when it shocked us

A while ago I set myself a goal of reading all four volumes of Jerry Weinberg's Quality Software Management twice. I'm 7/8 through and this morning some of volume 4, Anticipating Change, really spoke to me.

Figure 10-9 extends the simple view of a feedback controller, to show that the environment of each level contains both the levels above and below.

In a feedback control system, the roles of system and controller are symmetrical. It's only our perception that determines which is controller and which is controllee, which is high and which is low.

In all the cases I have examined, the error correction mechanism seems to start at the lowest possible level and slowly works its way higher. [Donald Norman. Psychology of Everyday Things].

Norman is talking about correcting errors in handling everyday things, like being unable to insert the car key, trying again, trying the key upside down, trying another key, wiggling the handle, trying another door, and finally realizing that it's the wrong car. But the same way of progressing through levels is commonly found in correcting organizational faults.

Maturity tends to mean reliability.

In terms of the Feedback Control Model, every one of the more than a hundred failures I've studied closely can be attributed to poor management.

Software is invisible only when we have not developed the correct engineering measurements. A hundred years ago electricity was considered invisible. We only knew of its existence when it shocked us.

Software often lacks sufficient stability to make meaningful measurements.