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Lessons Learned from 5th Graders

Lessons Learned from 5th Graders

I’ve been taking time to watch organizational dynamics in unconventional populations to learn more about group dynamics in the work place.

Yesterday, I led a bird identification field trip with Mr. Hannah’s 5th grade class at Alki Elementary school.  We saw over 10 species including an Osprey and a Bald Eagle.

Here are some things that happened and the consequent lessons learned:

I asked the group to sit on the grass so we could go over the use of binoculars and bird guide.  Several did not want to sit on the grass.  I responded that we could stand and went on with the instruction.

Lesson: It’s okay to change procedure if it does not have that much of an effect on what needs to be done.  Sometimes we can get hung up on procedure or methodologies, but it’s all smoke without substance.

Instead of telling the students what they’ll see and how exciting birdwatching is, I just proceeded into a description of what they needed to know: how to use the resources they had available.

Lesson: Cut to the chase, give people the tools and they’ll usually figure it out.  Most of the time, a leader’s role is to provide assistance, guidance and minor adjustments here and there.

One of the students would tend to wander off from the group.  Saying his name in a clear and direct voice brought him back to the group.

Lesson: The sound of a person’s name is a powerful attention getter.

Throughout our trip, numerous birds were spotted.  After watching and identifying the bird, I would ask who had found it and give them credit for getting us on the bird.  Surprisingly, the group was very generous in giving credit and no one ever squabbled about who saw the bird first.

Lesson: Take the time to give credit.  Trust the group to identify those who make significant contributions.

Sometimes the girl who was tallying our totals would hit a boy with the clipboard for no apparent reason … well, except for being a 5th grader.  The boy would protest, but seeing no gaping wound or blood, I told him to look for more birds and the girl to focus on keeping the tally.

Lesson: Don’t give petty disputes too much attention.  Keep the combatants focussed on the work at hand.

We saw another birding group under a tree who seemed to have spotted something interesting.  We went to their tree and discovered a crow on a nest.

Lesson: It’s OK to see what your competition is doing.

Several times, the children would report the observation of squirrels, small children, defecating dogs or creepy school visitors.  Instead of chastising them or telling them not to look, I explained that those were all uninteresting as they were mammals and not birds.  I asked them to instead find a creepy or defecating bird.

Lesson: Don’t let marginal issues sway your attention – keep it focused on what counts.

Unquality Cover Letters

Unquality Cover Letters

A friend of mine sent me these snippets from cover letters for a testing position./doh

Solution focused professional with extensive experience in applying innovative, state-of-the-art concepts in the design and management of Quality Control operations and Victorious in leading testing activities and consolidating operations to streamline cost and advance productivity

I have attached my resume for QA position , Right Now i m working as the Sr QA analyst/Lead in healthcare software company.I have read ur job

If You have Any question or concern plz let me know

I have been into planning & Scheduling as per the pre-defined schedule

This is <NAME WITHHELD>, looking for QA positions. I came across this requirement in Craigslist and i feel like that my skillset would certainly suit the requirement as I got enough expereince in  Object Oriented Programmign Language, C#, Java, Javascript and i could easily cope up with the things and also worked in automated testing of the applications using Junit, Jmeter, VSTS , STIQ etc.

Top that all of with great communication, interpersonal and test team management skills and the only thing you could ask for is game development experience. Oh yeah, I have that too.

I will be able to quickly asses, adapt and stive to improve each project I am assigned to

I am writing this to present my credentials for the above mentioned position. Find attached herewith my CV as an expression of interest in exploring an opportunity with you

My experience as a lead unfortunatly is in leadership in day to day activities only

helping to ensure vendors can achieve combatibility with Windows

Kernal Debugging

Satana Ex Machina

Satana Ex Machina

A couple of years ago when I was developing a game concept for a big brand, I came up with the idea of a satana ex machina.  While a deus ex machina provides a solution to resolve a conflict, the satana ex machina would provide the initial problem of a story.

Of course, a deus ex machina is a weak narrative element and its counterpart probably wouldn’t be any better since these figures are completely removed from the story and don’t have any stakes in resolving or creating conflict.  Still in all, I found the idea of an infernal imp creating havoc for the protagonist intriguing.  And I think that a satana can be more palatable than a deus since the audience wants to see the protagonist solve a conflict, but the source of the conflict isn’t as important to understand.

But a villain whose motivations is understood is always meatier.

Black-tailed Gull

Black-tailed Gull

I took advantage of the good weather to take a look at the Black-tailed Gull that had been seen in Tacoma.  This is a very rare bird and is usually found on the other side of the Pacific.

A gaggle of birders with scopes marked the best vantage point along Marine View drive to spot the gull.  Unfortunately the sun was shining right on the log boom where the gull roosted along with a couple hundred other gulls.

My birding partner, Tina, set up her scope and quickly found the bird.  It was clearly an adult gull and had a black tail with just a smidgeon of white at the edge.  The gonydeal angle was fairly straight.  All characteristics of this gull.

Later we showed the bird to a man from Vancouver who knew the bird very well from living in Asia.  As the bird flew off into the sun, he confirmed our find.

I did a life bird happy dance!