Industry transferable skills and ideas, and what that could mean to a career

21 Oct


I touched on this in my last post, but really it deserves a separate post, and here it is, and that is Transferable skills.

Some transferable skills include:

  • problem solving
  • organising
  • working to deadlines
  • listening
  • management and leadership
  • negotiating
  • personal development
  • numeracy skills
  • motivating people
  • making decisions
  • research skills



Sometimes the breakthrough you are looking for exist in another industry, this can be ideas and even a business models.

When you know more about other things, you can connect them to ideas, and have your very own Eureka moment.

More than a decade ago, 3M developed a breakthrough concept for preventing infections associated with surgery after getting input from a theatrical-makeup specialist who was knowledgeable about preventing facial skin infections.

Introducing James Dyson


One of my favourite success stories is James Dyson, James was an engineer that was fixing a Hoover for his wife when he realised the problem with the hoover was something he had seen somewhere else. James said…

I started working on the vacuum cleaner in 1979. I’d purchased what claimed to be the most powerful vacuum cleaner. But it was essentially useless. Rather than sucking up the dirt, it pushed it around the room. I’d seen an industrial sawmill, which uses something called a cyclonic separator to remove dust from the air. I thought the same principle of separation might work on a vacuum cleaner. I rigged up a quick prototype, and it did.

Introducing Integration hell


The solution to Integration hell, where code might be integrated every couple of months was to integrate as much as possible on a daily basis.

Production line engineering ideas have been incorporated in software development continuous delivery and Continious deployment and LEAN builds

First, some history on LEAN builds

Stop the Line manufacturing is a technique introduced by Taiichi Ohno (of Toyota Production System fame)  in which every employee on the assembly line has a responsibility to push a big red button that stops everything whenever they notice a defect on the assembly line.

When this was first introduced people couldn’t wrap their heads around it; it was part of manufacturing dogma that the best thing you could do as a plant manager was to keep your assembly lines running full steam as many hours of the day as possible so that you’re maximizing throughput.

His idea, however, was that by fixing inefficiencies and problems as they occur what you’re doing instead of maximizing your existing process is actually proactively building a better one.

How does this relate to Continuous Integration?

Continuous integration is a technique that allows us to run the build process just like it was a continuously running assembly line; fresh code goes in one end and (after a series of assembly steps) a build that’s ready for a human to test comes out the other.

On its own CI is a big win for a software team over an old style “daily build”, but by adding the concept of Stop the Line manufacturing to our continuous integration process we can really take things to the next level.


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