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Showing posts from July, 2019

Hey Little Hen

How about if it wasn't Venn diagram, but instead it was a  When diagram? Would we know when things were going to get done if we had one of them? I'm sure I'm not the first person to make that phonetic connection, but perhaps I'm the first who has  sufficiently little shame to mention it publicly on Twitter : If I asked you to produce a "When diagram" for the project you're running, what would you think I was after? What kind of picture/chart/diagram would you draw for me? A handful of kind folk responded, each with something different: @joelmonte : When, in the project perspective, sounds like a milestones diagram.  It can be interconnected, and showing the dependencies of events...  But this is only my sunday-morning-wild-guess.  Do we also have "Why", "How" and most importantly "Who is to blame" diagrams? @always_fearful : Gant chart @hairyhatfield : A venn diagram with sets 'sooner'  'l

Ideas and Learning

The Cambridge Tester Meetup last night had talks from Jamie Doyle and Samuel Lewis. I took the opportunity to practice my sketchnoting again. Jamie is a business owner and an ex-tester and test manager. He described how, despite his background in testing, he has still kicked off product development based on sketchy 3am "great ideas" in teams without any testers. Having lost some money building the wrong thing, he's now an advocate of shifting testing left . He recommended that the C-level get testers in to provide risk assessments of ideas before they're committed-to, and that testers look to make contacts on that side of the business and get themselves in a position to be asked to help. He also shared some of the approaches and questions he used redoing the problematic project with a friendly tester from the bottom up. Interestingly for me, this exercise sounded like the kind of thing a business analyst might do. I see a lot of crossover between the test

I Guess

  I really enjoyed providing pre-production comments on Rich Rogers' book on quality, Changing Times ,  so when the opportunity to do the same for George Dinwiddie came up recently, I took it. Why? Oh, a handful of reasons, including: I'm here for the testing and reviewing feels a lot like testing. (My definition of testing : the pursuit of relevant incongruity.) There's the interesting intellectual challenge of finding a way to provide the kind of review being requested effectively and efficiently. There's the interesting social challenge of delivering my thoughts in a way that conveys them respectfully, despite sometimes being critical. George's book is called Software Estimation Without Guessing and I knew up front that there would be two rounds of review for it. The first was on a version with a couple of chapters still to be written, the second with all content present but further editing still required. The publisher, The Pragmatic Bookshelf , p

We Need Both Exploratory and Confirmatory

Skimming a recent issue of Significance , the journal of the Royal Statistical Society, I saw a reference to a paper called We Need Both Exploratory and Confirmatory by John Tukey, published in the 1980 in The American Statistician. I hunted it down and found much that felt familiar. Here's a few quotes: Exploratory data analysis is an attitude, a flexibility, and a reliance on display, NOT a bundle of techniques, and should be so taught. Confirmatory data analysis, by contrast, is easier to teach and easier to computerize. ... to implement the confirmatory paradigm properly we need to do a lot of exploratory work. Neither exploratory nor confirmatory is sufficient alone. To try to replace either by the other is madness. We need them both Science DOES NOT BEGIN WITH A TIDY QUESTION. Nor does it end with a tidy answer. No catalogue of techniques can convey a willingness to look for what can be seen, whether or not anticipated. Yet this is at the heart of exploratory d

Here's Lookin' at You

A few months ago, in Postcard CV , I wrote about some of the ways I've adapted my note-taking techniques  for interviewing. Although I did this largely for my own benefit, I like to think there is a positive effect for candidates too: I can be more in the moment with them if I'm not thinking about how I take my notes, I am motivated to invest in re-reading before I speak to them on subsequent occasions because I'm confident that the notes are in reasonable order, and I can re-engage with the candidate on topics we've covered, or threads that we didn't pick up in earlier conversations. My fieldstones for Postcard CV included things that I do verbally during interviews to try to help to put the candidate at ease, to signpost different phases of the interview, and to give an idea of what is and isn't expected of them. When I started writing that post, it became clear that it was the material on notes that wanted to come out and so I left the rest aside. I