Archive for July, 2009

Since No One Else Is Celebrating

Thursday, July 9th, 2009 by The Director

Today is the second anniversary of QAHY.  Thanks to my frequent readers and particularly to my frequent tipsters.

“Good, Cheap, and Fast: Pick Two” Means Bad And Maybe One Of The Two Chosen

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 by The Director

Andrew Binstock (not Birkenstock) writes about how quick many projects are to sacrifice quality in the futile effort to get fast and cheap:

 Consultants who specialize in jumping into sinking projects to get them back on course frequently encounter the same forms of lax discipline. These typically include a lack of good design, a lack of coding standards, a lack of code reviews, a lack of unit testing, poor QA, and, of course, a lack of basic project management skills. When called into such tasks, the first thing consultants will do is attend to the low-hanging fruit: They establish basic check-in procedures, teach the use of unit tests, start doing code reviews, and so forth. All new actions tend towards one goal: improving project reliability. Intuitively, this makes sense.

It makes sense objectively too, because we know that the earlier defects are found in the development life cycle, the faster and less expensive they are to fix. So, if you improve reliability, you improve delivery timetables and cost. Reliability inherently leads to lower costs and faster delivery. This all seems clear, reasonable, perhaps even obvious.

Most places, however, don’t work under this “obvious” relationship of speed, quality and cost. Rather, their actions reflect the glib canard frequently repeated in dev circles: “Good, fast, cheap: pick any two.” Asserting an opposition between these three elements is to misunderstand how quality imbues the project with the other two qualities. And for this reason, when products fall behind, managers and developers typically forgo quality to gain the benefit of time (and secondarily of cost).

You would think that any developers or project managers with experience would learn to do things differently when the projects encounter difficulty arising from trying to do things quick and dirty.  However, there’s another saying: You can’t teach “talent.”  I think it means something different from how I’ve experienced it, which is that you cannot teach people who know it all anything at all.

Too Friendly With The Recipients

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 by The Director

g33klady shares an e-mail:

Click here and start typing would have been good advice to heed
Click for full size

This looks to be a procedural error, probably made by some volunteer the first week on the job.

In other words, one of those admins your developers trust so well.

Popular Science List of Web Site Pet Peeves

Monday, July 6th, 2009 by The Director

Popular Science has another list of the pet peeves regarding Web sites entitled “How to Lose Traffic and Alienate People: The Revenge!

Remember, QA, your job includes looking at “features” with a jaundiced eye and through a user’s perpective.  If something would annoy you, it will annoy your users.  Your developers, designers, and even your very clients will get lost in the beauty in the Platonic form of an idea and will lose the user focus when they come up with something new.

(Link seen here.)

I Feel Cheated Of One Video Player Error

Monday, July 6th, 2009 by The Director

An embedded video not only fails to play, but it fails to show me one error message, I think:

Error 1 of 2 was lost in shipping.

I guess Error 1 of 2 was lost in the mail.

Or is Error #2035 the Error 1 of 2?

Regardless, I think it’s poor juju to show troubleshooting to a user.  It makes an error that is incomprehensible even incomprehensibler.   Show a user-friendly error message, for crying out loud.


Software Glitch Limits Alcohol Availablity; QA Gathers Pitchforks, Torches

Friday, July 3rd, 2009 by The Director

As Joe would say, maybe they should have tested more:

Dozens of “temporarily out of stock” signs dot the shelves of some state liquor stores, and store managers say they’re not sure when their complete product line will again be available.

State officials blame the difficulties on a glitch in a new software system that controls the movement of 18,000 cases of liquor a day through the state’s distribution center on East Marginal Way South in Seattle.

The one thing that could possibly upset QA more than a defect is a defect that keeps QA from its liquor.

(Story seen here.)

Cicero On The QA Career Path

Friday, July 3rd, 2009 by The Director

For his arduous duties include not merely the actual pleading, but also the intellectual task of preparing his cases.  That is the reason why, in spite of all the recognition, pleasure, fame, and honor which their eloquence earns, so few men, now and in the past, have ever devoted themselves to the profession.  All pleasures are banned; all amusements, sports, and festivities forbidden; even the joys of friendly conversation must seldom be indulged in.  That is why men do not choose this kind of work, not because they lack the talent or the training.

When I make my religion called QAology (in my book Directornetics, natch), I am making Cicero a patron saint.

Also, I wish to remind you they killed him for being too good at his job and insisting that things be done right.

(Alternate translation here.)

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