I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

Thanks to Dilbert, developers, engineers and the rest of us managed people, have come to disrespect the “manager”. Ok, it’s not just the comic, some of it was perpetuated by actual managers. Still, there are cases where the managers do the right thing, and the developer messes up.

Whenever this occurs, regardless if from the manager or developer side, we’re making the divide between the business and development wider. Sometimes both mean well. But it just happens that the parties don’t talk the same language and then you get what’s in the picture on the right.

Here’s an example. When a manager asks the team to increase their velocity, we’re on a crash course. The real original definition of “velocity” is past observations of the team’s performance from which we can estimate their future performance. So in fact that the perfectly sane question the manager asked, sounds to the developers like this:

Can you build a time machine?

Notice that divide getting bigger?

What happened is what marketing does some time: take a word that sounds familiar, but means something other completely, move it out of context and appear to sound more intelligent now that we own it.

Only we don’t and we wind up sounding stupid.

Another example. When the developer says to manager that the tests keeps slowing him down, and he’ll be more productive without them, we’re on that crash course again. Because what the manager hears is:

Testing is an accepted best practice. But that’s for normal people, I’m better.

And the divide gets bigger still.

In order to bridge the gap, we (whatever we are – developers or business people) need to learn the language of the other side – the terms, the tone and the nuances. Only after we did, we can actually find how we sound like to the other side. And then we’ll probably hold our tongues a little more often.

Want to hear more? Come hear me tomorrow at the Agile Practitioners conference. There’s plenty more where this came from.

Meet Me at Agile Practitioners 2012 Next Week

Quick reminder: You did register for Agile Practitioners 2012, right?

To hear all the great speakers and myself?

You didn’t?

Register now!

The Stamp of Approval

I’ve recently posted on the Typemock blog on test organization, and gave an example of how organizing Outlook folders is not as effective as dumping everything in one bin and using “Search”. Here’s a quote (from myself, by myself):

The search box finds things much quicker. There’s also a penalty in the filing system. For each email, my friend needs to think where it belongs. What if it deserves to be in two places? The filing itself is costing him time.

Well, apparently, now there’s proof in electronic ink that I was actually right (which managed to astonish even me): The Harvard Business Review’s blog says: “Tip for Getting More Organized: Don't”. Which takes my short version above, and makes it into a full fledged article. Worth reading.

As the article say:

Organizing is wasteful; getting its benefits is productivity.

With proper tools, and focusing of what we actually want to get from organizing, we get better productivity and effectiveness.

Would that convince the organizing people to leave their wicked ways? Of course not. People, like people, don’t like change. These guys love organizing stuff: It works, they are the experts of the system , and there’s an endorphin rush whenever something gets placed in the right place. Without pain, there’s no need for a change.

That doesn’t mean we should stop trying to convince. It is our professional responsibility to show the light. It could be testing, or productivity tools or agile or anything else that we think might get everyone more effective.

And who knows, maybe somewhere, sometime, we’ll be proven right by an impartial ivy league university blog.

PS: If you want to hear me try to convince, register to Agile Practitioners 2012. See? It’s already working.

My Interview with Lisa Crispin

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to talk with Lisa Crispin. Lisa is a prominent figure in the testing world, and co-authored “Agile Testing”. This was a great opportunity for me to talk to someone from the tester side, as usually I talk with developers. And I felt this was more of a conversation, rather than an interview. While most “agile” teams are struggling with how testing fits in there, Lisa’s agile team is already running full speed ahead. I hope to meet Lisa in person in the future, and I definitely want to learn more on how testers role today is shaping up.

We talked about how we develop software at Typemock, how we make decisions and learn from our experience. This interview is on Lisa’s blog.

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