Why do we in the West celebrate democracy? The reason is that democracy is how we unshackled ourselves from kings and lords who subjugated us, stole from us, raped us, and squeezed us into the subsistence margins while they lived with excess and privilege.


Indeed, anything is better than that — even democracy is better.

But democracy is really mob rule with lipstick. It is a popularity contest, like in high school. It is a tyranny of the majority. It is the elevation of the lowest common denominator. In fact, it is far worse than those things.

Democratic countries hold…

Have you noticed that Google search results have been getting worse and worse? That now they seem to be mostly product ads? And if you look for something obscure, that has a name similar to something that is “trending”, it is almost impossible to find what you are actually looking for?

The “trending” and pop culture things are pushed way to the top, so that one cannot find intellectual content — just popular content, even if the intellectual content is a better match for your search criteria.

Google is now driven mostly by popularity, instead of accuracy of search. …

Most Agile transformations struggle. According to an Allied Market Research study, “63% of respondents stated the failure of agile implementation in their organizations.” This is despite the fact that Agile is increasingly seen as a strategic enabler. According to a McKinsey article, “Done right, [Agile] could reduce risk and improve decision making.”

One of the biggest challenges in an Agile transformation is that executive leadership does not “get it.” In a Forbes article, Peter Bendor-Samuel explains that “in companies with a culture focused on meeting objectives and never failing, executives often proclaim [Agile] experiments and pilots as victories even when…

(image from Project Noosphere)

In the September 2018 issue of Nature, two physicists, Daniela Frauchiger and Renato Renner, describe a thought experiment in which two different “observers” — say two people — each perform an experiment, independently — but on the same thing, which is a system that is in a “quantum state”. A quantum state is one in which one can fully characterize the quantum parameters of the system. Generally only small groups of particles that are isolated from other particles can be put into a quantum state.

The catch of the thought experiment is that one observer is also observing the experimental…

It is true that many people expend too much energy on story estimation. Your are right - they don't measure value. They do have a use: to enable a PO to trade off projected effort versus value, and historical velocity informs one in projecting what might get done by a time in the future. But the points themselves are meaningless, and do not indicate value.

I also agree with the excellent point that velocity is meaningless unless one also estimates technical debt accumulation.

I also agree that the sprint review is an idiotic ceremony. …

The space tech industry has been stuck in a loop of re-inventing the same designs again and again for the past 40 years. You can see this in Boeing’s version of a “modern” spacecraft — which has the ludicrous name of “Starliner”. It is a mere space capsule that looks just like the command module of the Apollo rocket from the 1960s. Here are both, with the “Starliner” on the left, and the 1960s era Apollo Command Module on the right:

More than fifty years have passed since the Apollo Command Module was designed. …

Just as those who bring their horse onto an airplane must show that the animal is equipped with a poop diaper, and can stand quietly between the passenger’s legs and a bulkhead, babies should be certified to be “plane ready” as well.

A doctor’s note, combined with a medication receipt, would get one a stamp on one’s boarding pass, indicating that one’s baby is equipped. The agent at the boarding gate would scrutinize the baby:

Does he or she look calm, quiet, and glassy eyed? — you can pass.

If not, of if you don’t have the required paperwork, you…

I am an Agilist. The company that I co-founded in 1995, with almost 200 employees by the year 2000, adopted eXtreme Programming (XP) that year. My 2005 book High-Assurance Design interpreted secure and high reliability engineering practices in an Agile context, proposing a concrete answer to the question, “How can organizations build highly reliable and secure systems using Agile methods?” Since then I have helped more than ten large organizations to move to Agile and DevOps approaches.

But the Agile community is very off the rails. It teaches people an ideal model that does not work. This model is like…

This book connects the dots. Rethinking Agile: Why Agile Teams Have Nothing to Do With Business Agility, by Klaus Leopold, explains in simple terms why organizations that adopt Agile tend to see these results, or should I say lack of results:

  • Their products loses, or fails to attain, a customer focus.
  • Their time to market for product features remains the same, unimproved by Agile.

It is not complicated — this is most definitely not rocket science — but conceiving, building and delivering products today involves so many steps and so many different types of expertise, that few people know the…

  1. Repeal the Bayh-Dole Act and replace it with a law that places patents for Federally funded research into the public domain. The Bayh-Dole Act has had the unintended consequences that it has corrupted the missions of universities, which were education and pure unbiased research. Now, corporations partner with universities, biasing the work, and pushing it toward ROI-based approaches which favor expensive drug treatments over cures. Universities have become intellectual property factories.
  2. Make insurers pay their fair share of the cost of care for patients who are in drug trials. Today, if you are in a drug trial, the trial pays…

Cliff Berg

Author and IT consultant — LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cliffberg/

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