Posts Tagged ‘corporate culture’

  

Balancing Order and Chaos with Process

Whether it is software development projects or I.T. operations, many larger organizations seem enamored with process as the solution to their problems. The default reaction to negative outcomes or variances between people in performing activities is to add more process. Process provides an ordered structure for keeping such chaos at bay. This reflects an underlying […]

Are Organizational Standards Harmful?

As a senior architect I work with and in some cases help create a wide variety of organizational I.T. standards: Architectural guidance Build and deployment standards like semantic versioning Development practices like unit testing and continuous integration Enterprise libraries, components, or services providing reusable functionality Enterprise infrastructure like single sign-on, backups, or corporate desktop support […]

Bad News Early

For a software development project, when is the best time to communicate to stakeholders bad news like having insufficient budget or schedule? From the behaviors I have observed of some managers and leads, their answer would seem to be “never” – upon learning bad news they hope things will turn out in the end and […]

Architects Anonymous

As an architect observing and helping multiple teams build and maintain enterprise software, sometimes I think I am living in an alternate reality. I see systems fail on a nearly daily basis, teams under intense schedule pressure, a lack of awareness of basic developer quality practices, repeated failures of communication, servers taking weeks to provision, […]

Exposure to Extremes

I love being exposed to different ways of doing things, especially when they are extremes that provide a sharp contrast with standard, commonly-accepted methods. I deliberately search out such examples because I feel they provide great learning opportunities to reflect on the true principles underlying successful endeavors. If someone can be successful while doing the […]

The Mindset of a ScrumMaster

I have been familiar with the Scrum method for developing software for a number of years. Scrum is a simple tool: it defines just a few meetings, artifacts, and roles. So the basic mechanics of scrum are easy to pick up. Using Scrum to its fullest potential, however, requires a much deeper understanding. One area […]

Applying Medical Near Misses to I.T.

I forget from which source I first heard about the term “near miss” in health care, but I found the concept intriguing. A near miss is a problem with the safe delivery of care that did not actually affect the patient. Here is an example: a pharmacist in a hospital misreads the doctor’s diagnosis and […]

How Should You Feel About Defects

I have recently observed myself and others having a variety of reactions when defects are found ranging between the extremes of elation and despair. How should we feel when defects are discovered? Should this vary by role? Role-Based Attitudes I will first answer this question on a role by role basis, starting with the role […]

Who is Responsible for Quality?

I had a manager a short while ago ask me who was responsible for quality within their organization, within the context of software development projects. Without having to think about it, I knew the answer. It was intuitively obvious, but it was an intuition fueled by reading hundreds if not thousands of pages about lean […]

Ten Audit Warning Signs

I describe in my prior article how formal audits suffer from a number of drawbacks, and hopefully I have alerted you to the potential harm they can do. But some audits are necessary or can be helpful. So how do you detect when audits are causing you harm? Here are ten specific warning signs you […]

Drawbacks of Formal Audits

In heavily-regulated or bureaucratic environments formal audits are a common occurrence. Such audits typically consist of an auditor external to the team or organization who analyzes historical evidence of the work done to find non-conformities with respect to the documented process being audited. To those with a bureaucratic mindset process and audits are the answer […]

Continuous Improvement Experiments

If, like me, you believe strongly in championing continuous improvement then an obvious question is how exactly can continuous improvement be implemented? One answer I have come up with is something I call continuous improvement experiments – CIE for short. What is a Continuous Improvement Experiment? The idea is simple: a CIE provides guidance via […]

Six Strategies to Survive Being Buried in Meetings

Have you ever had days or weeks when your calendar was filled seemingly to the brim with meetings? As an experienced software developer in a senior technical role, I find that I am being requested to attend more and more meetings, especially to provide advice or guidance to various teams and to participate in status […]

Are You a Rule Maker or a Rule Breaker?

In order to work effectively with coworkers and clients, you need to understand their viewpoint. Over the last few years, I have discovered that a person’s approach to rules such as processes or standards is an important element in understanding and predicting how they will operate in the workplace. One reason this is a useful […]