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Agile for the Rest of the Organization


Agile beyond product development

I have recently had another wonderful discussion with John Cutler on agile beyond the actual product development work of the organization.  This may seem trivial on the surface, but the reality is the company or organizations is only as fast as the slowest element.  Imagine the finances for the endeavor are not secured in a timely manner, delaying the start of the development work, as a small example.

Some company’s separate the qualifying of the technology away from the development group using a group that may be referred to as Advanced Technology, at least that is my experience in some larger automotive companies.  This group will work with the technology, understanding it and helping to bring it maturity including the broad strokes of how the technology will be employed.  This time to understand the technology reduces the risk to subsequent product development work.  However, this approach does bring other risks to the organization.  For … Continue reading


Off Topic – A note to a son.


You are in college now, and you see people that are likely smart as far as youth will provide.  Everybody can have strong “opinions” and perhaps their track record in high school has been one of success after success or being the person known to be knowledgeable – as far as high school topics go.  University work is much different as I am sure you know.

I have been ruminating about engineers and what I think makes a good one. It is not the know it all’s – and many people besides engineers fall into that category (have this malady). People are so certain of what they know to be true, but is likely not at all true, or only true for a very finite or specific situation.  Engineering is as much about creativity as science.  It is about devising experiments for those situations in which it is not so easy to understand or calculate due to complexity, or wide … Continue reading


Behavior and Engagement Extinction


Behavioral Extinction

By: Shawn P Quigley and Jon M Quigley

Extinction

The Dodo, the Tasmanian Tiger and the Carolina Parakeet are extinct.  Extinction; however, does not just apply to animals but can be applied to behavior as well.  In the case of behavioral extinction we will be discussing things and/or actions that make motivation and positive employee behavior extinct.

A scary study on engagement

Before we go much further down this road, we should consider the information provided by the Gallup poll on employee engagement.  Those that are engaged in their work: in the United States, is approximately 30% according to the 2013 Gallup Poll. Globally, that number is much less; about 15%.  If that sounds bad to you, you have not heard the worst of it. In addition to (on average) a small percentage of our workforce being engaged, there are two other categories. The next category is for those people who are “Not Engaged”. This section of the … Continue reading


Testing – End-To-End


There have been some twitter discussions going on about the validity of the term end-to-end (E2E) testing. I have been around this concept for many years and still see the validity in the term and the approach. To that end, I will describe as quick and briefly as I can since this is a blog post and not a book.

The various devices being developed (Device Under Test)

Vehicles are comprised of a myriad of subsystems. In this case we are going to look at the vehicle electrical / electronic architecture that consists of embedded electronic control units (ECU). These are component such as:

Instrument cluster Engine ECU Transmission ECU Antilocking Brakes System (ECU) Door control modules Telemetry systems

Each of these consists of many analog and digital inputs and outputs, along with data link communications. Each have specific expectations under certain conditions and the developers will work to deliver these algorithms and software that will ensure the system works … Continue reading


The Process vs. The Product


I read the article Product Beats the Process and  felt compelled to respond

Product Beats Process

The author, Jeff Morris Jr. is right, the populous or customers at large probably do not care about how we arrived at the product. They do not care about the process. They do not care about the creative problem solving that went into bringing the product to life.  They do not care about specific Jira or defect report tickets.  They do not care about long hours, personality clashes, and design trade off curves.  However, I disagree when the author says they only care about how it feels in their hands and nothing else.  This disagreement is not based upon some statistical analysis so, perhaps he is correct. It is however, based upon my personal priorities and experience, and I find it difficult to believe that I am a singularity.

What matters is that we build products that make customers smile and realize … Continue reading


Hiring and Safety


Hiring and Safety

Now, I know that title, Hiring and Safety, probably sounds like this is going to be a work place safety post, but no, that is not what this is. I have been in twitter conversations with John Cutler (@johncuttlefish) about providing a psychologically safe place for employees. A place where the work can get done, exploration of alternatives is possible with as few adverse restrictions as possible to facilitate creativity. I have also had discussions with Tom Cagley on motivation and organization change, and those conversations both real and virtual, have generated this rumination.

Why would this be important? Modern work life and product development in particular has gotten increasingly complex and complicated. One way to meet this complexity is to unencumber your team and unleash their intellectual and creative capabilities.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. ~ Albert Einstein1 (1)

Organizations, … Continue reading


WBS and Project Budgets


Recently, I was in a conversation with a project manager whose organization had just made a radical alteration to their manner of handling work breakdown structure. There is a connection between the work breakdown structure and the financial tracking for the project. Ideally, there is an immediate connection between the WBS and the expenditures for the individual WBS element.

We have written about the WBS and demonstrated the use of tools such as WBS Planner in past blog posts. We demonstrated how the WBS is the breakdown of the activities for a portion and ultimately for the entire project – at least by the phase in the life cycle.

However, that is not end of the usefulness of the WBS.  Besides being able to assign specific individuals for specific activities as the WBS identifies, this breakdown facilitates estimating activities as well.  Having the person responsible for the work to be involved in the estimating process helps with … Continue reading


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