Learning and Product Development

By now, we should all understand the need for speed when it comes to product development, but not just any speed, it is the need for speed of learning.  This is one of the benefits of an agile approach, but this benefit is not restricted to a development methodology, unless of course, the development methodology precludes or runs contrary to fast learning cycles.

You might think that this learning is only associated with complicated or complex systems, perhaps categories of projects that we have no familiarity. It is true that learning is especially required when we are working on things we have little or no experience.  However, in product development, we can ill afford to believe we know things that are simply not true or follow unvetted assumptions.  For example, we can model and simulate, but neither of these are true parts.  If we do this methodically, we can certainly reduce the need for … Continue reading

Measurement effects and analysis on personnel and organizations

By:” Shawn P. Quigley

Whereas we have discussed some of the possible flaws in measurements we can all still agree that they are needed to provide both improvement in processes and the organization. However, other aspects of obtaining data for the production of quantifiable information: trend analysis and process evaluation, is the human factor both workers and management. As in so many of our conversations we look at the affect it has on the people who are essentially being evaluated by the information gathered for these measures. An issue we will discuss later in this post, but first let us look at the management aspect of this equation.

As a quality analysis person data may seem to be clear most of the time, but as a management person how do you gauge the data which is being received? Do you understand its’ meaning? Do you look at the outliers to forecast or do you think they are just noise to … Continue reading

Independent Test and Verification

We are composing a glossary of test terms and we take one from that work today and discuss here.

A development organization can be structured in many ways. The development and testing can be essentially one department under one management structure, or these two areas, development and test can be separated each with a respective hierarchy.  Like most things, there are benefits and drawbacks for each approach.  The trick is to map the biggest benefit to your organization, or reduce the negative effects on your organization.  All of this means the selection for organizational structure is likely not best left to an arbitrary decision.


I am sure we see the obvious benefit of having the test personnel integrated with the development staff.  Those who have been in development for awhile no doubt understand the communications challenges that can come with separating groups when interaction between those groups is paramount for project success.  So, the benefit of these two disciplines … Continue reading

Reducing Cost – Homegrown Way.

To really find the areas for cost improvement we must let go of our mental impediments to uncovering these opportunities. It is very probable that there are plenty of cost improvement possibilities. However, in our daily work execution we may not find the time to free our minds to consider these possibilities. A brainstorming exercise can go far to fuel the imagination, to open a “space” to think laterally at what may be possible. We have successfully employed this technique to: Continue reading

I know, let’s use the outlier as a baseline

You will find this very difficult to believe, but I recently had a discussion with a person working at another company. This person is responsible for the statistical analysis of the work that other parts of the organization is to perform.  Those looking for the information come to this person to make some sense out of the historical record.

In the recent history of the work, there was an event, in which hour estimates were made for the work, in the middle of the work, it became necessary to close the work up as best possible and stop since a hurricane was in bound.  It was not possible to keep the project going given this storm so the work is prematurely closed out best possible to allow all to reach safety.  Those on the team know this antecedent event and the subsequent consequences to the effectivity work.

Given the knowledge that this last point is an outlier, and we know the … Continue reading

Team Player

There is considerable writing on creating and being a team player. There is much more to this than platitudes and poetic prose.  Some time’s the saying team player is preceded by saying you are not being a – team player.  One should especially fear this admonishment or condemnation.  It may not mean you are in fact, not a team player, but a ruse for manipulation by a person with interest in the outcome, sort of coercion through soft name calling, and appealing to your inner team spirit.

How many of us DO NOT want to be team players? Personally, while I do both solo and team type work, I would not want to be considered not a team player by the team in which I am a part.  I once ha a job in testing and was asked to alter the testing results, specifically, close fault reports prematurely before any evidence of corrective action has taken place.  I presented my … Continue reading

Top 27 Company Culture Ideas from the Pros

Fit Small Business posting on Top 27 Company Culture Ideas from the Pros.  Check out our contribution.

The manager must demonstrate what is the epitome of the expected culture. It helps to be egalitarian regarding power in the organization. Your job title should not dampen the discussion or the ideas from the team. I have had employees talk back to me, never name calling, but assertive and you have to be able to listen to those moments. It is not productive to have your employees suppress their emotional reaction to a crappy situation. Better still, go to that emotional spot with them, give them the space to quickly call the situation for what it is, and then quickly bring the discussion back to solving the problem.


Read the key points here:”

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