolve with them. Care personally; don’t put people in boxes and leave them there.”
- There are some hints of Modern Testing in this article by JP Lambert on why there are so few agile testers.
- I liked (mostly) this article from Jason Wong on followership.
- I’ve been talking about technical debt with a lot folks on my teams at Unity, and then Trish Khoo posts this great article on a Technical Debt Playment Plan.
- I just finished binge-watching Halt and Catch Fire. It’s a nice dramatization of the rise of the PC, online communities, and the internet, but the story and acting are really, really good. Chuck it in your queue on Netflix and give it a shot.
- I’ve referred to Pat Lencioni a lot here – but this quote from The Advantage has been high on my radar this week:
“The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it.”
- I enjoyed this article – A practical guide to becoming a terrible manager.
- …and also this article (or collection of ideas) on how to define high quality code.
- This is a really good article on strategy – including this painfully accurate opening line – “The root of most strategy challenges is simple–too many managers don’t know what strategy is”.
- Finally – one of my heroes retired from professional soccer this week. Thanks for everything, Clint.