Top Blog Articles
Below are some of my favorite blog article from the last few years. If the blurb sounds interesting, click on the title to read the entire article.
A Shewhart Control Chart visualization tool.
I presented the results of an applicaition security effectiveness study with John Benninghoff at the Secure360 Conference on May 10. The main things we learned from the study are...
I will be speaking at the Secure 360 conference this year.
A short poem prompted by the year 2020.
The man woke to the sound of his dog whining. “Do you need to go outside, girl?” He reached over and touched her head gently. “Ok, come on, let’s go.” He rose from his bunk and went to the door. He picked up his rifle, which was sitting in its usual place, next to the door; and opened the door slowly, peeking out the crack between the door and the jamb.
I think I may have been out of bed and fully awake before my eyes were completely open. This didn’t usually happen on school days, but today was different. The weatherman had promised we would get snow; a lot of snow. Not just a few inches, mind you, he said it could easily be a foot.
Agile in general, and Scrum in particular, have become increasingly popular in the last few years. Many organizations have implemented the Scrum Process Framework, and hired dozens of Scrum Masters and Scrum Coaches to implement it.
My mom taught me that life wasn’t fair. This was her go-to answer when an atrocity such as unequal desert portioning occurred. Random events happen that, for good or bad, affect us.
Philosophy, history, and common sense tell us that it is often preferable to prevent a harm from occurring than to attempt to fix the damage once it occurs. Studies about software defect remediation show varying results, but there is strong consensus among them that finding and fixing a bug during design is much less expensive than fixing it after deployment.
I have read a lot about metrics from many different contexts: Six Sigma, project management, and Scrum among others. Below are the top five things that I think need to be considered when selecting and interpreting metric data.
I started a new Coursera course today: Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects.
Regardless of the project methodology used, there are a few things which, if present, will significantly reduce the risk of project failure.
The Scaled Agile Framework includes what it calls the Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) method of prioritizing jobs. I like the method itself, because it is deterministic and seems to mathematically prioritize into an order that makes sense.
I have created another template for your computing pleasure. This new template is a Monte Carlo model based upon a standard function for calculating the queue count.
We all have personal goals. Whether it’s to write that killer app you have been obsessing about, or to finish that book you “started” years ago, procrastination is our common enemy.
I read an article the other day on the ABC News website that rattled my math-oriented sensibilities. Geetika Rudra wrote an article titled “Odds-defying Babies Born at 10:11 12/13/14.” My first response, aimed at the families and babies, was to think how cool that was. I have a nephew that was born on 8/7/87 and have always thought having a birth date with a pattern like that would be fun.
Statistical hypothesis testing error types include Type I and Type II. These error types have been used beyond hypothesis testing in areas such as etymology, inventory control, computer security, spam filtering, optical character recognition, bio-metrics, medical screening, and paranormal investigation.
I have been writing a short book over the last few months, so I haven’t had time to post an article. But I worked up an idea for the book that I thought I would share on my blog. I call it the Rule of 7-15.
After unsuccessfully searching Google on two occasions for the Wheeler rules for detecting an out of control process, I decided to publish them here so I could find them again in the future.
In The Scrum Guide Ken and Jeff write that Scrum is simple to understand, but extremely difficult to master. The entire guide is only 16 pages long, including the title and acknowledgements pages. This speaks to its simplicity. The difficulty comes from implementing it in a changing world. What works today may not work tomorrow. What worked with one team, may not work with another. Using Scrum is a constant battle with change; being, well, agile.
It is no secret that I am pro-Scrum. Scrum just seems to fit better with my personality. I enjoy working on a team that is agile, self-directed, and internally motivated. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t times in which the waterfall methodology can’t be successfully used. In fact, I submit that there are some projects that would be better served by using waterfall rather than Scrum.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, an average is “a number expressing the central or typical value in a set of data…” There are several ways to calculate an average, but most people, at least non-mathematicians, use the word average to mean the arithmetic mean; or the sum of the values divided by the count of the values. The mean represents where a fulcrum would have to be placed on a number-line in order to get it to balance if we stacked blocks on it; one for each data point.
It has been a while since my last post. I took some time off from blogging and work, and spent some time up in South Dakota. We happened to be in the Rapid City area during the week of the Sturgis Rally. If you have never been to the rally, it is impossible to understand the overwhelming magnitude of the sights and sounds.
In Scrum training I was taught that Scrum teams are small, self-organizing, egalitarian, cross-functional, and atomic. There is no manager responsible for the team. The team is responsible for the team. When in doubt, I was taught, ask the team. While, in traditional, waterfall projects, a project or portfolio manager manages the team.
"Tell me about your greatest strength..."
Many interviewers asks this question without even knowing why it was originally asked. Experienced interviewers know that the answer is not important, what is important is how the interviewee handles the question. The question is useful in eliciting a reaction. Unfortunately, asking the question insinuates that there is a correct answer when, in truth, the question is based upon a false assumption: that strengths and weaknesses exist in people.
I was recently asked to take over a project that had begun to flounder. After about a week, I was able to piece together a list of problems; causes for the lack of progress.
The PICK chart is a well-known project selection tool, often used by Six Sigma practitioners to whittle down a list of potential projects. It is usually used during a brainstorming session to help select a project from among a group of project ideas. By its nature, the PICK chart is qualitative. This paper explains the benefits of using a quantitative PICK chart and explores the issues inherent in quantifying the PICK chart.
Projects are the very heart of business. They drive new product development, and make our existing products better and our processes more efficient. Without projects, we would be stuck in a time-loop of constantly repeating days. Unfortunately, most managers and executives really don’t know how healthy their projects are until they end successfully, or rise up, out of control, spilling their doom and gloom over the entire organization.