Apr 152012
 

Friday afternoon, my team and I hit on what we thought was a serious data issue that might have had a big impact on our sales team. The data coming into one end of a business process didn’t seem to be coming out the other as we expected. It turned out that we were mistaken about what we were looking at – it actually took us a few hours to figure out why the data seemed so anomalous. We had mis-diagnosed the situation, and without sober practices for working through [read more…]

Feb 082012
 
Padding estimates and promises

A few days ago, we uncovered an opportunity that depended a lot on timing. If we could get it going in five days, we could exploit it… if it took longer than that, the timing was going to impact some other strategic concerns. I asked a developer for an estimate of the effort, and he said it would take ten days to complete. About my own estimates I have always been sensitive to suggest my own estimates to other developers. My estimates nearly always scared others, but I had a [read more…]

Jan 152012
 
Beyond dodging the bullet

Whew! Sometimes we get lucky and unexpected situations don’t take us out of the game. After we dodge the proverbial bullet, conventional wisdom suggests we ought to figure out what happened and find a way to prevent it in the future if we can. Even more powerful wisdom suggests that we find ways to learn from the situation as part of a continuous improvement discipline. Either way, it pays dividends to have the courage to act beyond the self-preservation of dodging the bullet. In this post, I want to highlight two [read more…]