A Bug is Just an Unwritten Test That Failed

This is how Peter Antman in his short eBook Stop The Line describes a bug.

It happened that I’ve read his book a few years ago, but opening it again these days, I found it as confirmation of the efforts doing lately in my organization. Peter outlines the necessity of short feedback loops, testing code as soon as it is written and verifying it as frequently as possible.

The book presents the roots of the automation process started a hundred years ago by Sakichi Toyoda- years before Toyota became an automotive company. Automation with human touch was the aim.

The aim to build quality in is the core of the famous Toyota Production System. It is called Jidoka (autonomation), i.e. automation with a human touch, which is a process of bringing the human detection in discovering quality problems when
they appear. Every worker in his reach has an alarm button (called andon) to signal any abnormality, problem or a quality issue. Such an act may bring the whole production to stop – literary.

jidoka andon

Now, compare this to the process of software creation. We have a number of tools to speed up the coding and testing, like syntax and semantics instant checkers, automatic build, automatic tests… continuous integration (CI).
How often do we stop all developers when build is broken and CI tests fail?
A CI failure is not really a halt in the process, it is rather a call for an action, a request to investigate what went wrong and WHY. With the CI, we have a mechanism to create the CULTURE (see the post about culture) of  learning and thinking about quality.
As Peter says:

If you – as a developer, as a manager or as a company – are not prepared to change the culture and, at least initially, pay the price of stopping the work and start chasing defects, I would question the value of having automated continuous integration tests. It’s even worse than that. If you have a continuous integration environment that is frequently (or always) red and you don’t stop the line, the system will decline over time. Each instance that the line
is not stopped will result in a push for producing more bugs.

3dhologramPerhaps in the future we will invent a new paradigm of creating faults-free software when we just specify our wishes, or our thoughts and a 3D hologram will present the solution/product in front of us.
Hmm, not a bad idea – such a pity I shared it publicly…

However, till then, try to follow the practice which is holding now for a hundred years… and gives results. Give me your thought on this – I will HIGHLY appreciate them!

The Most Valuable Advice – A Feedback

The Most Valuable Advice – A Feedback

When we talk about the personal feedback, no matter how mature and how senior we are, leaders need a feedback, not only from their “supervisors” [2], but also from their peers.

Some years ago, we had a management workshop with the external human resource facilitator. As a part of the team bonding activities the feedback session was organized on a way that everyone writes anonymously three positive and two things to improve for each of the team members. At the end of the session, all of us received a bunch of yellow stickers from which we needed to present ourselves in front of the team.

You might get surprised how others see you! Presenting self through the light of the yellow stickers that talk about you is a great way to learn and understand some more things about yourself and others in a same time. It is in accordance to the Johari Window [1] shown on the picture

Johari Window

Johari Window


We are all blind for certain things.

Such an exercise makes a better bonding with others.

At the end, we needed to commit on three things to improve in the next three months in front of the team, while the facilitator would remind us to persist.

Having myself the opportunity to lead the team of leaders, we repeated similar sessions few times. Last time we get rid of the yellow stickers and talked openly one at a time about each of us.

[Tweet “Having feedback from your peers and team members is the best advice you can get!”]




As we progress with our growth, learning and bonding within our team, we should think innovatively about getting a feedback from our team members on a regular basis. We can always improve, so make commitments to the improvements suggested by your team pals.

[1] The Johari window is a technique created and named after Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in 1955 to help people better understand their relationship with self and others…more

[2] I personally don’t like to use the word supervisor, especially in the context of leadership. However, here is related to the process of formal feedback, or annual individual talks often prescribed as a process.