Uncharted Waters

September 24, 2019  2:53 PM

Conference Conferring

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser
conference, quality, Software, Software testing, Testing

KWSQA Conference LogoIt’s a great week to be in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, for the KWSQA Conference, sometimes known as targeting quality.

If you don’t go to regional conferences, i’ll help you find them. For now, let’s talk about what the experience is like — and my adventures on the 5-hour drive each way.  Continued »

September 20, 2019  11:36 AM

The Narcissist and the Enterprise

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

The Narcissist in the EnterpriseEarlier I wrote about the faker – a kind of person that tends to succeed upwards in business. At the same time, they seem to fundamentally lack the ability to do the work. Several people asked me for examples, or jumped to label this kind of person a narcissist. One person who might fit the bill, Elizabeth Holmes, former CEO of Theranos. In his book on Holmes and her company, John Carreyrou. the Wall Street Journal reporter, considered the very real possibility that Holmes was a sociopath.

When I wrote the article on fakers, Holmes was not who I had in mind, nor this sociopath term. Narcissist, and Narcissism, was much closer to the narc. I’m not a psychologist, and not qualified to diagnose anyone with Narcissism as a personality disorder. The traits of narcissism, on the other hand, are much easier to spot — grandiosity, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration chief among them.

If you are thinking that sounds like too many C-level officers, then you are picking up what I am laying down. It may be as simple as the narcissists are actually willing to do “whatever it takes” to rise to the top. When the normal people think a decision like a layoff is … icky … it is the narcissist who is willing to “step up” and do what needs to be done.

Let’s talk about Adam Neumann. Continued »

September 16, 2019  10:53 PM

How To Spot a Faker

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

No Fakers Allowed - Hollywood Cemetery, RichmondIt wasn’t too long ago that a friend, someone I respect, told me that everyone lies on their resume. Perhaps many people are fakers, in the lowercase-f sense.

But what about someone who is entirely a faker?

By faker, I mean someone who cannot do the work. To a hiring manager, at best, this person will be dead weight. At worst they will create conflict, use manipulation to advance, and cause good people, who are not advancing, to quit.

How can you tell the difference?

Real, capital-F Fakers may build an entire career on deception. Like a chameleon, they can be hard to spot. In my experience, there are a collection of behaviors that Fakers seems to have in common. One or two of them, individually, might not mean much. When you start to see individuals with five, six, seven of the symptoms I list below, then it’s time to pause and take stock.

Here are ten habits of highly effective Fakers. Continued »

September 12, 2019  9:34 PM

How to be [more] effective

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

A calendar with effective times of day -- there is only about three hoursIf you work in an a corporate office and rely on people to be effective, then the calendar at right may be familiar to you.

And make no mistake, you do rely on other people. It might be to get more clear requirements, or get new builds, new test environments or new packages installed. No matter what it is, no one is an island.

Yet they are only available three hours a day.

Not to mention thanksgiving week, Christmas week, and new years. Sean McMillan and I used to joke that “December is not a month” for project planning. When we say a project that was supposed to finish on January 1st, we’d change the documentation to February first.

This post is about how to be effective anyway. Continued »

September 11, 2019  12:33 PM

A Career Tip

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser
career, IT

Career FacepalmRecently a software tester walked into my office. Shoulders slumped, head down. I’m not great at signals, but he was clearly having a bad career day.

Alfred looked at me, sadly, and said “We’ve got quality problems. Everyone knows it. That means we are behind schedule. Two days ago I filed some bugs. I came in yesterday morning, and saw they were turned into tasks. Overnight they were converted from tasks to stories for a future sprint. Which won’t get priority, because we are so late, because we have quality problems.”

Sounds like a career-ending viscous cycle, doesn’t it?

You can almost hear the toilet bowl flushing.

I thought for a moment, smiled, and said “wow. This is absolutely fantastic.”

And it is.

Allow me to explain why.

