When the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally.

Lao Tse

Repeatable Processes

Why is so much emphasis put on being able to repeat a process? I meet regularly with a group of quality managers; the emphasis of these meetings is usually on process. And normally on the process you use to manage the processes e.g. CMM, EFQM, ISO. I have tried on many occasions to point out that process is not quality. I have tried to explain that we don


The best thing about software is its flexibility: it can be programmed to do almost anything. The worst thing about software is also its flexibility: the

Am I Insane?

There is nothing that is a more certain sign of insanity than to do the same thing over and over and expect the results to be different.

Albert Einstein

What Did They Spend It On?

Tony comments on boo hoo.

At the point of Boo’s collapse, we’d built BlackStar to a turnover of $1m per month, with a total operating spend (excluding marketing) of less than $2m in the two years we’d been trading. Our product development costs (i.e the website, and all our fulfilment and customer service systems etc) had been less than $200k, whereas Boo had spent $250k solely on the feasibility study for theirs!

This stuns me! When I think of all the things we could have implemented at BlackStar with $250k…

The Best Ideas Cannot Be Stolen

I’ve always taken some comfort in the belief that the stronger an idea is, the harder it is to steal.

That’s because the best ideas, by definition, are so original and unique that they cannot survive without their creator. He or she is the only one who understands the concept fully, who can execute it up to its full potential, and who has a personal stake in keeping the concept going despite all the obstacles.

Mark H. McCormack, “Never Wrestle With A Pig

It's The Thought That Counts

I have heard this said many times, especially about the giving of gifts. But does the thought really count more than the actual doing? Say I remember that it’s my mum’s birthday next week, I go out and buy her a random gift and give it to her on her birthday. Does this mean more than spending time trying to find out what she would really like and then going out of my way to get this? Certainly buying a present for my mum is better than doing nothing. But if she says, “It’s the thought that counts” is she really saying, “I don’t like the present but at least you remembered my birthday”?

Or what about that friend that you haven

Creativity - A Good Idea

In business everyone knows that ‘creativity’ is a good idea and essential when information, technology and competence have all become commodities. While everyone pays lip-service to creativity, nothing much happens until there is a ‘nominated champion’ whose business it is to see that creativity becomes an active part of the corporate culture.

Edward de Bono, Simplicity

YAPC::Europe Day 2

Didn’t go to hear any talks this morning as I was too stressed about the talk I had to give before lunch time. Once this was over I felt much more relaxed and heard Paul Johnson speak on “Testing and Code Coverage”, a bunch of lightning talks, and Damian speaking on Perl 6.

We spent the evening at the Dicker Mann where I got to marvel at the madness that is Marc.

Schwern is Mad!

Went to hear Schwern talk on Advanced Testing. Schwern arrived at the conference with only minutes to spare and had to set his machine up whilst the audience watched. Taking the whole audience interaction thing to extreme he asked members of the audience to present him with problems they had faced when testing with Perl. Only a mad man would write Perl code samples at a conference full of pedantic Perl geeks!

He also got Marty and Greg to give short presentations on Mock::Apache and Mock::Object. Marty also spoke briefly on Test First Programming. The things Marty will do for an invite to the speaker’s dinner!

What Is Management?

Tony quotes Tom DeMarco. I would like to be able to say that crafting the right team is always my main priority, but I would be lying. I have found that the software manager’s other role of interfacing with the customer is considered to have equal importance and in some cases is given more priority than looking after your own staff. The administrative tasks that need to be completed are sometimes given priority over the people on the team. And of course there is all the time spent trying to do the team’s job for them – writing software is not management.

Why do I spend time doing the wrong things? Looking after people is difficult. Filling in forms, organising meetings and working with databases are safe activities that I understand.