Test Data

Tony Werman (Flickr.com)

Here are some interesting quotes:

You can’t be Agile if you don’t use the right test data

Developers often copy subsets of production data, sometimes anonymizing it but not always and rarely considering whether the test data contains sufficient diversity to exercise all important edge cases. And those are the more mature dev shops!

The quotes come from two different Forrester articles but are representative of dozens of articles about testing and quality assurance.  But this is not just representative of Forrester, it is representative of the IT industry as a whole.  Let’s dissect each piece and see what we come up with.
Continue reading “Test Data”

Weapons of Math Destruction

Weapons of Math Destruction.

I can’t lay claim to the name, it comes from mathbabe.org.  Her subtitle is “How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy”.  You would think, based on that subtitle, that she doesn’t like Big Data.  On the contrary, she likes it, but it needs to be used effectively. Continue reading “Weapons of Math Destruction”

Keeping Code Clean

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More good quotes:

A culture where problems are fixed as they appear is one of the most fundamental traits of successful projects. – Abraham Marin-Perez

How many times do we come across a pile of … wrongness . and don’t fix it?  (While this can refer to almost anything in your life I am going to restrict my discussion to projects and IT.  Feel free to extrapolate to encompass your whole life.)  Have you ever walked into a kitchen, wanting to bake something but found that nothing was in its spot and the entire kitchen was a mess?  Yeah, neither have I but that’s because I’ve never really had a desire to bake.  Except for these wonderful chocolate chip cookies that we got from a recipe on the Internet.  Anyway, back to the story. Continue reading “Keeping Code Clean”

Contiguous Time

geralt (Pixabay)

So, your changing context every 10 minutes or so (see yesterday’s note) what impact does that have?

Professor Mark talked about how it inhibits innovation.  Does it?  Or is innovation, creativity, more of an accident than something cultivated and worked on?  Scott Berkun is of the opinion that “Creativity Is Not An Accident“.  He talks about how the stories of people “accidentally” discovering something aren’t really them just stumbling along and – BAM – something hits them from out of the blue.  Instead, their discovery is based on the work that they had been doing to discover something else.  The “accident” was that they discovered something that they weren’t searching for, but they were already searching for something.

The whole process of innovation, creativity, discovery, is based on time.  Not just five minutes here and five minutes there, but contiguous time.  When you have the opportunity to sit down and really think about a problem it takes time for your mind to get in gear, but when it does you are so much more creative than when you try squeezing things in on the side.  For instance, these long diatribes?  Carefully planned out.  OK, not really, but they are almost always written in one session, one continuous session.  And even though I can type like a madman it takes time to write these notes because I am thinking about what I want to say, how I want to say it and whether or not it even makes sense.  (Sometimes it doesn’t, even to me.)  And that also explains why I may be talking about one subject at the beginning but deviate part way through and come to a completely different conclusion:  I had time to think.

The ability to set aside time to think is precious and needs to be hoarded and zealously guarded.  Book a meeting with yourself and leave your desk, go to a meeting room by yourself, visit the library, a coffee shop, a place where you will not be interrupted and simply think about a problem.  Innovative ideas are not normally found in a meeting situation.  They may gain visibility in such a setting but the germ of the idea, the genesis of the solution, was normally done while having some quiet time.

Creativity In Little Pieces

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There is the false assumption that creativity occurs in big waves.  One minute everything is normal and the next minute there is a tsunami of creativity and life changes so fast that the pants you put on in the morning go out of style by noon.

Things don’t happen that way. Continue reading “Creativity In Little Pieces”


Stitch (c) Disney – All right reserved

Last year my family went on a cruise of the Eastern Caribbean.  Since we were already in Florida we thought we would spend a week at DisneyWorld as well.  While we we there my oldest daughter bought a large Stitch plush.  It was so large that in order to bring it back with us she had to stuff it in a large carry on bag.  Needless to say, Homeland Security had a good time searching the bag for other contraband.

Why does she like Stitch so much?  I’m not sure.  The thing that really sticks out for me, however, is the following quote from the Lilo and Stitch movie:

Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.

In one quote the writers managed to sum up part of what it means to be human.  Collectively we are all part of a giant tribe of people.  When someone goes missing there are people out searching for that individual and even though they don’t know them they feel compelled to help search.  When a building collapses there is a tremendous amount of effort into searching for survivors and then recovering the bodies.  There is a “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” located in many countries around the world.  There is an interconnectedness between people that extends beyond familial, cultural or national boundaries.  We cheer on our heroes because they are an extension of ourselves.  Their success is our success.  Their failures are ours. We encourage those who reach for the stars because we know that we ourselves would like to be doing just that.

There is a dark side, however, in that this same attitude can be twisted for harm.  While the vision of angry villagers swarming Dr. Frankensteins castle in order to kill the monster seem laughable, they are not far from the truth.  The same desire to help can be twisted into the desire for vengeance.  The passion for helping can easily be turned into a passion for revenge.

But that is what it means to be human:  we experience the ups and downs of life and move through them.  Sometimes we do it alone, but often we do it in the company of others.

I am very happy and proud to say that the group of people that I am moving through life with are a great group of people:  my family, my friends, my co-workers.  You are all part of my tribe and I thank you.