Things I Learned From Forbes (I)

I read more than just testing and quality assurance stuff because you can get insights and inspirations from varied things. Take the lesson from an article in Forbes entitled "Margin Medicine For Doctors". The story is about a doctor who alters his business model to improve the quality of his service. The lesson:

After convincing his daughter to spend six weeks scanning roughly 500,000 patient records, Novich now can pull charts, X-rays and other data from three office computers and access them from home. Records are automatically synched and backed up through two online services, Carbonite and Dropbox.

The lesson isn’t OMG, my medical records are in the cloud, and by “cloud,” I mean a honeypot for hackers, although feel free to panic about how your identity and deepest secrets are floating out there in the Interether in a variety of open-source mashups across a variety of enterprises.

No, the lesson for you, QA, is to get outside the common user stories that your management team presents you with and look for legitimate and the, erm, accidental ways users might extend your functionality and try to make your software accommodate or prohibit them. You made a thing that can sync files like my whole collection of sonnets and pictures of my cats? SWEET! Now can you hold half a million confidential PDFs securely?

Because once your product is out there, if it gets used widely, its functionality will be stretched. And if it’s stretched to the breaking point, there will be consequences. Better to have those sorts of things trapped out in the requirements phase.

(In a sorta related note, see how I stretchy the requirements to trisherino’s link checking tool. That’s what you all ought to be doing in your requirements gathering meetings, you know.)

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