Still here

I have been very quiet on this blog for quite an extended period of time. My intention has always been to keep blogging, but other factors have interfered; a busy job, open university assignments, a lively child.

I will try to put more content up; just the occasional post with some reblogs and shared posts. WordPress is a pretty good platform for that and makes creating blog content easy enough.

In the meantime, here is a photo of my lovely daughter taken just before her recent 5th birthday:
My angel

ISO – the dog that hasn’t barked

rutty:

I’m following the arguments surrounding ISO 29119 with interest. It seems right up my employer’s street and I’ll be utterly unsurprised to find that someone in our practice has decided to shackle us to it once it emerges.

Once my current project draws to a close I’ll considering my options. I think I need somewhere to work that has greater vision and doesn’t limit me to being a “resource” that has to follow this difficult-to-follow set of rules

Originally posted on James Christie's Blog:

On August 12th I gave a talk at CAST 2014, the conference of the Association for Software Testing (AST) in New York, “Standards; promoting quality or restricting competition.” It was mainly about the new ISO 29119 software testing standard, though I also wove in arguments about ISTQB certification.


I was staggered at the response. Iain McCowatt asked what we should do in response. Karen Johnson proposed a petitition, which subsequently became two. Iain set up through the International Society for Software Testing (ISST), directly targetted at ISO.

Karen’s petition is a more general for all professional testers to sign if they agree with its stance on certification and standards.

I strongly commend both the petition and the manifesto to all testers.

Eric Proegler also set up an AST special interest group to monitor and review the issue.

This action was not confined to the conference. In the last three weeks…

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Is Best Practice the Enemy of Innovation?

rutty:

Does ‘best practice’ stifle innovation? Those of us that work for large organisations are often lumbered with having to work with whatever processes the higher ups have decided is best. I thought this article was very interesting.

Originally posted on What's the PONT:

Here’s a confession. Before I go to bed I like to watch an episode of How It’s Made.

There is something very soothing about manufacturing processes. The logical sequence, efficient systems, robotic arms, complete repeatability, high levels of certainty and quality products are like a comfort blanket before I go to sleep.

Unfortunately the world I wake up to isn’t quite like this, generally it’s all a bit more confusing.

This mirrors some of the confusion around best practice and innovation. Frequently I hear; ‘organisations must be more innovative’ rapidly followed with ‘organisations must implement best practice’. But how do the two fit together, particularly if you’ve got other voices saying ‘best practice is the enemy of innovation’?

Here’s the Wikipedia definition of best practice: ‘a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used…

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The two surprising NHS surveys the government hopes you don’t see

rutty:

Privatised healthcare makes it more expensive – and less effective – for everyone. The NHS is not perfect but don’t let political ideologues muck it up beyond repair

Originally posted on Pride's Purge:

(not satire – it’s the UK today!)

There has been a concerted campaign in the mainstream press over the last few years to smear the NHS.

Here’s a recent example:

Daily Telegraph uses death of baby and outright lies to smear NHS

This is all part of the government’s misinformation campaign to discredit the NHS so it can turn over as much of it as possible to private healthcare companies.

Which is why you probably won’t have seen much in the mainstream press of a recent international survey which has ranked the UK’s NHS number 1 in the world for healthcare – above countries like Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Norway:

nhs

But there’s another shocking recent survey you probably won’t have heard much about either.

The latest NHS staff survey shows over 70% of NHS workers think there are no longer enough staff to enable them to do their jobs properly:

NHS1

If the government has its way and keeps on…

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BBC News – Tal Fortgang not sorry for being white and privileged

Princeton University freshman Tal Fortgang has been told repeatedly to “check his privilege” – to be aware of how his socio-economic and cultural background shapes his views – and he’s not happy about it.”The phrase,” he writes, “handed down by my moral superiors, descends recklessly, like an Obama-sanctioned drone, and aims laser-like at my pinkish-peach complexion, my maleness and the nerve I displayed in offering an opinion rooted in a personal Weltanschauung.”

via BBC News – Tal Fortgang not sorry for being white and privileged.

This article is an interesting read as it highlights some concepts that I learned while studying the systems thinking modules as part of my Open University degree. ‘Weltanschauung’ was a term used widely,  and while it doesn’t directly translate to ‘worldview’ it is a close-enough approximation.

Tal is displaying some understandable frustration with this ‘check your privilege’ meme that seems to be popular among on-line activists. However, he is also showing the limits of his own Welstanshauung. He does have an advantage over many of his American cohorts, and this is not due to any hard work on his part but by the luck of his birth. White males in the west are much more likely to succeed than  ethnic minorities – this is the ‘privilege’ that Tal should be aware of. It’s not his fault and it’s not something he can do anything about, it’s just a consideration – an epistemological awareness of his situation.

He is only 20 and has most of his life ahead of him. His views are limited by his life experience, just like everyone else’s, and his worldview will change over time. Perhaps he will look back at his essay in a few years and wonder why he expressed himself in such a fashion? Opinions based on a personal Weltanschauung are fine and all but that doesn’t mean that others cannot provide their own responses based on their own experiences and views.

Tal is wrong, he should ‘check his privilege’, as should we all. We would all make more informed decisions.

Mary Elizabeth Williams writes far more eloquently about this than I can over at The Salon.

But what people often don’t like – what Fortgang himself quite obviously doesn’t like – is when someone who hasn’t walked in your shoes tries to tell you your experience. What people don’t like is when someone who moves through the world with a particular set of advantages writes an essay that uses the word “empathize” but then confidently announces that he lives in “a country that grants equal protection under the law to its citizens, that cares not about religion or race, but the content of your character.” Young man, if you honestly think this country doesn’t care about religion or race, then you are privileged. You have grown up in an America that has enabled you to not know otherwise. And I don’t need to you to be sorry about it, because you didn’t create that. I’d just love for you to someday understand it.

It’s not much different over here in the UK with our political elite; educated almost exclusively in expensive schools they fail to understand why the proletariat think they’re an utter bunch of privileged, useless tossers. It’s almost like they’re living in another world that bears limited resemblance to the reality of existing in a normal job with normal problems.

A bit of empathy – from everyone – would go a long way to soothe much of the discontent that exists between people from different backgrounds.

Let It Go

Ruby is utterly obsessed with ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen. To be honest, so am I (just a little bit). I think it’s one of the finest, catchiest songs to come out in many a year.

This amazing video has been doing the rounds for a while, but it’s worth a watch. Brian Hull does an fantastic job using the various Disney/Pixar voices throughout.