Continued »

August 22, 2019  8:34 AM

SaaS, Planning, and #NoEstimates

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

Earlier this week, Melissa Perri tweeted this:

Melissa Perri on #NoEstimates leads to SaaS

Melissa makes a fair point.

In my reply, I said that SaaS (Software as a Service) as a business model, makes #NoEstimates work incredibly well. Today I’ll discuss the SaaS business model in a plain-English, non-buzzwordy way, based on my experience working for Socialtext.

Let’s get started. Continued »

August 20, 2019  8:24 AM

Why Photography?

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

Photo: Preisdential Towers, Chicago, IL Photography by Matthew Heusser

Twenty-five years ago while a Civil Air Patrol cadet, I could get a cheap disposable camera, spend a week at camp, and take around twenty pictures “per roll.” I could then pay for a process called “developing the film” and after a three to four day wait, discover that only two or three photos were worth saving.

Today, taking pictures is essentially free. Free like water. Free like air. The device we use to take pictures is our ever present cell phone. If we would like, taking pictures can be about as  commonplace as breathing.

It wasn’t that long ago that photography was a job, a solid, a respected one even, that took real technical skill. Today we still understand that the work of a photographer is well, work. We hire wedding and portrait photographers regularly. Journalists have cameras and take photos of their subjects as needed to tell a story. Yet the study of photography, as art, has declined. Which means people aren’t looking for beauty in the same way they might have been fifty, or even fifteen years ago.

Perhaps they should be.

Continued »

August 19, 2019  3:35 PM

Mind the test bottleneck

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser
bottleneck, IT, Scrum, Software testing

Bottlenecks on the Scrum BoardIt’s been exactly ten years since I published a two-part series on answering unfair questions. The first was general; the second was how to answer the question “why is testing always the bottleneck?” Ten years later, those questions are as relevant as ever. In fact, I’ve got that question coming from multiple directions right now.

The articles have aged well, and are worth a read — yet we’ve learned a thing to two in ten years.

Let’s talk about it. Continued »

August 13, 2019  9:54 PM

The new mobile workforce

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser
Amazon, community, IT, Mobile

The Mobile Workforce uses SpotheroLast month, I missed my train and had to drive into Chicago for work. While on the road, I used Google Maps for directions, SpotHero to pick out parking, and AirBnB to reserve a room. When I arrived in Chicago, I scanned my phone to get into the parking lot, which was about half the price of public parking. Checking in for AirBnB was as easy as using a code to access the building and another to get into my room. None of that was possible without a smart phone, and all of it was possible without talking to a single human being. Talk about your mobile workforce.

For dinner I could visit the Amazon Go store, about four blocks away. To enter a store, you bring up a QR code on the amazon app, let the turnstyle read it, and walk in. Then you pick your items and walk out. Proximity readers send a bill to your credit card.

Stop for a minute and think about the kind of mobile workforce this makes possible. Twenty-five years ago, you’d need to find the yellow pages for the city you were going to, or find a travel agent, or pay triple-A. You’d make plans days in advance, use maps printed on paper. You’d also pay too much for parking. Generally speaking, you’d get lost more and pay too much because you didn’t have enough options.

Still, it makes me wonder what we lost to gain so much. Continued »

August 6, 2019  8:24 AM

Accelerate Delivery

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

How to Accelerate DeliveryToday I’m going to teach you one simple secret to accelerate delivery, and one painful truth about what slows it down. Let’s start with a simple analysis.

Say you have a ticket for something. Permissions for Jira, or a database, or a password reset. The receiving team takes two days to look at the issue, only to determine they are the wrong group, and forward it to a different team, that takes two days …

If the receiving team says “That’s too big. we need to put it in our blacklog”, the answer could be two weeks. Or never.

Scheduling a meeting with an outside group can be worse. You suggest a meeting, two days later they reply asking for suggested dates and times. You reply, and four days later they write back that the first two dates have passed and the second two don’t work for them. So you reply again …

Here’s how to fix it. Continued »

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