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Showing posts from March, 2019

Cash Money

I laughed out loud when I saw this sign on the merch stand of the  The Johnny Cash Roadshow  gig in Bury St Edmunds yesterday. At face value, it's straightforward, right? You can only pay with good, old-fashioned, money. But the Roadshow are a tribute act and so also play Cash only . Except they don't, they covered  Wildwood Flower  (June Carter) and Flowers on the Wall  (Statler Brothers). But those artists have strong connections to Johnny Cash so, yeah, still Cash only. Except the band also played an original song by Clive John, from the band. But it was a song he was asked to write, "in the style of Johnny Cash," so just about Cash only. Except that several of Clive's CDs, also containing original material, are available on the merch stand. But he's Johnny Cash in the band so perhaps still tenuously Cash only? Except nothing on the table is actually by Johnny Cash. [Repeat to fade.] I strongly believe that there's value, as a

Postcard CV

As a hiring manager it'll often be days between engagements with a candidate. I am not renowned for my memory but, even if I was, it'd be hard to remember all relevant details of all relevant candidates during a recruitment drive. Over the years I've developed a way of taking notes which I find helps me to cheaply review and keep track of what I think of a candidate and why, and which gives me the data I need at each stage. When we open recruitment for a new position I'll start a new directory and each applicant will get a text file in it as I read their CV. I use very simple markup to record my thoughts into the file and to put notes for myself to pick up when I come back. I have a handful of key requirements: I want my notes on each candidate to be in one place (for ease of consumption). I want my notes across candidates to be consistent (for ease of comparison and navigation). I want my notes to be put down in real time (for efficiency). Let's have

Everybody Flirts

Recently,  Sime  has been curating a reading list on complex systems for the Test team book club at Linguamatics . The last couple of papers we looked at were  Keeping It Too Simple  by Paul J. Feltovich, Robert R. Hoffman, David Woods, and Axel Roesler and  How Complex Systems Fail  by Richard Cook. Last week he suggested we stay with Cook but watch one of his talks, Resilience In Complex Adaptive Systems . The core concept from it is that systems operate in a space constrained by three boundaries: economic, effort, and performance. Crossing a boundary causes some kind of failure, and there are pressures to keep the system away from them. Typically for economic and effort boundaries, it's management pressure with an eye on the bottom line. For the performance boundary, it's common to have some kind of safety margin in place to provide a buffer against failure. Pressure to keep the system's operating point on the right side of the margin comes from experience o

Guilty Pleasure

In Episode 10 of The Guilty Tester podcast Dave Duke took questions from the Twitterverse . The first one was this: Think of a piece of work you’ve done recently, what did you actually do to test it and looking back, what surprised you? In his answer, Dave told a story about a recent series of bugs, his involvement in sharing knowledge about them, and how that prompted an unexpected fix. It's a nice story, but a different reading of the original question interests me too: how do we  test our own work? As he was asking for more questions, I suggested it to him, and he tweeted back : That's an interesting question. Back at you though. Do you test your own work differently to how you test others? Do you practice what you preach? Is it realistic to expect people to test their own work the same as they test others? Is there an advantage though. Juicy! I didn't want to spend loads of time trying to craft an answer into a sequence of 240-character soundbites but I lik

Questions or Suggestions

Coaching, training, mentoring, teaching and all the rest then, eh? What are the differences? When do they matter? I'm interested in that stuff, because I find theory useful to inform my practice . But as a practitioner I want to prioritise congruence with the situation over being constrained by a label. How can theory inform my practice? A book like The Coach's Casebook provides a set of scenarios, talks about possible coaching approaches to them, and reflects on a fictionalised coach's attempts to work through them. This provides me with knowledge of tools and areas of potential application. I can call on these when someone comes to me with a problem. (Which they do, often.) What I generally won't be doing at that point is trying to open a meta-discussion in which we negotiate whether we should try coaching or mentoring right now. At best this can be clunky and a distraction for  the person I'm trying to help. At worst it blocks the conversation and maybe