On a scale of fist to five, I’m at a ten.

(This is lightly re-edited version of a post from 2016 — I have been on planes for two days going hither and yon, therefore, we are revisiting quality.)

Quality is partly about the number of defects delivered in a piece of software and partly about how the stakeholders and customers experience the software.  Experience is typically measured as customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectations. Customer satisfaction is impacted by all three aspects of software quality: functional (what the software does), structural (whether the software meets standards) and process (how the code was built).

Surveys can be used to collect customer- and team-level data.  Satisfaction is used to measure if products, services, behaviors or work environment meets expectations. 

  1. Asking the question, “are you happy (or some variant of the word happy) with the results of XYZ project?” is an assessment of satisfaction. The answer to that simple question will indicate whether the people you are asking are “happy”, or whether you need to ask more questions.  Asking is a powerful tool and can be as simple as asking a single question to a team or group of customers or as complicated using multifactor surveys. Even though just asking whether someone is satisfied and then listening to the answer can provide powerful information, the size of projects or the complexity of the software being delivered often dictates a more formal approach, which means that surveys are often used to collect satisfaction data.  Product or customer satisfaction is typically measured after a release or on a periodic basis.
    Fist to Five is a simple asking technique. Agile teams measure team level satisfaction using simple techniques such as Fist-to-Five.  Team members are asked to vote on how satisfied they are by flashing a number of fingers all at the same time.  Showing five fingers means you are very satisfied and a fist (no fingers) is unsatisfied.  This form of measurement can be used to assess team satisfaction on a daily basis. Here is a  simple video explanation. I generally post an average score on the wall in the team room in order to track the team’s satisfaction trend.
  2. The Net Promoter metric is a more advanced form of a customer satisfaction measure than simply asking, but less complicated than the multifactor indexes that are sometimes generated. Promoters are people who are so satisfied that they will actively spread knowledge to others. Generating the metric begins by asking “how likely you are to recommend the product or organization being measured to a friend or colleague?” I have seen many variants of the net promoter question, but at the heart of it the question is whether the respondent will recommend the service, product, team or organization.  The response is scored using a scale from 1 – 10.  Answers of 10 or 9 represent promoters, 7 or 8 are neutral and all other answers represent detractors. The score is calculated using the following formula: (# of Promoters — # of Detractors) / (Total Promoters + Neutral + Detractors) x 100.   If 10 people responded to a net promoter question and 5 where promoters, 3 neutral and 2 detractors the net promoter score is 30 (5 -2 /10 *100). Over time the goal is to improve the net promoter score, which will increase the chance your work will be recommended.

Software quality is a nuanced concept that reflects many factors, some of which are functional, structural or process related. Satisfaction is a reflection of quality from a different perspective than measuring defects or code structure. The essence of customer satisfaction is a very simple question: Are you happy with what we delivered? Knowing if the team, stakeholders, and customers are happy with what was delivered or the path that was taken to get to that delivery is often just as important as knowing the number of defects that were delivered.

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SPaMCAST 543 features our essay on value chains.  In this essay, we tackle the mixed up world of Value Chains, Values Streams and Process Maps. This isn’t a vocabulary test but mixing the words up can cause a mess. Let’s solve the problem.

As a reminder – I am doing a workshop on value chains at QAI Quest 2019 (May 13 – 19 in Chicago). Do you need a discount?  Register at www.qaiQuest2019 using the code Speaker10. Let me know and we will do a hangout with Jeremy and myself!

In the SPAMCAST 543, Gene Hughson’s returns with a new entry in his Form Follows Function column. Gene and I are beginning what turned out to be a three column set on solution architects. Today we begin by discussing just what the heck is a solution architect is and does! (more…)

Book Cover

Today we begin the re-read of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.  Not counting the endnotes, my copy has 448 pages and is comprised of an introduction, 39 chapters in five parts, and two appendices — if this were a blog the book would be approximately 41 separate entries, which is my current approach to the re-read (plus one week for a recap).  The chapters are, on average, relatively short, however, I am reticent to suggest out of the box that I will combine chapters during this re-read. Therefore, I am planning that this re-read to take 42 weeks. Kahneman’s writing, while engaging, is FULL over ideas that are useful for anyone that thinks of him or herself as a leader and change agent. As I noted last week, I will need your help calling out the parts of the book that resonates with you. If you do not have a favorite, dog-eared copy please buy a copy.  Use the links in this blog to books help to support the blog and its alter-ego, The Software Process and Measurement Cast. Buy a copy on Amazon. Now it is time to get reading!   (more…)

You can ride but not all of the time!

The eight problems that cause work entry problems are diagnosable if you are willing to expend a bit of shoe leather talk with team members and stakeholders or just observe. Knowing that there is a problem is important, however, the hard part starts when you try to fix the problem or problems. Work entry problems often occur in clusters because they are a reflection of the way the organization is structured, how work is funded, methodologies and/or organizational culture. These four general categories are addressable by different types of work entry fixes. (more…)

A diagnosis or patch?

A diagnosis or patch?

The majority of work entry problems are caused by eight problems. The eight problems often occur in clusters and are a reflection of organizational culture.  Knowing that there are eight problems is useful when they can be recognized. Unless people wear their motivations on signs hung around their neck, recognition requires conversation and observation.  Hints for recognizing the top eight work entry problems are: (more…)

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SPaMCAST 542 features our interview with Kevin Rush. Mr. Rush has developed an innovative approach to facilitate sprint/iteration planning.  Kittens, exploding kittens, and fat cats are used to help teams probe whether the team understands the story and if the story is broken down well enough for the team to reduce the risk of failure.  All change agents talk about making changes at the team level but many fail to change how they work, Kevin suggests that experimenting with different approaches is eating our dog food. Way too many pet metaphors, but a great discussion.

Kevin’s Bio

Kevin is a certified Scrum Master and Agility Enablement leader at Hyland Software. Before coming to Hyland he worked as an innovation consultant and coach with for-profit and nonprofit organizations throughout Northeast Ohio. A graduate from DeVry University he spent time as Technology Coordinator for several local school districts before transitioning to ministry then back to tech! When he’s not working with teams and organizations he spends his time with his beautiful wife, Sondra, and their three beautiful daughters. (more…)

And the results are . . .

As of Friday, April 12, 2019 I am declaring the poll for the next book in the Re-read Saturday over. I will check one more time before posting this announcement but the results are pretty stark. The results

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman 64.29% (more…)