Quality requires more than Fix Your Own Sandbox

Recent events have prompted us to preempt our CMMI requirements management series for this waste of company resources that we can only attribute to an overly politicized work environment and fear.  The downside of functional or siloed organizations is demonstrated in the sentiment “fix your own sandbox”.

Complications of the Organization

In general, the work of our organization is not getting less complicated.  For an organization to be operating at peak capability and delivering a quality product or service, may require numerous exchanges between a variety of departments (at least if you are functionally structured) and people.

Fix Your Own Sandbox (Quality)

I have heard, at least once from managers regarding quality and process improvement, that we should focus on our own part of the sandbox and fix only those things that are directly under our control.  That is all well and good, perhaps, when the quality concern or dysfunction is within our department only.  However, what if the problems … Continue reading

Career Ladder

Career Ladder

I am re-reading my copy of Paid to Think by David Goldsmith and I find myself surprised that I missed a late section titled Transparent Career Ladder[1].

 Just as important as the actual career ladder itself is leaders’ and staffers’ knowledge if we of how it works.  A good career ladder allows people to advance their careers at the wrong place.  It must be a vehicle that delivers reliable rewards, they can only do that if you build it without the all too often subjective and auditory benchmarks that gives some career ladders a bad name.  To truly empower people, you must create a mechanism that goes beyond offering the promise of hope; it must guarantee outcomes.  The sport’s coach tells his team of athletes that if they work hard, they’ll play in Saturday’s game.  In the use of many athletes in message rings, “Hard work equals playing time”.  In this scenario, some … Continue reading

Introduction to Product Testing (including software)

We have created an online introduction to product testing course. The course is free, and highly interactive. It consists of ten modules on topics listed below with some of the attributes per module.   

   1.)  Stakeholders and Sponsors   2.) Scope and Requirements   3.) Configuration Management and Testing   4.)  Static Testing Techniques   5.)  Dynamic Testing Techniques   6.) Approaches to testing   7.) The special case of regression and retest   8.) Evaluation   9.) Putting it together with TIEMPO  10.) Test Management

There are movies, and flip through slides, podcasts, and many and assorted quizzes associated with each topic. 

The first five of those modules are available for access now.  Go to the Value Transformation LLC training portion of the site at: 

 https://valuetransform.com/training/login/index.php

Register now by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.  

Lessons Learned, the Lifeblood of a Learning Organization

Why Lessons Learned are vital to the long-term vitality of organizations

To best discuss any topic, we must first establish a common foundation from which to build. Let’s start by defining some key terms:

1. Lesson: an activity that is done in order to learn something; also: something is taught, a single class or part of a course of instruction, something learned through experience. (Merriam-Webster (Lesson))

2. Learn: to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience, to come to be able, to come to realize. (Merriam-Webster (Learn))

Learning and Testing

Learning within organizations involves the continuous testing of experiences, and the transformation of that experience into knowledge – accessible to the whole organization, and relevant to its core purpose. (Senge, Kleiner, Roberts, Ross, & Smith, 1994)(pg. 49)

The purpose of something as trivial as the defining of the words lesson and learn allows gaining the insight that every activity undertaken within a project is … Continue reading

Talent Planning and Growth and The Organization

Talent Planning and Project Management

In many cases, succession planning only identifies individuals that are to replace existing individuals as they move up the ladder or out of the organization. This process is a “matter of fact” and does not include major planning for the individual to replace, but more like a placeholder. Grooming of the individual is either not provided, or at best, of a routine type nature.

In an era in which corporations are touting their greatest assets are their people, is it not important to have a good idea of those assets capability and plan skill acquisition accordingly?  Companies typically expend a great deal of effort in monitoring, and making the maximum use of the other hard assets such as machinery and the like.

If the human resources are truly the key to a company’s success, as it can be, then why is relative little effort spent on cultivating, cataloging and capitalizing on the human resource capability.

Continuous Professional Education

LinkedIn Education Post

Reading a Linkedin post from Michael Milutis on continuous education made me stop briefly and consider how I got where I am today.

Career

My professional “career” has been as varied as it has been bumpy.  I have been employed in fast food restaurant and with a moving company the first few years after high school.  I finally figured out I wanted to be an engineer and went back to school.  My focus at university was electronics but I really enjoyed the diversity of hardware and software applications that micro-controllers offer.

To that end my post college career started out at a small product development and manufacturing firm designing and manufacturing industrial control products (not PLC machines).  I was the “embedded hardware and software” guy.  There was only one other electrical engineer and he was not involved with embedded systems.  Specifically we designed products with micro-controllers (Intel, MicroChip, and Motorola) at the core. … Continue reading

Secure the Team Talent Your Project Requires

Project Manager and Talent

A project’s success ultimately is with the talent of the team and the project manager.  There are more team members, only one project manager, and the team carries the bulk of the work even if the project manager is responsible.  The composition of the team is the very important.  Talent constraints are very real; many companies have gone through “right-sizing” many times and are operating with lean resources.  Successfully fighting for the appropriate talent on behalf of the project is fundamental to project success.  We are not only talking about the appropriate skill set but also in the correct proportion or amount.  That does not mean large amount of multitasking on key personnel and that does not mean booking that key talent greater than 80% capacity without considering the consequences.

Talent Availability does Not Always Mean Available

Chances for success are not improved just because you are informed the talent is available to you.  In … Continue reading

Organizational Learning – Team and Management

Organizational Learning Differences for the Team and Management (Mental Models)

By Shawn P. Quigley

In a previous post, we discussed the five principles behind Organizational Learning (L.O.). In this post, we will discuss how the different levels of an organization view the principles and why these different views make it difficult to obtain a learning organization. We will divide an organization into two levels; worker and management. As we have previously discussed perception does not change reality, but it does change how we respond to it. With that, lets’ begin our discussion.

Mental Models

Mental model or as we have previously called it the open mental model is the topic for this discussion. As we have previously stated an open mental model is the action of continually clarifying and improving upon our perspective of a situation or environment. This requires that we listen to the positive and negative perspectives of others and weigh how those perspectives can applied to clarify or … Continue reading

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