By Jon M. Quigley
I saw a LinkedIn post yesterday about scope of testing during times of compressed schedule. The position was to test what is new in the software, and of that new, what is the most important, perhaps meaning what if it goes wrong, would be the worst for the client or customer. Generally this is probably a good idea. However, there are some drawbacks to this approach. This means no regression testing. Regression testing is testing of the old software features when we add new software features to the product.
Testing as above, is predicated on the belief that those things that we have changed or added, have no implication or impact on those features and functions that were already in place prior to this last iteration of the software. That may not be true. If we make changes to some software module that is used by other functions, we may miss testing a change in … Continue reading
Go to the place where the work is performed, that is the Gemba walk. This does not apply just to manufacturing, but also line managers and their respective departments as well as to project management. You want to know what is going on, what could be better, go unto the work space and watch and talk with the people doing the work.
Where the work is performed, depends upon the work. For example, if you are the manager of a product testing department, the place where the work is performed is likely the lab, Go where the Hardware In the Loop (HIL) rigs and see how things are going, go to the test rooms where the environmental (hot and cold) and other stimuli (vibration) are administered to the product. Learn how this work is actually being done. Ask questions about how the work is going. What sort of things are difficult and why? What can we do to make the … Continue reading
How do new ideas occur to us? What is the secret mixture that enables this spark that creates something new? I have long wondered this, including when watching my son build things that I found interesting, and with no clear sign of what of the source of that idea that became reality. I saw him build things with Lego blocks, and I watched him build things at an online game called Roblox. In both instances it made me think, what is the source?
The same is true for my own life, especially my work life. I have been part of groups that have produced 7 US patents and other intellectual property. Each time was so different it is difficult to discern an underlying theme that made this creation possible or at least facilitated. What can be said in each instance to varying degrees, is there was a perceived difficulty or problem, some desired end state that was presently not … Continue reading
The unevenness or mura of the work wreak havoc on our work. Project demands fluctuate and working on multiple projects likewise creates or exacerbates the unevenness. In product development work can get heavy around gate reviews as the project must accomplish certain expectations and milestones are reviewed in the gate activities. One functional department may not be at capacity, but anther may be running beyond capacity. The arrival of the work from one department stacks up as input to the next department. This then creates muda as we have waste in the form of over production. All of this unevenness has impact on schedule and the people performing the work, and sometimes specialized equipment as the demand fluctuates wildly.
Material that our development team will use may also be subjected to this unevenness, think prototype parts, upon which we will test and learn about the product for the next iteration of the development loop. When lead times are long, we may … Continue reading
Do you know how to start a fire? I am not talking about charcoal briquettes, or the use of combustion material such as lighter fluid, gasoline, or those special wax products that can be used in your fireplace, no propane or gas used either.
I’m talking about the fires we make in the woods when we go camping. It is okay if you do not know how, in fact my life as had quite a few times when my boy scout experiences have been a benefit to more than my family or those with whom I am camping. My son and I have made many campfires for cooking out or roasting marsh mellows. Before this, I had camped out without a tent and used the fire for warmth (and to keep away the vermin while we slept). We have started fires when the material may be damp, but that is not to suggest that it is easy to start a fire … Continue reading
In preparation for our trip to Eindhoven University of Technology to lecture on Configuration Management, we provide a brief excerpt on the evolution of the horseless cariage.
Traditionally new market segments open due to the need to solve a problem. Such problems may be real as in the case of the environmental crisis solved by the automobile or the need may be concocted. New markets and products are rarely developed through the inspiration of a single individual. The automotive market came about through a synergy of the existing body of knowledge and other environmental conditions both in the marketplace and in the nature.
One topic of discussion at the world’s first international urban planning conference in 1898 was the growing health concerns due to horse excretions and the creatures that accompanied them. As the primary means of locomotion for wagons and other forms of transport, horse populations exceeded human population in cities.*
Manufacturers of “horseless carriages” using steam, electric, … Continue reading
Career; of Motorcycles and Trucks
This blog continues from my last post describing the first part of my career. We continue with the tire pressure monitoring system. In those days, and for many years before that, my preferred form of transport was motorcycle. I had an accident a few years before taking this job that broke some bones in my wrist (not my first nor last set of broken bones), in fact I got the bike fixed and was riding it through the winter with my right hand in a cast, and with multiple socks on to keep my hand warm. I should mention that my preferred transportation was motorcycle, at least in part, because it was my only source of transportation. Eventually, my fourth job before my professional career started, the manager of the U-Haul at which I worked during my undergraduate education came across a wonderful, and old, Toyota station wagon complete with the fake wood siding, … Continue reading
I have been very fortunate in my career, and that really means very lucky. Upon graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, I had two job offers after sending my resume to more than 100 companies. That is not a very good yield, but it would be good enough. I selected the smaller company, but I selected that company because they created new things. The company I started at developed embedded industrial control systems. It also turns out the people with which I would be fortunate enough to work, were very friendly, and as I would say, were a hoot to be around. Some of my other blog posts describes shenanigans. To this day we still have secret words, that mean something to us but nothing to anybody else (R4).
What drives me
My interest or objective has never been one thing when it comes to product development. In the beginning, I was interested in … Continue reading
Value, Scope and Change Requests
Change requests are part of any development project. Change requests are sometimes necessary as we learn by building and doing the work. In my experience, change requests often are born from requirements we thought we understood, only to learn by working with the product or system that we really did not have enough understanding to be able to record this in the form of specifications. We think we are making things better when we spend an abundance of time documenting the requirements, at least those requirements about which there is uncertainty. That is not to say this is not a worthwhile endeavor, we have been in product development long enough to know there are downsides to delivering a product that has no associated documentation. The testing and manufacturing portions of the work will make use of these requirements documentation and the errant or lack of documentation makes the work of these areas and more difficult … Continue reading
Business is predicated on providing value to the customer, but it does not end there. The business itself needs to see value in the work, so this is really a value chain that is only as strong as the weakest link. If the value to the customer is too low or not existing, no customers will purchase the product. If the value to the business from the product is too low, there will be no investment
What is value
Value is the difference between the utility received and the cost for things.
Value = Utility – Cost
Value = Benefit – Cost
The utility may be customer dependent, but this must be understood, as this will drive the subsequent work. Not knowing what the customer values, clouds how we approach the work. We will write more about the conundrum later. It suffices to say no value to the customer means no value to the business, … Continue reading