Doug Toppin's Blog

My thoughts on technology and other stuff

Podcast Review: FoodFight

I regularly listen to various podcasts while walking my dog, commuting and so on and wanted to pass along a recommendation for the Food Fight podcast (http://foodfightshow.org/, @foodfightshow) which covers various devops subjects. It is excellent, stays on topic and has guests from various aspects of software technologies. The recent episode Show 64 - ‘The Future of DevOps’ is particularly good in that it includes Andrew Clay Shafer (@littleidea) and includes some discussion on using metrics to evaluate and run businesses (in addition to various other thought provoking discussion). One point made was that it becomes easy for organizations to begin a process improvement program and then simply focus on the metrics of that program rather than evaluating the result of the activities. By that I mean “our six sigma program is training x people per week and assisting y projects per month so it must be helping us” as opposed to verifying that “our costs per LOC, task, sprint, activity… have dropped and our quality factors have improved which might be because of our six sigma program”. Of course doing means that you have to be able to collect and analyze those metrics but I believe that there is more value in that vs simply assuming that some process improvement program is producing a useful result (for the cost). If you only count the number of activities that the program is associated with and assume that it is good then it is easy to become tempted to add more money or more process to the program and impose it on more projects which might not help anything at all and losing opportunity to pursue more useful activities with that budget. This is a much larger subject to consider that I’ve done here but I wanted to pass along the reference because it was fresh in my mind.

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