It’s not the lesson – it’s the learning

It is not the GOTO talk on “Embedded Systems – Embodied Agents, Robot Programming in Java for the LEGO NXT Mindstorms” or the LEGO Lab, University of Aarhus class that’s important. Neither is the GOTO talk “What is Value” important in it self – the key lesson is in what you learn and bring home.

The students in the LEGO lab (at my alma mater 🙂 will try out the LEGO Mindstorms NXT series to learn about robots. First the industrial ones, that have a deterministic program, secondly about self-controlling agents. Compare it to the difference between an industrial robot in and assembly line – and a toy seal for psychological care treatments for trauma patients: One is sequenced and in a known environment , and the other reactive and don’t know the environment in advance. Reminds me of routinized and bespoke activities,  Testing AND Checking left and right side of the brainComputer Science students in this course struggle to control the robot environment, but quickly learn that the real world is not ideal. They have to test and experiment, calibrate and think outside the LEGO box.

Similarly JEZ HUMBLE, talked about “What is value?“. A huge whiteboard of prioritized and estimated SCRUM tasks is not customer value in itself – it’s a tool to discuss the value for the client/Product Owner/Sponser/ the-guy-paying-for-it. Awesome is value. To get awesome – set a business model hypothesis and test it. Make the smallest viable product (When “minimal viable product” doesn’t work, the story of apple). But remember they are people too – even oracles can be wrong, and set up a measurement that will be counterproductive. Management only focus on “cost” because it’s easier to measure – test the business idea and what you care about: delivering valuable software solutions.

It’s not the talk, it’s the learning.

It’s not the CS class, it’s the experience.

It’s not the test, it’s the idea.

See also: , dealing with uncertainty

 

[Disclaimer: I had press access to GOTO-Arhus2012 on behalf on GOTOCON]

Tips and tricks for community building

Do you have a Internet community, a group, a range of followers, a tribe – then you are probably doing a lot of community management. In the end there is really no difference if you do:

All are driven (mostly) on volunteers, advocates and participants making the leap from consumers to producers. Many of these communities needs nuturing by a community manager.But sometimes it’s hard to get an overview of what needs doing. It’s all community management, as illustrated by Hinchcliffe:

See also:

That’s what friends are for

“Simon”, 6yo boy, wants a LEGO Friends set [3930]. The furniture and cakes is for his hero mini-figure “The Rescue Diver” of the city “Runkelberg”. The girl (Stephanie) in the set will be a doll, that the evil villan “Thorkild” can hammer. The Rescue Diver has the power of having a shadow that can move independently – while the oldest boy sing “Batman’s  lone hero song – being a long way away from home“.

//Keep smiling – keep shining – Knowin’ you can always count on me – for sure //

A colleague brought homemade cupcakes to work yesterday. I had the day off – but he saved one for me for the next day. A colleague in another department is not in – text her. She’s ill and send my best wishes. Writing to a friend, about a former colleague just home from hospital – here chocolate is being ordered.

Workshop facilitation using LEGO

As well known, LEGO is synonymous with “Play well” – for both kids and AFOLs. But seriously, LEGO is more than that, consider:

[LEGO Serious Play]

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY uses LEGO bricks and elements and a unique method where people are empowered to “think through their fingers” – unleashing insight, inspiration and imagination. In a very direct way, you will be able to see what everyone knows inside the company – and what they don’t know they know! Within a surprisingly short time, an organization can have a clear, shared direction with people who are confidently aligned and committed to a course of action.

Lean LEGO – The red brick cancer ]

If you would build a LEGO time line of your processes, would they be mostly red and yellow? Or would they be mostly green?

Besides the   where I elaborated on how LEGO mini figures could facilitate a discussion on both tester types and team skills. Recently I have had the personal opportunity to participate in a facilitation training, where LEGO bricks and figs was used to illustrate team members, represent user personas and user innovations. So the thing is – what do you need to get started? Choose your pieces by context: Customised Minifigures, city people or a huge pile of bricks?


More women in testing

I see more women in software testing than among developers in general. Too bad that the ratio among developers is low – but good for software testing :-). It is proof to me that Software testing is a skill of many skills and that people from different backgrounds come together to make the testing groups diverse. Some (women) come with strong domain expertise and user experiences others with people skills – and others with tech skills on par with the best. How to get more women in software testing and tech – Miss more in the pink aisle perhaps.

So I probably need both a question mark and exclamation point in the title…

Why I want there to be more women in the software industry|  May 17th, 2012 | Duana Saskia Stanley ]

It’s all about different cultures. Men and women don’t just have different physical characteristics, we have significantly different cultures which have developed over a long time and change slowly.

We have significantly different hair and clothing styles.  They say we have different ways of communicating. And as groups we almost certainly have different assumptions about the world.

The Build-A-Tester Workshop |  MARCH 13, 2012 | jlottosen ]

you might find initial engagement and strengths in a team of like-minded people – the team with the right mix of types for the context has the best options and is likely to be more successful. Said in other words a team consisting of only one ”type” would be good at only a few things and not so good in the rest.

See also What is is – is beautiful and Being Different is key

This is what we missed in the pink aisle

She learned. So. Much. She accomplished something really interesting, and fairly difficult (I know because I’ve helped out with a number of those things myself). She played aliens with her twelve year old brother, and built things with him, and they so very, very rarely play together anymore.

See also Pink Bricks are not new in LEGO

Kel Bachus

Image

An engineer friend of mine recently extolled to me the virtues of Legos for teaching math and engineering concepts to children.

As he talked, I thought back to my experiences with Legos, which had been somewhat limited and mostly involved building square house shapes and furnishing them with benches and tables.  I realized that even as a girl raised in a fairly feminist, evolved family, my first real experience with a schematic really didn’t come until I was a teenager when for a while I built and painted model airplanes.

My daughter, who’s seven, has lots of Legos.  They’re in enormous bins that live under beds or in closets, and mostly get dumped out in a sea of pointy plastic.  They stay on the floor like a huge spreading oil spill with as much collateral damage, like when I inevitably step on one in an entirely different room of the…

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