Archive for July, 2007

Sissy Load Tests

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007 by The Director

In this week’s SD Times, Larry O’Brien identifies a problem that load testing didn’t uncover:

Perhaps the only thing worse than a slow uptake of your application is a smash hit. Users have a way of outfoxing everything, including load tests, and the imperative to respond to existing customers can absorb all the working hours of a team that is scheduled to move on to the next version. Worse, when a product is exposed to an order of magnitude more users than planned and when the product is used more intensely than anticipated, the defect list grows rapidly, potentially panicking the team into treating the symptoms, not the causes. The resulting chaos can easily derail a team, especially one new to agile processes, where “the customer is always right” and being responsive were the values that led to the success in the first place.

Not long ago, I witnessed this very problem. I was engaged to work on the requirements and architecture of The Next Phase, which didn’t seem to have a lot to do with The Current Deployment, whose two big features were a comprehensive audit trail for management and a Web-based “dashboard” that gave users a much better view of their own context. Following the principles of “You Ain’t Gonna’ Need It” and “Don’t Repeat Yourself,” the dashboard and the auditing facilities used the same messages to request information; the dashboard, of course, stripped out the huge blobs of auditing data and presented a much-compressed summary. What was not anticipated (note the use of the passive tense to avoid blame) was that the users found the historical perspective of the dashboard very valuable and configured their dashboards to retrieve not just a day or two of history, but often everything they did in the past month.

Listen, there’s “load testing” and then there’s LOAD TESTING, and I would wager this organization did some “load testing.”


Those In The Software Quality Industry Snicker At Headline

Monday, July 9th, 2007 by The Director

Disapppointing quality results can spur real change:

Disapppointing quality results can spur real change headline
Yes, do tell us about quality.(Cross-posted at Musings from Brian J. Noggle.)

That’s No Way To Mail Merge, Son

Monday, July 9th, 2007 by The Director

It must be difficult running weekly e-mails and all, but someone should probably review the friendlies to make sure that your variable names aren’t coming through instead of, oh, I don’t know, values:

That was my name, until I had it legally changed to QA

Nancy Pelosi Fails QA

Monday, July 9th, 2007 by The Director

Well, not Nancy Pelosi herself, but her Web site has gotten the wrong sort of attention on the blogs recently (here and here and so on). It’s a simple Macromedia Flash presentation embedded within a Web site, but it has a number of problems that a trained eye would have caught.

First and foremost, whomever created the presentation used stock imagery in the most sloppy manner; they chose, to represent a story on American military medical care, a stock image of someone with a uniform featuring an epaulet talking to a doctor. Unfortunately, that epaulet said “CANADA”:

The erroneous epaulet

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