How to Solve Unsolvable Problems

In the past, I’ve studied and attended training specifically for systems engineering and project management, and in both cases, I was struck by an interesting concept, which is that many of the challenges faced by these two roles and disciplines don’t really have good solutions. This ended up being something I encountered again and again in my roles […]

Flower Beds and Helicopter Pads

Image by Barrie Taylor from Pixabay Once upon a time, a company was hired to do some landscaping. There was a large yard, and when meeting with the customer the only user story given was, “Make this backyard look pretty!” OK, easy enough. The landscaping company had done these hundreds of times before. They had the […]

Dealing With Contradictory Requirements

Anyone here ever hear of the Iron Triangle? The idea is that, for any project, there are multiple high-level objectives competing with one another: cost, speed, and quality. And that to improve on any one you have to sacrifice the other. Let’s put this another, simpler way. You want a car that has more features, […]

Are You Off Course? Probably.

So I’m reading The Slight Edge, a pretty awesome book by Jeff Olson, and it is dawning on me how his basic principles apply to Agile. One anecdote that he mentions several times is that when a rocket is flying to the Moon it is actually off-course for over 90% of the time. Now that […]

Its Never My Fault, or How To Be A Real Superstar

Several times in my career, I have missed deadlines, delivered buggy solutions, or otherwise had failures and setbacks with my engineering efforts that weren’t really my fault. In two specific cases, unknown bugs were discovered in third-party vendor products in edge cases, and the bugs trickled up into our products in a customer-facing way. So […]