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Showing posts from September, 2014

Don't Count on It

Spoiler alert: there is no happy ending here. Often a blog post or article will talk about some inspiration gained from outside of testing which was applied successfully to the author's testing and yielded useful results. Those are great posts to read  ... but this isn't one of them. This one starts with inspiration from outside of testing followed by research, discussion, criticism and thought experiment but ultimately no application. The yield here is the documentation of all of that. Hopefully it's useful and still a good read. What was the inspiration? I've long had the notion - sadly dormant and largely sidelined - that I'd like to look into the use of statistics in testing. (One of my earliest posts here was on entropy .) As testers we talk a lot about such things as the scientific method and about data, about running experiments, about crafting experiments such that they generate usable and valuable data, about making decisions on where to test next

Read it and Weep

Extracts from How Complex Systems Fail   by Richard I. Cook: [it is] impossible for [complex systems] to run without multiple flaws being present. Because these are individually insufficient to cause failure they are regarded as minor factors during operations ...  complex systems run as broken systems.  Organizations are ambiguous ... [and that] ambiguity is resolved by actions of practitioners at the sharp end of the system. Safety is an emergent property of systems ...  continuous systemic change insures that hazard and its management are constantly changing. ... all practitioner actions are actually gambles, that is, acts that take place in the face of uncertain outcomes ... after accidents ... post hoc analysis regards these gambles as poor ones. But ... successful outcomes are also the result of gambles ... Image:

But What do I Know?

The novelty of hypertext  over traditional text is the direct linking of references. This allows the reader to navigate immediately from one text to another, or to another part of the same text, or expose more detail of some aspect of that text in place. This kind of hyperlinking is now ubiquitous through the World Wide Web and most of us don't give it a second thought. I was looking up hypermedia  for the blog post I wanted to write today when I discovered that there's another meaning of the term hypertext  in the study of semiotics and, further, that the term has a counterpart, hypotext . Thse two are defined in relation to one another, credited to GĂ©rard Genette : "Hypertextuality refers to any relationship uniting a text B (which I shall call the hypertext) to an earlier text A (I shall, of course, call it the hypotext), upon which it is grafted in a manner that is not that of commentary." In a somewhat meta diversion, following a path through the pages d

The Sixty Second Team

One of my team recommended The One Minute Manager to me in a recent 1-1. It's a slim book, not exactly a one-minute read but not far off. It takes the form of a parable about a man in search of effective management who encounters the One Minute Manager and his staff and learns essentially this: set clear goals and monitor progress towards them provide clear and timely feedback There are, of course, homilies along the way, including "We are not just our behaviour. We are the person managing our behaviour." and "The best minute I spend is the one I invest in people."  and the writing, not unlike the similarly-structured Quality is Free , can be cloyingly, clunkily patronising at times. Even so, the core lessons are sound enough and it does no harm for a manager to be reminded of them. But the aspect of the book that I find most appealing is that the One Minute Manager's team members use the same techniques on, for and by themselves and are encouraged