Responding to Significant Software Events
Responding to Significant Software Events
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Responding to Significant Software Events

Last updated on 2014-09-03

About the Book

A Sticky Minds reviewer wrote: "This book focuses on an issue of huge importance to software managers: how to respond appropriately to people (clients, bosses, team members) in difficult, emotionally charged situations."

"The author uses simple but effective models to explain human behavior. He includes examples from the software engineering industry to put these models in contexts familiar to software developers. The models can help all software professionals to understand and deal with conflicts more effectively, using the insights gained from this book every day with software development teams, clients, employees, and personal interactions."

"As the author has pointed out, one of the main questions in software engineering is 'Why do people so often do things wrong when they know how to do them right?' As this book shows, to do the right thing often requires that in a moment of confrontation, you must interact with all points of view, with the needs and fears and personalities of all parties to the issue. The insights, examples, and tools Weinberg provides here can help you become much more effective in working with others. I strongly recommend this book, and the rest of the set, to people who lead software projects and lead project managers themselves."

Reviewer Keith Collyer wrote that he "didn't see how anyone can consider themselves interested in software quality without having some of Gerald Weinberg's books on their shelves (preferably well-thumbed). While I don't always agree with everything that Weinberg says, he does force you to THINK. My only real quibble is that the title of the series limits the perceived coverage to software. In my opinion, the material in these books is applicable in any development activity."

