Ning.com is a meta-social network. It is similar to myspace, facebook, and all the other new-media thingees, only instead of having a universal network that you are plugged into, it allows it’s users to create specifically themese universes, then subscribe to one or more.
I belong to four Ning Rings:
testrepublic – The Asian Subcontinent of India has a huge, growing tech community. Plus Pradeep is a frequent poster.
Drivenqa – Again, this is a test community, with a more European feel. Another change to interact with people I won’t meet every day.
The problem with Ning is that it’s addictive. For example, I just put up a response to “Can We Measure A Tester’s Performance?” in testrepublic and I could spend all day on it. So, at least, I’m going to try to reuse my answer here on my blog:
I think Pradeep summed it up pretty well with Prose. I’ll try to say the same thing in a shorter way, a little more scientifically.
Most measurement systems are just approximations (‘proxies’) for some other thing. We really have no great way to measure productivity, so we try something else – say bug count. Of course, it’s possible that the tester finds a bunch of trivial bugs like spelling errors.
This also creates incentive for the tester to find defects. If you measure the developers by how few defects they create, this creates a conflict of interest that leads to arguments, wasted time, and _decreased_ productivity.
So, you get what you measure, but that’s probably not what you actually want. (Cem Kaner has a great paper on “Software Engineering Metrics – who do they measure and how do we know?” – you can google it.)
However, that does not mean that we can not measure anything.
There is a big difference between avoiding NUMERIC, or “quantitative” metrics for evaluation, and simply not measuring.
An alternative to measuring is, well, managing.
I will give you an example:
Do you measure the length of the hairs on your head?
Then how do you know when to get a hair cut?
You can use similar techniques to manage an organization. (I should add that I am find with metrics – in some cases – as information and input. For example, you can use metrics to augment a story. I am just … leery of them out of context.)