How To Be An Anti-Apathetic

Of all the events that have happened so far in 2020, the biggest for me is the blatant apathy for racism & this statement includes me.

I was “aware” of racism, both here in the UK & US, but I had little inkling as to how pervasive it was.

This is my fault. I hadn’t been looking for it, so I unsurprisingly, I didn’t find it.

But it did find me & it has forced me to not only take notice, but also take action.

This post is about me admitting I should have done more sooner to be a better human & the steps I’m taking to rectify that.

Prominent reminder to do something

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Removing harmful language from my lexicon

The recent Black Lives Matter movement being thrust into the foreground by the death of George Floyd has caused me to reflect on my thoughts & behaviours around race.

How can I use my privilege as a white middle-aged man to tackle systemic racism?

Something within my gift to change is my language. Words matter as words are powerful.

Changing my language is part of a bigger plan to more actively call out racism & sexism where I see it.

This post is about how I am changing my language to be less harmful, not only to race, but also sex & patriarchy.

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Food Shopping During Covid – A Lesson in Batch Size Optimisation

I use Don Reinertsen’s ideas around batch size optimisation to help development teams shorten their lead times & increase throughput.

Sometimes the examples of transaction costs & holding costs I use are not relevant to the teams I’m working with. This has a detrimental impact on the effectiveness of my teaching!

This post is about an analogy I’ve been using recently which seems to be helping the concepts land more succinctly, so I thought I’d share it here.

Don Reinertsen's optimum batch size chart

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Forming a non-software team around a value stream

I’ve spoken in previous posts about how at my previous customer I was working with non-software development teams, helping them interface with the development teams in order to increase collaboration.

A fantastic side effect of this coaching was that the non-software teams recognised the importance of having cross-discipline teams being aligned around value delivery, rather than in their specialist silos.

This post outlines an experiment where we created a cross-discipline team, focused on delivering an FS marketing strategy without changing the organisational structure.

Joy Sheng, CK-12 Foundation
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Fanning the flames on Work in Process limits

I’ve been thinking about different analogies to help teams understand the importance of limiting work in process (WiP) – the value is in the stuff we finish, not the stuff we start.

Having too much WiP ultimately reduces throughput, but this is counter-intuitive so I need a simplier way of communicating the idea.

I was struggling to light the bbq over the weekend & the thought came to me – can lighting & maintaining a fire be like managing WiP?

Lets find out….

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Customers Don’t Want To Use Your Software

I often use a pithy phrase I picked up from Michael Bolton many moons ago (which he himself picked up from David Platt author of Why Software Sucks) to help people understand the relationship between software quality & it’s users / customers

I’ve been using it a lot recently, so thought I’d share it here

Banksy artwork shredded during auction
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Thinking Critically about a General Election

Here in the UK we’re in the middle of campaign fever as we have a General Election on the 12th of December.

Its pretty important election, with some big topics being used as political weapons so I’m currently trying to gather as much knowledge as I can in order to make an informed decision on who to vote for.

This post is about how i’m applying the critical thinking skills & tactics I use in my day job to test claims made by politcal parties.

Heads up, I won’t be sharing my political views in this post.

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I am Tester, I am Developer

One of the biggest challenges I typically face when joining a development team is understanding the silo between programmers & testers (& other team members).

I approach this challenge by referring to both roles with the generic term of “Developer”, whilst using “Programmer” & “Tester” to differentiate between the roles when required.

I use the term “Developer” as we are both helping to develop software. I believe I got the analogy of eating from Michael Bolton – you can’t keep stuffing food in your mouth (programming) without swallowing (testing). 

This post builds on that idea to share how I use the fire triangle as a metaphor for activities & roles that play a part in software development.

Image showing the 3 elements of the fire triangle - oxygen, heat & Fuel
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Followership – flipside of the leadership coin

The working title of this post was “Followership – because sometimes leadership can go f*ck itself”.

This sentiment seemed to sum up where my head was at after a challenging role which left me taking stock of what I wanted from a career & my life / work balance. I retreated back to my comfort zone to let someone else do the leading.

You may be able to tell, in my funk I was seeing the term “followership” in  a negative light. After studying the topic further I started uncovering the importance of  followers & the related skills of following.

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Lessons Learned Running a Successful Software Testing Meetup

After nearly 3 years & 16 Liverpool Tester Gatherings, the 3 of us have learned several very valuable lessons in running free meetups to provide a platform for new & experienced speakers, with both local & international testing status.

This post aims to share some of our learning

Liverpool Tester Gathering Logo
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Questionable Therapy & Counseling Applied to Organisational Coaches

George Dinwiddie shared a Tweet last week that really caught my attention:

As an experiment, I decided to take a copy of the original article and perform a find & replace on the keywords “counselor” & “therapist” with the keywords “coach” & “consultant”.

I took this idea from Jerry Weinberg who did the same by replacing “structured” with “agile”

I’m interested to see how this experiment pans out – my hypothesis is that at least 80% of the statements will still make sense in the context of organisations…

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Surviving Scaled Agile – Understand the Vision / North Star

This is the fourth in a series of posts going into more detail around my thoughts on remaining an effective practitioner in scaled Agile – understand the programme Vision / North Star.

To get a wider context of this post, please refer to the original “Surviving Scaled Agile” post outlining the model.

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