Mike Bland


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I've released go-script-bash v1.5.0, a relatively small release introducing the lib/prompt and lib/existence modules.

- Alexandria
Tags: Bash, dev tools, go script, Linux, Mac OS X, programming, technical, testing, Windows
Discuss: Discuss "go-script-bash v1.5.0" on Google+

I’ve just released go-script-bash v1.5.0, a minor update compared to the previous few releases that introduces the new lib/prompt and lib/existence modules. These modules contain functions imported from the bin/lib/impl module from mbland/certbot-webroot-setup that make working with user input and checking for the existence of files and commands a bit less onerous. All of the other features previously slated for the v1.5.0 milestone have been bumped to the v1.6.0 milestone.

With this in place, I’ll update mbland/certbot-webroot-setup to use go-script-bash v1.5.0 and resume the "Switching to Let’s Encrypt with HPKP" series.

Review comments on The Rainbow of Death have inspired a genuine research topic, but I need some help to implement it.

- Alexandria
Tags: Rainbow of Death, research
Discuss: Discuss "Researching Laggards" on Google+

During the review process for The Rainbow of Death, a few commenters asserted that most organizations are composed of Laggards. On top of inspiring me to reconsider the role that Laggards play in the change process and to add the section on The Scarlet G, it got me thinking: How can I prove my own belief that Laggards aren’t such a large proportion of most organizations?

Wouldn’t you know, as someone who’s always tended to favor direct experience over data analysis, I think I’ve landed on a bonafide research subject. Here are the elements of my hypothesis (please forgive my amateur’s attempt to frame the issue!):

  • The proportion of Innovator and Early Adopter (i.e. Instigator), Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggard populations across organizations remains roughly faithful to the bell curve used to illustrate the Crossing the Chasm model.
  • The perception of the proportions may depend on whether an organization may be classified as pathological, bureaucratic, or generative. (Thanks again to Jeff Gallimore and his "Decoding Culture: Beyond the Fluff and Back to Business" talk from DevOpsDays Balitimore 2017!)
  • This perception may also be correlated with the degree of ownership—however we may define that, perhaps in terms of pride of group identification, or influence over outcomes—that is felt across the organization.
  • Pathological and bureaucratic organizations may be more common in general; generative cultures may be more common in tech.
  • The perception of Laggards being the majority may be due to the prevalance of pathological and bureaucratic organizations, and whether those holding positions of power and influence tend towards the Laggard end of the bell curve (i.e. Laggards are rewarded more often; Pepper Lebeck-Jobe and I discussed this possibility, but neither of us can remember who posited it first).

If the data fits the hypothesis, I hope that it might change the perception of people throughout pathological and bureaucratic organizations, in that they may realize positive change isn’t such an impossible proposition given the population makeup is (hopefully) not so different from that of generative organizations.

If the data doesn’t fit the hypothesis, I hope that it might enlighten Instigators, executives, and stockholders as to why their organizations are so resistant to change, and inform and inspire creative approaches to overcoming obstacles.

In either case, I hope it’ll inspire further thought and research into what’s required to shift cultures from pathological to bureaucratic to generative, in terms of the strategies and tactics required at each step to convert Laggards into Late Majority members at the very least.

This seems like the kind of topic that would lend itself easily to a proper research survey. Is anyone who actually knows how to do this interested in helping me put it together?

Brothers John and Justin Hunter of Hexawise interviewed me for their "Testing Smarter with..." series, just posted to the Hexawise blog.

- Alexandria
Tags: Google, Rainbow of Death, Test Mercenaries, testing, Testing Grouplet, Testing on the Toilet
Discuss: Discuss ""Testing Smarter with..." interview" on Google+

I’ve the honor of having just been interviewed by the brothers Hunter, John and Justin, from Hexawise as part of their "Testing Smarter with…" series. You can now read another iteration of riffs on many of my favorite topics in the hot-off-the-presses "Testing Smarter with Mike Bland". (Note that that link posts to the “blog” version, which itself contains links to the full "Testing Smarter with Mike Bland" interview.) Thanks to both John and Justin as well as Sean Johnson, the Hexawise CTO, who recommeded me for the series.

It’s long-winded, as is my wont, as I basically brain-dumped a first draft and the Hunters decided to cut very little, despite my offer to trim things up as they preferred. Naturally there’s a lot of overlap with and references to The Rainbow of Death. Still, as I’ve advised all these years and stated over and over again, a lot of culture change is about repeating yourself, finding more than one way to say the same thing, and being redundant to the point of tedium. Ad nauseam.

Case in point, there is one bit of insight in the interview that I hadn’t expressed anywhere before, I don’t think:

Hexawise: Our CTO, Sean Johnson, shared your memorably-named “Rainbow of Death” presentation with our management team. We absolutely loved it. In your presentation, you describe a series of concrete, practical steps you and your colleagues at Google took over the course of 5+ years to overcome resistance to change, educate teams, and successfully achieve broad adoption of automated testing efforts at Google across many teams, including lots of teams that were initially very change resistant. Can you please describe for our readers 2 or 3 noteworthy aspects of that change management journey?

Mike: What I hope the Rainbow of Death model, in combination with Geoffrey A. Moore’s Crossing the Chasm model, make apparent is that different people adopt change differently. There are many needs that need to be met by and for many different people, and the chances of figuring out the perfect plan to execute before taking any action are practically zero. After all, don’t the Agile and DevOps models that are all the rage comprise tools and practices for adapting to change, for performing experiments and adjusting course based on feedback? Organizational change is no different, yet many people remain conditioned to expect waterfall-like solutions to their social problems.

And true to form, I subtly reinforced the message a little later:

Hexawise: Large companies often discount the importance of software testing. What advice do you have for software testers to help their organizations understand the importance of expecting more from the software testing efforts in the organization?

Mike: Sadly, there’s no one message that works for every company, every culture, everywhere…. Back to the Rainbow across the Chasm, testing (and DevOps) adoption is more a human problem than a technical one, and many different solutions are required for many different people and many different parts of the problem. Just as we must be free to experiment and adapt when it comes to developing features and deploying releases, we must apply the same mindset to hacking our organizations.