Lee Copeland explains that surprise is often an indicator that discovery, learning, or even delight may be just around the corner. The surprise itself can be amusing, enlightening, befuddling, disconcerting, or frightening, but surprise should not be the end of the experience; it should be the beginning. Analyze the surprise to learn why you didn't see it coming and what you gain from that.
Observing customers in a usability lab can be invaluable for improving product design. But, once your software leaves the lab, do you know what your customers are actually doing and whether or not your software meets their expectations? Learn how engineers on the Microsoft Office team apply a variety of software telemetry techniques to understand real-world usage, how the results drive product improvements, and how you can apply similar techniques.
In today's software development and test environment, we seem to have little time for either problem identification or solution implementation. What seems to work well instead (and is more fun) is to try small experiments. The idea is not to solve problems, but to try to learn in little steps.
As a lead and manager, your job to remove obstacles that impede work is most important. But of all the obstacles you find, whether they be people's perceptions, bottlenecks in the work flow, or an ill-fitted chair or desk, which do you tackle first? Johanna Rothman explains how to remove the obstacles that slow, impede, or halt project work.
No matter how well you've built it, no users will benefit from your product unless you can convince the buyers to purchase it. Selling to buyers is different than satisfying users—and you have to do both well to succeed. Consider the needs of the buyer as stakeholder. When you have no buyers, you have no users.
People collaborate—and don't—in a variety of ways. Johanna Rothman examines what happens when collaboration isn't working, and how to make it work. Watch for several barriers to collaboration including those imposed on people by the organization itself.
A software tester re-examines the role of software testers in quality assurance work, helping implement software development processes. If testers are knowledgeable, helpful, and supportive, they may be in the best possible position to help the team improve its software development process.