Nik

Nik has written 499 posts for niksilver.com

Take people with you

It’s slightly egocentric to look at someone doing their job and imagine yourself doing it instead, and it’s naive to look at the work of world leaders and declare that they’re doing it wrong. So in this post I’ll do both. Here in the UK the prime minister, Theresa May, is trying to implement Brexit. … Continue reading

Burn-up charts made even easier

I’ve updated my Google Sheets burn-up template once again. Here are the changes: There’s a handy new shortcut key for the most common action: adding a new line to record a change in a user story. This is Shift + Ctrl + Alt + 1 on PC and Shift + Option + Cmd + 1 … Continue reading

Talking as a cure for politics

The other day I was discussing org structures with a colleague. We agreed there was potential for two parts of the organisation to come into conflict, and we also agreed on the solution: they should talk to each other. For all the procedures and terms of reference that anyone might dream up, in the end … Continue reading

What we say isn’t what they hear

I am frequently surprised now imperfect human communication is, and how ambiguous it is. We think something, we turn it into words, we speak those words, those words get heard by another person, they get interpreted by that person, that interpretation gets stored, and then it gets recalled. Each of those steps is an opportunity … Continue reading

Improve quality through doing the thing more often

The other week I was reading about the quality problems with major Windows 10 releases. To recap, Microsoft started rolling out to the public their second Windows 10 release of the year (called 1809), but had to halt it quickly when it was discovered it was deleting some people’s files. Before Windows 10 Microsoft would … Continue reading

The Stoic’s guide to risk management

One of the things that first got me thinking more constructively about risk management was the problem of how to best deal with risk and uncertainty. In 2014 I wrote about how to think about risk differently, which led to finding better ways to deal with it. Since then I’ve written about creating opportunities, seeking … Continue reading

An example of risk not being a point

I’ve written before about not regarding uncertainty and risk as things with a single probability and a single measure of impact. I called these “point risks”, as such a fictitious event sits at a single point on a chart. Now I’m happy to learn that a paper entitled “Cost of Data Breach Study”, by Ponemon … Continue reading

On being “not proved” wrong

I’ve often said I like being proved wrong. It’s good to do things well or have great ideas, but when someone shows us a different way which is successful it can help change our outlook on things, and we learn something new. I remember one time I proposed a way of triaging bugs coming into … Continue reading

Remember the lessons from history… and their context

Our corporate rules, customs and processes are there for reasons. We usually know what those reasons are, or we make assumptions, but often we forget the context behind them. That can lead to problems. Here are two examples… 1. The case of the many gates My friend Gus Power tells the story (better than me, … Continue reading

Managing the business, not the risk

There’s a subtle idea around risk management that I’ve come to understand, and which Norman Marks repeats often: “It’s not about managing risk. It’s about managing the organization for success!” I say it’s subtle because I occasionally get it wrong, and it seems well-known organisations do, too, which is what Norman is complaining about in … Continue reading