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Showing posts from January, 2007

Go with the flow

Today we're talking about process flows. And really, I think it's about time that someone thought about this for a while, don't you?

Who doesn't enjoy thinking about process flows? I know that I do. When I'm standing in line at Starbucks waiting for my third Venti Bold Roast Selection of the Day, I think, "Isn't there a faster way to get this coffee into my system? Why can't they just set up a series of feeder tubes and credit card machines right by the entrance? Better yet, why can't they just pipe it into the office? We already have that special spout for 'filtered' water, so why not another for Starbucks Bold Roast, and another for the Light Notes? And who drinks the Light Roast, anyway? What's the point? I mean, you might as well go to McDonalds and order the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, large fries, and a Diet Coke and tell the cashier, 'I'm trying to lose weight.' You know, I could really use some coffee about no…

Evil Mutant Attack Squirrel of Death

The Rodent's Burrow: Evil Mutant Attack Squirrel of Death

How can you not be entertained by something with that title? We have a LOT of squirrels around our house, living on a wooded lot and all, but I've never managed to tick one off quite like this. There was that time at Penn when a squirrel decided that I wasn't sharing enough of my muffin and tried to take it out of my hand, and then he fastened onto my thumb until I threw him across the courtyard, but at least he had the sense to run off after he landed.

The best part of this story: "And now he has a patrol car...."

(Thanks to Miss Snark for the link)

Think you're smart? Prove it on Motley Fool CAPS

Think you invest better than anyone else? Prove it on the Motley Fool's new tool, Motley Fool CAPS. If you want to take me on, then you can start at my CAPS page (login required). I'm not in the top 100 yet, primarily because I only rate companies that I have an informed opinion on (as opposed to that Eldrehad guy), but I'm beating the market rather respectably. So bring it on, smarty-pants!

Death by PowerPoint

There are two groups of people who need to review the following links: those who think they need help, and those who don't. For those who don't think they need help (you know, the PowerPoint junkies huddled out by the dumpsters swapping illegal clipart), I'll make sure you understand me by speaking in your own dialect, Bulletese:

You need to read this information if: The thought of putting together a presentation and then standing up in front of a group of people to deliver it makes you physically ill, or at least a little woozyYou hate Microsoft with a towering purple passion, not because they stole the desktop platform from IBM and Apple, not because they're an evil empire, but merely because they foisted PowerPoint upon the worldOn those rare occasions when you are forced to speak in front of a group, you never see them because you spend the entire time facing the screen and reading your slidesYou also need to review this information if: You feel naked if you leave y…

Crack the (use) case

Today, boys and girls, we're going to talk about use case modeling. Now, I don't want you to make the same painful mistakes that I did when learning about this topic a few years ago, so let me just set a few things straight right now:There is nothing funny about Use Case Modeling. Even if you think that "RUP" sounds like somewhere ScoobyDoo might tell Shaggy to look if there were a ghost above his head, please keep your levity to yourself. This is serious business, people.UML does not, apparently, stand for the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Nor is it an acronym for Unsafe Military Landing, even though that *would* be a cool name for a band.Even though we spend a lot of time talking about "actors," no real actors will be present at the session. Not even Ben Affleck, though he's probably available.Use cases are not a special kind of suitcase for carrying only useful clothes, and no one will actually be modeling any clothing. Therefore, bringing …

Thoughts on Lean Six Sigma

Here are some random thoughts that plague me about this whole Lean Six Sigma thing. I think that these are the burning questions that I think keep all of us up at night, especially if we have eaten a double dark chocolate espresso sundae while reading a Six Sigma textbook right before going to bed.
Why do we need so many sigmas? Wouldn't two or three do the job? Is it just because it makes the name so nicely alliterative? What's a KPI (pronounced "Kippy"), and why is everyone so excited about them? Is it any relation to Skippy, Alex P. Keaton's nerdy friend on the 80s sitcom Family Ties?What is the difference between Lean Six Sigma and regular Six Sigma? Does it involve Splenda? Is it possible to discuss Six Sigma while eating without spraying food on your neighbors? (Go ahead: try it.) If you were to use Lean Six Sigma for BPR to create a TQM SDLC and become ISO 9000-compliant while raising your CMM level, would your head explode?All very important questions, I …

Meeting Addiction

Do you have a Meeting Dependency? To find out, take this little test (which, out of sensitivity to our more heavily afflicted readers, avoids the use of the trigger word, "meeting")...
Do you frequently find yourself in a small room with a bunch of other people during work hours and wondering why you're there, especially since there is no food anywhere in sight?Have you ever sat for an entire hour with a group of semi-strangers who all seemed to care passionately about something you didn't understand and never said a word? Do you ever come out of a mandatory non-social work gathering and realize that, despite an hour of intense talking -- to the point that the temperature of the room has actually been raised by several degrees purely due to the amount of hot air expelled -- nothing was decided? Do you find yourself ending even your social gatherings with, "I'll schedule a follow-up so that we can continue this discussion, and hopefully come to a resolution by…