Lessons Learned are worth the effort!

The Canadian charity Engineers without Boarders is learning the way in looking at their projects openly, admitting what went wrong and sharing the lessons they learn through that process. That is a level of maturity many organizations don’t have – even if they have a process that says they do retrospectives or lessons learned. They say they have made more impact and reached more lasting goals because of this.  And they encourage others to do the same on http://www.admittingfailure.com

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Quality comes from Professional Responsibility

Testing is a double edge sword. Testing is done for two reasons: to catch any unintended consequence of changes and (for risk management) giving a fresh view to find anything that would be a reputation issue if it reached a customer. However, because testing is done there may be a tendency for a “I’ve got a safety net” mentality that can allow corners to be cut and process precision to be lost. Read more of this post

ISO 9000 Projects – not just paperwork!

Recent events have made some organisations consider ISO9000 again as a badge to reassure their customers that they have a consistent way of doing business. It is more than a simple visit from an auditor but needs a commitment from everyone in the organisation to work in a consistent way. Read more of this post

Kanban: visualising work in progress

“I like your Kanban” I said

“My what?” was the shocked reply. Had I said a rude word?

On the wall of the office was a cork notice board on which was pinned postcard sized coloured index cards under headings. It was a visual representation of the progress of work through the business – known as kanban in manufacturing.   Read more of this post

Software Testing: QA or QC

In every other field the testing of products is called Quality Control (QC) but in IT (software especially, it is called QA (Quality Assurance).    This is a historic anomaly.

In the early years of computing, computer time was so precious that programmers had to submit their code for a review to prove they had followed all the coding standards and local rules before it would be typed in to the system, compiled and (hopefully) run. This process check was quality assurance (QA).  Often those doing the checking were not skilled programmers so could not actually test the code (QC) to see if it would work.

Eventually, programmers got used to typing their own code into PCs and the QA team became mainly system testers.

Project Management Art or Skill?

I share an office with an artist. I’m told art is a skill.  Art is something that is developed through experience, dedication and practice: nearly anyone can draw but it takes effort to be an artist.

My first reaction is that project management is a skill but the best project managers make it look like art.  Read more of this post

Its all about confidence

Over the last few days I’ve done a review of an important document for a project. I’ve had other people review it too.  It is a good document but because so much hangs on it being right, we may have put in more quality checks than we probably needed – to make sure the project board has confidence. Read more of this post