Table of Contents

  • Responding To Significant Software Events
    • Preface
      • Acknowledgements
    • Part III. Significance
    • Chapter 1: Measuring Emotional Significance
      • 1.1 A Model of Extracting Significance
        • 1.1.1 Some thoughts about feelings
        • 1.1.2 Thoughts can give rise to feelings, and vice versa
        • 1.1.3 The feeling response
        • 1.1.4 Feelings are arbitrary and mysterious, but real.
      • 1.2 Observing Incongruence
        • 1.2.1 Engineering consequences of incongruence
        • 1.2.2 Ratchet Lines
        • 1.2.3 Opportunity lines
      • 1.3 The Subjective Impact Method
        • 1.3.1 Basic questions
        • 1.3.2 Key ideas
        • 1.3.3 Possible difficulties
        • 1.3.4 Example 1
        • 1.3.5 Example 2
      • 1.4 Feelings are Facts
      • 1.5 Helpful Hints and Variations
      • 1.6 Summary
      • 1.7 Practice
    • Chapter 2: Measuring Failures Before They Happen
      • 2.1 What Do Failures Cost?
        • 2.1.1 Case history 1: A national bank
        • 2.1.2 Case history 2: A public utility
        • 2.1.3 Case history 3: A state lottery
        • 2.1.4 Case history 4: A broker’s statement
        • 2.1.5 Case history 5: A buying club statement
      • 2.2 The Universal Pattern of Huge Losses
        • 2.2.1 The First Rule of Failure Prevention
        • 2.2.2 It doesn’t have to be that way
        • 2.2.3 The Second Rule of Failure Prevention
        • 2.2.4 Learning from others
      • 2.3 The Significance of Failure Sources
        • 2.3.1 Frailty
        • 2.3.2 Folly
        • 2.3.3 Fatuousness
        • 2.3.4 Fun
        • 2.3.5 Fraud
        • 2.3.6 Fanaticism
        • 2.3.7 Failure (of Hardware)
        • 2.3.8 Fate
      • 2.4 Helpful Hints and Variations
      • 2.5 Summary
      • 2.6 Practice
    • Chapter 3: Precision Listening
      • 3.1 Listening for Distortions
        • 3.1.1 Cause-effect distortion
        • 3.1.2 Mind reading
      • 3.2 Improper Generalizations
        • 3.2.1 Universal quantifiers
        • 3.2.2 Necessity and impossibility
        • 3.2.3 Hidden source of valuation
      • 3.3 Deletions
        • 3.3.1 Nominalization
      • 3.3.2 Lack of referential index
        • 3.3.3. Unspecified nouns or verbs
        • 3.3.4 Phrase deletions
      • 3.4 Listening for Attitudes About Failure
        • 3.4.1 Expected cost of failure
        • 3.4.2 The personal significance of failure
        • 3.4.3 The subjective probability factor
        • 3.4.4 The personal control factor
      • 3.5 Listening for an Impending Crisis
        • 3.5.1 Talking about the system
        • 3.5.2 Talking about the organization
        • 3.5.3 Talking about magic
        • 3.5.4 Excuses for skipping work
        • 3.5.5 Optimistic assumptions
      • 3.6 Helpful Hints and Variations
      • 3.7. Summary
      • 3.8 Practice
    • Part IV: Response
    • Chapter 4: Translating Observation Into Action
      • 4.1 The Feeling about the Feeling
        • 4.1.1 Self-worth
        • 4.1.2 Invoking a survival rule
        • 4.1.3 Defensive responses
      • 4.2 Recognizing Congruence and Incongruence
      • 4.3 Crisis Destroys the Ability to Observe
      • 4.4 Satir’s Model of Responding
        • 4.4.1 Rules for commenting
        • 4.4.2 A combination of verbal and nonverbal response.
        • 4.4.3 Controlled and uncontrolled nonverbal responses
        • 4.4.4 A look at the whole cycle
      • 4.5 Decoding the Message Behind the Message
        • 4.5.1 Explicit cover-up
        • 4.5.2 Removing yourself
        • 4.5.3 Ratcheting: a closed cycle of internal responses
      • 4.6 Helpful Hints and Variations
      • 4.7 Summary
      • 4.8 Practice
    • Chapter 5: Observations from the Empathic Position
      • 5.1 Three Basic Observer Positions
      • 5.2 Participant Observation
      • 5.3 Emic Interviewing
        • 5.3.1 The interviewing approach
        • 5.3.2 Interviewing as intervention
        • 5.3.3 Accounting for survey discrepancies
      • 5.4 Rumors as Sources of Information
        • 5.4.1 Case: “Reviews are slowing our projects.”
        • 5.4.2 The rumor envelope
        • 5.4.3 Case: Evaluating the cost of one rumor
        • 5.4.4 Case: “Rumor of the Month” award
      • 5.5 Empathic Analysis
        • 5.5.1 Deciphering “crazy” behavior
        • 5.5.2 Dealing with gossip
        • 5.5.3 Noticing what’s not being talked about
        • 5.5.4 Noticing incongruity
      • 5.6 Sensing the Mood Internally
      • 5.7 Helpful Hints and Variations
      • 5.8 Summary
      • 5.9 Practice
    • Chapter 6: Dealing With Swarms of Failures
      • 6.1 The Terminology of Error
        • 6.1.1 Faults and Failures
        • 6.1.2 System trouble incident (STI)
        • 6.1.3 System fault analysis (SFA)
        • 6.1.4 Origin and resolution
        • 6.1.5 Severity codes for STIs
        • 6.1.6 Major error-handling activities
      • 6.2 Measuring Fault Resolution
        • 6.2.1 Four major factors
        • 6.2.2 Average time to remove an STI
        • 6.2.3 Resolver location time (RLT)
        • 6.2.4 Time to resolve after location
        • 6.2.5 When faults were created
        • 6.2.6 Average resolution time per line of code
        • 6.2.7 Average size of changes
      • 6.3 Helpful Hints and Variations
      • 6.4 Summary
      • 6.5 Practice
    • Part V: Zeroth-Order Measurement
    • Chapter 7: Projects Composed of Measurable Tasks
      • 7.1 Any Task Can Be Transformed into a Measurable Project
      • 7.2 What is a Project?
      • 7.3 Steps to Create a Measurable Project
        • 7.3.1 Prepare for an iterative process
        • 7.3.2 Identify the customers
        • 7.3.3 Identify what should be preserved
        • 7.3.4 Select positive, achievable goals
        • 7.3.5 State the goal in a measurable way
        • 7.3.6 The goal shouldn’t overly constrain the project.
        • 7.3.7. Check for obstacles
        • 7.3.8 Check for resources
        • 7.3.9 Start to plan backward
      • 7.4 Incremental Planning in the Face of Uncertainty
      • 7.5 Helpful Hints and Variations
      • 7.6 Summary
      • 7.7 Practice
    • Chapter 8: Communicating About Plans and Progress
      • 8.1 Basic Rules of Human Communication Systems
        • 8.1.1 Communication always goes on among people.
        • 8.1.2 Secret communication channels always develop.
        • 8.1.3 Miscommunication always occurs.
        • 8.1.4 It’s always harder than you think it’s going to be.
        • 8.1.5 Improving one place can make another place harder.
      • 8.2 Essentials of a Zeroth-Order Measurement System
        • 8.2.1 Openness
        • 8.2.2 Honesty
        • 8.2.3 Learning from one another
      • 8.3 Building in Standard Task Units
      • 8.4 Allowing for Reviews
      • 8.5 Posting Progress in Public
        • 8.5.1 Today line
        • 8.5.2 Review status
        • 8.5.3 Delayed reviews
        • 8.5.4 Delayed starts
      • 8.6 Why PPPP Works
        • 8.6.1 Trouble can’t be hidden.
        • 8.6.2 Trouble is easy to interpret.
        • 8.6.3 A congruent message about measurement.
        • 8.6.4 It’s easy to see process improvement or degeneration.
      • 8.7 Obstacles
      • 8.8 Helpful Hints and Variations
      • 8.9 Summary
      • 8.10 Practice
    • Chapter 9: Reviews as Measurement Tools
      • 9.1 Why Use Reviews?
        • 9.1.1 Reviews improve schedule performance.
        • 9.1.2 Reviews eliminate wasted work.
        • 9.1.3 Reviews are tests.
        • 9.1.4 Reviews are training.
      • 9.2 Technical Review Summary Report
        • 9.2.1 How the measurement was done
        • 9.2.2 What the measurement was
        • 9.2. 3 Making conservative decisions
      • 9.3 Types of Material Reviewed
      • 9.4 Helpful Hints and Variations
      • 9.5 Summary
      • 9.6 Practice
    • Chapter 10: Requirements: The Foundation of Measurement
      • 10.1 Zeroth Law and Zero-Order Measurement
      • 10.2 Why Requirements?
      • 10.3 Process Models of Requirements
        • 10.3.1 Patterns 0 and 1 (Oblivious and Variable)
        • 10.3.2 Pattern 2 (Routine)
        • 10.3.2 Pattern 3 (Steering)
        • 10.3.4 Requirements leakage
      • 10.4 Startup Task Acceptance Report
      • 10.5 Helpful Hints and Variations
      • 10.6 Summary
      • 10.7 Practice
    • Chapter 11: The Wayfinder
    • Appendix A: The Diagram of Effects
    • Appendix B: The Software Engineering Cultural Patterns
      • Pattern 0. Oblivious Process
      • Pattern 1: Variable Process
      • Pattern 2: Routine Process
      • Pattern 3: Steering Process
      • Pattern 4: Anticipating Process
      • Pattern 5: Congruent Process
    • Appendix C. The Satir Interaction Model
      • Intake.
      • Meaning.
      • Significance.
      • Response.
    • Appendix D. Control Models
      • D.1. The Aggregate Control Model
      • D.2. Cybernetic Control Models
        • D.2.1 The system to be controlled (the focus of Patterns 0 and 1)
        • D.2.2 The controller (the focus of Pattern 2)
        • D.2.3 Feedback control (the focus of Pattern 3)
    • Appendix E. The Three Observer Positions
  • What Next?

