A clever person solves a problem.
A wise person avoids it.
André Bensoussan once explained to me the difference between a programmer and a designer:
"If you make a general statement, a programmer says, 'Yes, but...'
while a designer says, 'Yes, and...'"
No matter what the problem is,
it's always a people problem.
Wexelblat's Scheduling Algorithm:
Craziness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
, rephrasing Einstein, who said
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
"There's no time to stop for gas, we're already late"
We know about as much about software quality problems as they knew about the Black Plague in the 1600s. We've seen the victims' agonies and helped burn the corpses. We don't know what causes it; we don't really know if there is only one disease. We just suffer -- and keep pouring our sewage into our water supply.
When somebody begins a sentence with "It would be nice if..." the right thing to do is to wait politely for the speaker to finish. No project ever gets around to the it-would-be-nice features: or it they do, they regret it. Wait for sentences that begin "We have to..." and pay close attention, and see if you agree.
To go faster, slow down. Everybody who knows about orbital mechanics understands that.
If something is worth doing once, it's worth building a tool to do it.
Your problem is another's solution;
Your solution will be his problem.
The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.
On the radio the other night, Jimmy Connors said the best advice he ever got was from Bobby Riggs:
It is not enough to do your best: you must know what to do, and THEN do your best.
A leader is best when people barely know that he exists.
Less good when they obey and acclaim him.
Worse when they fear and despise him.
Fail to honor people, and they fail to honor you.
But of a good leader, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
they will say, "We did this ourselves."
You must be the change
You wish to see in the world
(now a bumper sticker)
Experiment escorts us last,
His pungent company
Will not allow an axiom
when the cart stops
do you whip the cart
or whip the ox?
Q: How many QA testers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: QA testers don't change anything. They just report that it's dark.
Q: How many software engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Just one. But the house falls down.
One test is worth a thousand opinions.
"If you didn't write it down, it didn't happen."
This saying is popular among scientists (doing experiments), but I believe it applies to software testing, particularly for real-time systems.
We reject kings, presidents, and voting.
We believe in rough consensus and running code.
I am a design chauvinist. I believe that good design is magical and not to be lightly tinkered with. The difference between a great design and a lousy one is in the meshing of the thousand details that either fit or don't, and the spirit of the passionate intellect that has tied them together, or tried. That's why programming---or buying software---on the basis of "lists of features" is a doomed and misguided effort. The features can be thrown together, as in a garbage can, or carefully laid together and interwoven in elegant unification, as in APL, or the Forth language, or the game of chess.
"Software is Too Important to be Left to Programmers."
... while we all know that unmastered complexity is at the root of the misery, we do not know what degree of simplicity can be obtained, nor to what extent the intrinsic complexity of the whole design has to show up in the interfaces. We simply do not know yet the limits of disentanglement. We do not know yet whether intrinsic intricacy can be distinguished from accidental intricacy.
About the use of language: it is impossible to sharpen a pencil with a blunt ax. It is equally vain to try to do it with ten blunt axes instead.
Abraham Lincoln reportedly said that, given eight hours to chop down a tree, he'd spend six sharpening his axe.
You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.
, via Paul Black
Here is a great page about some kinds of management actually observed, and some insights on quality processes, by , via Robert Watson
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."
The First Rule of Program Optimization: Don't do it.
The Second Rule of Program Optimization (for experts only!): Don't do it yet.
My friend Roger once showed me his plan for a file system. He planned so many months to write the code, so many to debug, and so on. I said, "You mean you plan to write code with bugs mixed in, and then strain the bugs out?" He replied, "Sounds kind of dumb when you put it like that."
When I worked in the Operations Research department of a big company, my boss taught me to ask, every 30 minutes, "What are we trying to optimize?" so that I wouldn't waste the next 30 minutes.
When asked how to respond when a root cause analysis proposed "human error" as a cause:
Quote Nancy Leveson: "Human Error is a Symptom, Not a Cause." And then read her book.
Trying to improve software quality by increasing the amount of testing is like trying to lose weight by weighing yourself more often. What you eat before you step onto the scale determines how much you will weigh, and the software-development techniques you use determine how many errors testing will find.
Suppose you notice your neighbor filling the gas tank of his car from the garden hose. You tell him, "That won't work." And he says, "I know, but it's much cheaper."
You can't rewrite a program too many times, especially if you make sure it gets smaller and faster each time.
25 Sep 2021