Showing posts from July, 2006

Systems Thinking

Systems thinking is a theory that argues that social systems must be studied as a whole. It is impossible to predict the effects of the whole system by studying its parts in isolation. A "social system" can be anything from a family unit, to a system of interacting economic units (companies, countries, etc.), or even an ecological system. Systems thinking is an important part of the theoretical foundation for agile software development methodologies. I got interested in it some years ago because I kept stumbling on references to the systems thinking bible, The Fifth Discipline , by Peter M. Senge, in books about agile methodologies. Somehow, there was always one more programming book to buy first, but then I spied a copy at my parents-in-law's house, and borrowed it. After a few pages, I was hooked. Since then, I have worked systems thinking into the way I work. I have found it to be a valuable tool when trying to figure out what is really happening in different situation

A Manager's Mind is a Strange Place

A while ago (in another company than the one I work for now) I worked for a company that did not believe in making things easy for their developers. Everyone had to work in an open landscape. The landscape was divided into rectangular cells. Developers sat at corner desks, so that developers in a cell faced away from each other. To make communication between developers even more difficult, people working on the same project were usually located in different cells. A new and very complicated project began. We developers realized that the seating arrangements would never work. There was no way we could succeed if we could not talk to each other. We decided to ask our department manager for a project room of our own. The department manager realized that we needed to work close by to have the slightest chance of success. "OK," he said, "you'll get the room, for this project, because it is an unusually difficult one, but of course you can't get one every time you need

The Variance Trap Images and Animations are Back

A couple of people have emailed me about missing images and animations in my Variance Trap series of postings. The broken links were due to a reorganization of my web site. I have finally fixed the problem. You can view the postings here: Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 , Part 5 .