A “fan” of simplicity

This blog post from Digital Amit is an oldie-but-goodie on a quick lesson in simplicity. This could be a useful story for you to tell when motivating your teams to keep it simple!

It compares two approaches to solving the problem of weeding out an empty box of soap on a manufacturing line.

Of course, you might argue that there should be a root cause analysis to find out why the box of soap was empty in the first place, but that spoils the point of the story!

The Agile BA: Agile Business Analyst Course

I found a very good course for Agile Business Analysts, called The Agile BA.

As the homepage says, there’s 150 minutes of learning material (comprising 62 videos in 7 modules) and 30 quiz questions (with solutions) for self-assessment.

The course has a very good introduction to lean thinking, and the thought processes behind agile, which is a nice change from some educational materials and certifications that I’ve seen.

Business Analysts, project managers, developers, and business people who commission software would all benefit from understanding the material covered on this course.

It’s a shame it doesn’t count towards a recognised certification, but at $100 until the end of 2014 (and then $125) it’s very good value for money, and I recommend it to you.

The Agile BA

Fun and useful tools from Google that you might not have seen

Here’s a few genuinely useful things that you might not have realised you can do with Google.

Here’s the ones I think will be most useful or fun for you:

Set a timer, optionally full-screen: Just search for an amount of time, followed by the word timer, eg 25 minute timer (good if you’re a fan of the Pomodoro Technique!)

Google NGrams lets you see how usage of certain words in books has changed over time, from years 1500 – 2008.

See how to pronounce huge numbers by searching for the number and then typing =english, eg 1234567890=english produces “one billion two hundred thirty-four million five hundred sixty-seven thousand eight hundred ninety

Google Trends lets you see what the top searches are right now:

You can also enter a search into Google Trends to see how a search term has trended over time: http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=awesome

Google Trends Google Timer