Living and working well in the name of quality

I wrote about sixty articles encouraging excellence in quality professions during my three-year stint as “Our Take” columnist for STQe-Letter. Here are some highlights on living and working well in the name of quality. Links to the original articles (link destination is to the full e-letter—look under the “Our Take” heading).

No Hurry (from 5 November 2003)
First, don’t rush it. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. That means using care in the process. As soon as you start to hurry, you start to overlook things. Here is my “No Hurry” entry, complete with Captain Ahab metaphors:

Constant Care (6 August 2003)
At the end of a project, or anytime you’re tempted to relax because the pressure is off, the habit of diligence may save you from curve balls that hit people who become too complacent.

Think before Judging (4 June 2003)
Think of “perceiving” as a focused exercise before making any judgments, especially out loud. If you think of alternative ideas, methods, arguments, and points of view, your “final” judgments will be of higher quality and higher caliber. The exercise may take a little longer, but will increase your speed in the long run, making you a more efficient worker and a more effective communicator.

Wear Their Shoes (from 20 August 2003)
Old dogs don’t like new tricks. One way to be more receptive to new ideas is to put yourself in the new-idea person’s position, or wear their shoes. It will also help you communicate better.

Communication Is a Discipline (7 May 2003)
Speaking of communication and diligence, getting your point across is a whole discipline in itself. It includes broad understanding of counterarguments and wide knowledge of different personality types. Pursuing this discipline is yet another tool in your toolbox to help you excel at work and in life.

Common Sense Trumps “Adopting a Methodology” (21 May 2003)
Software professionals, or professionals in any field, should not, and usually do not, mindlessly adopt a methodology for a project. After all the books and articles and arguments and schools of thought, real people use common sense to piece together the aspects of each approach that fit together best for each new project or problem.

  • Situated Reasoning: Customizing methods to circumstances is something Brian Marick calls “situated reasoning” which I wrote about briefly in this related 4 December 2002 entry

Being Qualified (19 February 2003)
You have to train long and hard to be a good or “qualified” software tester or quality professional. Studying the methods, complementary and conflicting, understanding the tools, the useful versus the bling, are all part of becoming qualified. Hence a quote from this entry: “If the doctor needs a scalpel, you don’t want her to substitute nose pliers.”

Testers Are Investigators (21 August 2002)
How does “waterfall” apply to both software development and Sherlock Holmes? The biggest bug in London law enforcement was Moriarty, which Holmes finally fixed using the waterfall method. As long as websites and the Webs of Crime still generate bugs, software testers will need their deerstalker hats and magnifying glasses.

Living Well (19 June 2002)
Investigation, exploration, cogitation, operation, communication, interrelation…It’s about quality, but it’s also about Living Well.

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And finally, incase you wondered what these have to do with software quality:

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