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Applying AI/ML to the Fatal Flaw in Online Grocery:
Injecting quality into order fulfillment

Two weeks of receiving zero bananas in my online grocery pickup is a crime in my banana bread-obsessed household. I suspected a COVID-related supply chain snafu but called the store to check. The online grocery website requires customers to select either green or yellow bananas. When one type of banana is out of stock, the surrogate grocery shoppers do not routinely substitute green bananas for yellow ones, or vice versa,… Read More »Applying AI/ML to the Fatal Flaw in Online Grocery:
Injecting quality into order fulfillment

The Importance of Klara and the Sun For Data Science Workers:
An understated novel that tackles big AI issues

Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro probably didn’t intend his quietly intense, metaphysical science fiction novel, Klara and the Sun, to be a didactic tale for Data Science workers. For those of us professionally orbiting or embedded in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Ishiguro’s haunting story subtly addresses many of the challenges and controversies in the field today. Klara, an “Artificial Friend” (AF), is the eponymous narrator of this tale. AFs exist… Read More »The Importance of Klara and the Sun For Data Science Workers:
An understated novel that tackles big AI issues

Ten New Professionally Relevant Nonfiction Books:
Business and life lessons in peculiar places

It delights me when a nonfiction book I read for pleasure and not work unexpectedly provides professional insights. It’s a double whammy. Sure, I can learn the lingua franca of technology management by reading business bestsellers like Good to Great (Hedgehog concept) or The Lean Startup (Build-Measure-Learn-Pivot concept). Often, however, books not classified as “business” yield the sweetest and rarest inspirational nuggets. I chose each nonfiction book on the following… Read More »Ten New Professionally Relevant Nonfiction Books:
Business and life lessons in peculiar places

Subtractive Versus Additive Software:
Striving for simplicity while ensuring utility

Using training wheels to learn bike riding is officially passé. Ryan McFarland closed the training wheel coffin with his 2007 invention of the Strider, a bike without pedals, brakes, or a chain that children ride Fred Flintstone-style. This innovation, where key bicycle parts are removed, is a demonstrably better way for young children to learn to ride. A recent Washington Post article (April 15, 2021) begins with the Strider bike… Read More »Subtractive Versus Additive Software:
Striving for simplicity while ensuring utility

When Buying is Better Than Building:
Navigating a complex decision

Asking a developer if she wants to write code is like asking a surgeon if she wants to cut. When facing a build or buy decision for software, it’s best to strategically use developers for technical evaluation but not let them be the final arbiters. The build versus buy decision has only become more complicated over time and requires skill and thoughtfulness to prevent the process from becoming a Lernaean… Read More »When Buying is Better Than Building:
Navigating a complex decision

A CTO’s Unsexy Decisions Matter the Most:
It’s Not All About the Technology Stack

An accomplished CTO spoke to me recently, lamenting the technology stack choice of the previous CTO. She noted the team’s inability to easily deploy software and wondered if the previous CTO’s choices were the cause. A bit of additional probing revealed underlying architectural, design, and quality problems that prevented rapid and safe delivery. Her opinion was that using back-end JavaScript instead of an older language would both open the doors… Read More »A CTO’s Unsexy Decisions Matter the Most:
It’s Not All About the Technology Stack

Quality Series Part Three: Is Continuous Delivery Dead?:
How to Separate Aspiration from Pragmatism for Enterprise Software Releases

High-end Thoughtworks consultants Jez Humble and David Farley wrote the book on Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD). The thought leadership espoused by Martin Fowler, Humble, and Farley around CI/CD provides customers with well-tested, frequent deployments. Dig deeper into Continuous Delivery’s principles, and, interestingly, very few engineering teams follow them. Is Continuous Delivery dead? Part 2 of this series outlines different use cases, some of which lend themselves to Continuous Delivery (CD)… Read More »Quality Series Part Three: Is Continuous Delivery Dead?:
How to Separate Aspiration from Pragmatism for Enterprise Software Releases

Quality Series Part Two: Continous Deployment – Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Nostalgia for simpler times often glosses over the rough edges of the past. We may complain about our COVID-19 isolation, but it’s nothing compared to our ancestors who lived through the Spanish Flu (1918-1920) without internet connectedness. The previous post in this series exposes the negatives of old-time, infrequent software releases while presenting the good and the bad of the current day Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) approach. No matter how… Read More »Quality Series Part Two: Continous Deployment – Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

Quality Series Part One: The Challenge of Customer Experience with Continuous Deployment

A good customer is a disgruntled customer. It’s these squeaky wheel customers who find value in their vendors’ enterprise software products, impatiently waiting for new features. The adoption of Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipelines enables ambitious companies to release production software rapidly – sometimes several times a day. Yesteryear’s customers anxiously awaiting new releases now benefit from obtaining hot-off-the-presses features. In an ironic twist, customers now complain about getting blindsided… Read More »Quality Series Part One: The Challenge of Customer Experience with Continuous Deployment

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Heavy-Duty Fleets and Sustainability:
Live for the future and Act in the Present

Gladstein, Neandross, & Associates’ State of Sustainable Fleets 2020 Report provides an exhaustive exposé of not just Battery Electric Vehicles, but the state of Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Natural Gas, and Propane trucks, all of which are looming large on the near-term horizon. The Sustainable Fleets Report paints a rosy picture of a sustainable future for heavy-duty trucking, but it also delineates the myriad obstacles to remove before realizing this green nirvana. Sustainable solutions are promising, but the next Diesel engines will continue to dominate for at least the next ten years. What’s a fleet to do in the meantime? Plenty!