Bundles that include this book

How Software Is Built
Why Software Gets In Trouble
How To Observe Software Systems
Responding to Significant Software Events
Managing Yourself and Others
11 Books
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$49.99
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About the Author

Gerald M. Weinberg
Gerald M. Weinberg

I've always been interested in helping smart people be happy and productive. To that end, I've published books on human behavior, including Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method, The Psychology of Computer Programming, Perfect Software and Other Fallacies, and an Introduction to General Systems Thinking. I've also written books on leadership including Becoming a Technical Leader, The Secrets of Consulting (Foreword by Virginia Satir), More Secrets of Consulting, and the nine-volume Quality Software series.

I try to incorporate my knowledge of science, engineering, and human behavior into all of my writing and consulting work (with writers, hi-tech researchers, software engineers, and people whose life-situation could require the use of a service dog). I write novels about such people, including The Aremac Project, Aremac Power, Jigglers, First Stringers, Second Stringers, The Hands of God, Freshman Murders, Where There's a Will There's a Murder, Earth's Endless Effort, and Mistress of Molecules—all about how my brilliant protagonists produce quality work and learn to be happy. My books that are not yet on Leanpub may be found as eBooks at <http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JerryWeinberg>; on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000AP8TZ8; and at Barnes and Noble bookstore: http://tinyurl.com/4eudqk5.

Early in my career, I was the architect for the Project Mercury's space tracking network and designer of the world's first multiprogrammed operating system. I won the Warnier Prize, the Stevens Award, and the first Software Testing Professionals' Luminary Award, all for my writing on software quality. I was also elected a charter member of the Computing Hall of Fame in San Diego and chosen for the University of Nebraska Hall of Fame.

But the "award" I'm most proud of is the book, The Gift of Time (Fiona Charles, ed.) written by my student and readers for my 75th birthday. Their stories make me feel that I've been at least partially successful at helping smart people be happy.

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