QA: How big is a work item?

Sometimes people email questions to me, directly. I love that (although I sometime need to postpone the answering for awhile) because it gives me such nice insight into how other teams work and function. Basically: I learn more and as you can see from the tag line of this blog… I’m into learning stuff.

The other day I got a question that I’ve heard before in variants. It’s also very reasonable and a bit complicated to answer: “How big is a work item really?”

I also got permission to publish the whole question and my answer here.

Here’s the question from their email:

We use the Jira platform for managing tickets and are using the in-built kanban board for the same. I would like to know how we can manage Subtasks within Change Requests. Would it be a good practice to have Change Requests and have subtasks...
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Getting Elixir to run on my OsX (init terminating in do_boot)

I hear more and more about Elixir from some people that I really trust and respect. That means checking-out-new-technology-time for Marcus.

Luckily installing Elixir on Os X (Yosemite 10.10, that I’m running) is super simple with Homebrew:

brew update brew install elixir 

Or is it …

Not for me as it turns out. I hope you had a better fate. This is my story.

Becasue when that was all done I ran elixir -v to check my version number and got:

"{"init terminating in do_boot",{undef,[{elixir,start_cli,[],[]},{init,start_it,1,[]},{init,start_em,1,[]}]}}" 

In the output from Homebrew I saw just a little warning but nothing that was particularly scary. So I did what every professional programmer does; searched the Internets. And on GitHub I found this issue for Elixir, which sounds exactly like that I was...

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Only help those that want help

I tweeted this the other day:

I continued to think a bit about that, especially after a little bit depressing response I got.

What would the opposite to that be? Help those that doesn’t want help. How stupid doesn’t sound? Or “Don’t help those that want help.”

I don’t know how much time and effort I’ve spent on the opposite. Trying to convince people that they need to change, when they don’t want too. Or forcing (yes, sorry … they told me to) a new process or methodology on team who were quite content with their ways and procedure.

Why do we do these things? How can anyone be this stupid? In many cases I’ve got...

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ca 15 minutes on Kanban

In this presentation I break it down to the day-to-day management of a project or team. How can we keep our focus? How can we improve? How do we even know what we are doing right now?

As no surprise to to readers of this blog this will be accomplished with kanban.

Here’s all the post in the series (the links will work as I post them):

Please read the reason and ideas behind the entire series in the first post.

It was quite a challenge and very interesting to not only boil...

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ca 15 minutes on Impact mapping

Having your mission, vision and strategy in place are essential but result in nothing, if you can’t make sure that you execute them. Can’t make sure that you take steps in your strategic plan to get closer to the vision. One of the best tools I’ve seen around this, on the strategic level, is called Impact Mapping. This presentation is devoted to this tool

Here’s all the post in the series (the links will work as I post them):

Please read the reason and ideas behind the entire series in the first post.

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ca 15 minutes on strategic plans

This is the third presentation I’ve done on mission, vision and strategic plans (and other stuff too). The time has come to strategic plans.

A strategic plan outlines our ideas, suggestions and plans for taking us from where we are today to … closer to the vision.

Here’s all the post in the series (the links will work as I post them):

Please read the reason and ideas behind the entire series in the first post.

First of all I realized that we often miss the “where we are today” part of doing a...

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ca 10 minutes on Vision statements

This is the second post about my presentation series on Mission, Vision and Strategy and some other things.

In this post I will hook you up with my presentation on Vision statements.

Here’s all the post in the series (the links will work as I post them):

Please read the reason and ideas behind the entire series in the first post.

Vision statements paint a picture of a future where we are executing the Mission perfectly. This is why it’s important to understand and have a great mission statement - that makes creating the...

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ca 10 minutes on Mission statements

My main task here in Indonesia is to help our hospital to work out good strategic plans. It’s a very interesting task since long-term strategies seems to not be very prominent in the Indonesia culture.

There’s also a translation issue about the word itself, Misi (mission), apparently have a different meaning for Indonesians that I use it. In this presentation I clarify how I use the word: as the reason for an organization to exists - our purpose.

Here’s all the post in the series (the links will work as I post them):

Please read the reason...

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New series: Marcus on mission, vision and strategy... and doing it

Where I currently work there’s been a problem with budgets for traveling. And another with authority. Which basically mean that the people that I’m here to try to help will not get my help; there’s no money to travel there and I have no authority, which is basically a deal-breaker in Indonesia.

What to do? Well, since I grow bored very fast without anything to do I tried to find a way.

I started a series of presentations about the topic I wanted to talk with “my clients” about, recorded them and uploaded to YouTube. I even made extra effort to do great subtitles, in two languages, just to increase the chance that they will understand me.

Before anyone tells me; yes - I know that this is maybe the worst possible way of making sure that you get an important message across to someone that needs it....

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McDonalds - a tool to explain flow

This post brought to you in cooperation with … no. Just kidding.

The other day I went with my kids to McDonalds here in Bandung. For some reason this is still the incarnation of celebration for them. “Yah! Soft burgers with hard pressed meat!” And me; I’m happy when they are happy.

As I stood in line I noticed a problem. The queue kept of customers kept piling up, but no one got served. Being the one I am I tried to analyze the situation and in doing so I realized that a McDonalds restaurant is a very good way to explain flow.

In this post I’ll try to tell you what I meant.

One thing that was a little bit strange, in our case, was that there was people at every cash register. They were taking orders like crazy. And getting drinks too. But no one got...

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