Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A College Degree Isn't an Acceptable Hiring Screen

Comment on: Do You Need a Degree to be Hired to Develop Software?
In all the time I hired developers (about 10 years), I never made a college degree a requirement.
The best developer (who was also much more - designer, coach, architect, program manager...) I ever helped hire didn't have a college degree.

Our company had just hired a new HR person that started "showing their worth" with new rules such as the dictate that all hires must have a college degree. Thankfully our team agreed to hiring him was wise and the CIO decided that dictate was nonsense and we hired the applicant.

I have written about what a great software development team we created.

In addition to a college degree being a lousy hiring screen, so are most of the automated screen poorly designed HR departments use. Years of experience, experience with a list of specific software, keywords listed, etc. are just lazy and poor criteria to use to reject applicants.

Related: Dee Hock on Hiring (2010) - Hiring – Does College Matter? (2007) - Google’s Answer to Filling Jobs Is an Algorithm (but yours shouldn't be) - The Illusion of Knowledge - Working as a Software Developer

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Did Deming and Drucker Agree on Important Management Practices?

Response to, Help needed fleshing out differences between Drucker & Deming? on The W. Edwards Deming Institute LinkedIn group.

Here are some links about the topic

There were cases where Deming and Drucker disagreed but in many ways the ideas they proposed were compatible.

Drucker did propose MBO, his version was not the same thing we criticize. Drucker did criticize how it was being implemented. I think you can argue even with the way Drucker wanted it done, but that way isn't nearly as bad as the way it was done in practice (so don't think Drucker was promoting managing in the way MBO has often been practiced).

And also don't tie Drucker to just MBO, he had lots of ideas over a very long career and many work fine with a Deming management system. I think in many ways Drucker's stuff can be more easily molded to whatever someone wants it to be - this is one reason I think you see Drucker taught in business school. They can claim Drucker wouldn't object to many things, even though, really I think he would - I am not sure Drucker spoke out so directly (especially compared to Deming).

But Drucker was direct on some things, like how bad excessive taking of company's money by executives was. And MBA programs seem perfectly fine ignore this, even though what Drucker found horrible has become mathematically 10 times worse than it was.

I think Drucker was ahead of Deming on this. I don't know that Deming ever was clear on how bad this practice was, but I think he would be clear about it today (though that is just my guess, I could be wrong). I think Dr. Deming would add that to the list of deadly diseases. Remember the original list was 5 before he added 2, to make it 7.

Related: Deming's Point 11.b of 14 - Deming versus Drucker - Why There's No Right Way to Do MBO - 3 Deming-Based Alternatives to Management by Objective

Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Value of Putting Pen to Paper

Comments on Learning by Writing… by Hand
The psychology behind the learning advantage of handwriting is starting to be understood... [Carol Holstead] "It turned out my theory was right and now is supported by research. A study published last year in Psychological Science showed that students who write out notes longhand remember conceptual information better than those who take notes on a computer."
I am also a fan of technology. And also a fan of learning and paying attention to research. Pen on paper has advantages for learning that technology has yet to equal. At the same time technology has many advantages also.

We seem to understand the advantages of using technology fairly well but under-appreciate the advantages of pen on paper. To make sure we don't lose out due to this bias we should think before we accept that pen on paper isn't worthwhile.

From a post I wrote in 2005, Measurement and Data Collection

I believe, it is better to focus on less data, really focus on it. My father, Bill Hunter, and Brain Joiner, believed in the value of actually plotting the data yourself by hand. In this day and age that is almost never done (especially in an office environment). I think doing so does add value. For one thing, it makes you select the vital few important measures to your job.
Lots of data will be kept in computers and that makes sense. But putting pen to paper has value that we too quickly dismiss.

Related: Experience Teaches Nothing Without Theory - The Illusion of Knowledge - Write it Down to Improve Learning (Ackoff)