Arkisto: November 2011



Can You Measure a Feeling?

23. Novemberta, 2011 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

Antti wrote last week about trusting your feelings when doing testing work. The comments let one believe that professional first impression is usually spot on, but because they have no raw data, then what are you going to do about proving it? There ought to be some manner of metrics for it, for the feeling to become real!

In many restaurants, there are three buttons by the exit. A customer is asked to press one of them upon leaving. The buttons display a happy, neutral and a sad face. Maybe they are even colour coded. The employees can deduce after a busy day how they managed, when they take a look at the day’s button presses.

Could this approach be made use of in projects as well? Every person taking part in a project would press one of the buttons on the website. If everything shows green and happy, then the project might have good chances of succeeding. If the average starts to slip towards red, then the project manager’s alarm bells should start ringing!

For example, this is how it could work:

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Like the picture shows, I am not a user interface designer, but you should be able to understand it well enough. When the project leader sees a picture such as this, then he or she should go and listen to what the person who pressed the red button has on his or her mind. Has the day been a bad one for the employee, or does he or she actually know something that the others missed?

The gut feeling is usually right when doing software development and testing. Do away with useless measurements and measure that which everyone knows, but which has not been asked about before.

A Chance left Uncapitalized

5. Novemberta, 2011 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

I have long wondered about the custom typical to all software projects where the new talent gets thrown in the projects. Typically, it happens by handing them a brain numbing stack of documentation and making them wait for tools from the IT-department. Every project, without an exception, skips one of the most important chances to test the product at hand. What is it about, then?

In September 1983, an arts dealer Gianfranco Becchina approached J. Paul Getty museum in California. He possessed a remarkably well preserved Grecian marble statue that depicted a young man. It was evaluated to be from 600AD.

Getty proceeded with caution and started investigations about the statue. It was tested for one and a half years with various scientific methods. All the tests pointed towards the statue actually being ancient and finally the deal was closed with a sum of just short of 10 million dollars.

There was something confusing about the statue, though. An Italian arts historian Frederico Zeri was the first to bring it up. Upon seeing the statue for the first time, Zeri noticed himself staring at the statue’s fingernails. They did not seem to belong.

Next was Evelyn Harrison. One of the top authorities on Grecian sculptures who happened to be visiting Los Angeles. The curator of the museum took Harrison to take a look at the statue in the museum’s conservatory. The curator pulled the canvas from over the statue and said: “This is not yours yet, but in a few weeks’ the deal will be done.” Harrison’s first reply was merely “I am sorry.”

A few months later, the statue was taken a look at by one Thomas Hoving, a museum director from New York. Hoving had a custom of remembering the first word that sprung to mind from new things. Upon seeing the statue, Hoving remembers the word ‘fresh’.

After this series of weird coincidences, Getty decided to restart the investigations. They gathered a large group of experts on Grecian art and asked for their first impression about the statue. The majority thought that it felt weird. Could it be possible then, that extensive scientific investigations were wrong? Maybe the statue was not genuine?

For some time, the answer remained unclear. The ‘feel’ of arts gurus and scientific investigations were at odds. The statue was a point of argument in conferences. Finally, the story behind the statue began to unravel bit by bit as a result of considerable efforts made by Getty’s lawyers. It turned out, that the statue was from an arts counterfeiting workshop from Rome, from the beginning of the 80s.

The origin of the statue would never had become clear, unless the professionals would not have, or dared to, bring up the uneasy feeling they got from the statue. The first impression from the statue was surprisingly strong and hinted at something being amiss. No one could report in detail about their feelings. According to the arts guru, the statue simply gave out an uneasy feeling.

First impression is the chance, which Getty believed in. Every software project on the other hand totally neglects saving the first impressions. It is a priceless moment to gather new information regarding how good the product actually is. Take care of it and agree upon a method with which new people become acquainted with the product!