Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Thought For The Project Manager In Your Life

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 by The Director

From Forbes:

Charlie Wohlstetter, who heads up Continental Telephone, passed on to us this anecdote, which I find most apropos at this time as forecasts shower down on all our hapless heads: “Some years ago Herman Kahn told me of the rabbi who was present at the creation. After the sixth day, when the Lord was resting, he looked at his handiwork and turned to the rabbi and asked, ‘Well, Rabbi, what do you think? Are you optimistic or pessimistic?’ The rabbi hesitated, frowned deeply, shook his head and clucked his tongue and finally said to the Lord, ‘Well, I’m optimistic.’ And the Lord, in surprise, said, ‘Well, if you’re optimistic, why are you frowning?’ And the rabbi said, ‘I’m frowning because I believe my optimism is unjustified.'”
— Malcolm Forbes (1983)

If it’s not a thought your project manager has, it’s a thought he or she should have. Daily.

Answering My Own QA Interview Question

Friday, April 2nd, 2010 by The Director

On Twitter, I posted the following question for QA candidates: Are you more like Axel Foley or Fletch?

QA is more Fletch.

  • Fletch has a more developed sense of alternative workflows. Sure, Foley is very quick with a story to further his ends, but those are pretty shallow stories easily discarded. Fletch, on the other hand, really inhabits the raiments of the alter-egos, whether it’s a plane mechanic, a medical doctor, or an insurance investigator. Even when he’s not officially on the job, Fletch uses his daydreams as exercises to understand the experiences of other people and other professions and how they do what they do. These talents come in handy when the software tester and QA analyst try to get into the minds and workflows of consumers, chemical engineers, librarians, data modelers, and the myriad other people who will use the software who are not software development professionals.
  • Fletch is not part of the power structure. Foley is part of the enabling power structure that, but for his guile, is clueless and laughable. Fletch is an outsider and can not only stand apart from the power structure, but he can critique it forcefully when it’s corrupt. A QA person should not engrain himself or herself in the sales/project management/development axis. He or she needs to have the distance to say, “Hey, this whole thing sucks rocks.”
  • Fletch works well with deadlines. He’s a newspaperman, used to frequent milestones, and no matter how he says he’s not going to make it, he does. Foley moves at his own pace.
  • Foley takes vacation to further his own pursuits when he’s needed on the job.

I could go on, but I think you get my point. Both of them have snazzy Harold Faltermeyer themes, but one of them is better for QA. Foley is flash, but Fletch is your candidate.

Torpedoes for Your Estimate

Thursday, April 1st, 2010 by The Director

I just revised my standard boilerplate text for my estimates that describes what factors and known unknowns can effectively render the estimate meaningless. Here it is:

The estimate might fall short of actual testing effort necessary due to the following factors:

  • The tester finds a large number of defects. Running test cases is very straightforward. However, discovering issues requires the tester to: return the application to the preceding state; run the test case again to recreate the issue; capture the screenshot of the application state during the issue; and log the issue in the defect tracker. Additionally, time to retest these additional defects adds to the total test effort.
  • The tester finds defects behind functionality behind functionality previously blocked by a defect. Sometimes defects prevent a tester from completing a test case; when the initial defect is corrected, further behavior on the test case path will uncover other defects.
  • The application includes new functionality or hidden complexity. This estimate is provided based on the software demonstration provided. Any additional functionality or application complexity discovered after the completion of the demo might require a greater number of test cases and test effort than anticipated.
  • The application is deployed/built a limited number of times. Each additional build requires a number of tests to check the application state (often called a sanity test or a smoke test). As the number of deployments or builds grows, the test effort grows with them.

So what else torpedoes your estimates?

I Buy Mine With Cash, Wearing Dark Glasses and a Hat, In The Bookstore In The Next Town

Monday, March 29th, 2010 by The Director

You know what I like to pick up whenever I can? 2600.

I’m not a hacker of any sort, nor do I play one on the Internet, but the creative ways that some of the writers get around different security things sort of mirrors the mindset when you’re testing an application. You need to look outside the pathways that the developers and designers lay out for you and try to subvert the will of the code.

Of course, if you’re a security tester, then everything in the magazine applies more directly.

Footnoting A Tweet

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 by The Director

On Twitter, I said:

Some applications make me feel like Simo Häyhä.

My Finnish readers know who that is:

Simo Häyhä (December 17, 1905 – April 1, 2002), nicknamed “White Death” by the Red Army, was a Finnish marksman. Using a standard iron-sighted, bolt action rifle in the Winter War, he has the highest recorded number (505) of confirmed kills in any major war.

Sometimes, when I get a new build or site to test, the bottleneck in my defect logging is my typing speed.

Technique for Improving Your QA Team’s Communication

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 by The Director

Gang signs.

QA gang signs

Come on. Flashing gang signs to your peeps is a great way to:

  • Build team spirit.
  • Impress and somewhat frighten, in a deep and subtle way, the other people in your organization.
  • Signal through the glass wall of the meeting room that your associates headed to the coffee shop should pick you up another quint latte.

Also, remember those awesome QAnarchy shirts are available here.

The Purpose Of Integrating Social Media Into Client Websites

Thursday, March 4th, 2010 by The Director

The author of this piece doesn’t get it:

By focusing solely on social media’s features, Owyang continues to perpetuate the pervasive illusion that, if we choose the right tools, our customers will converse with us, talk about us, and share our content.

You know. The “hyperbole, artifical branding, and pro-corporate content” most of our websites still feature.

The relevancy of our corporate websites is not dependent whatsoever on which social media widgets have been deployed throughout the site. Its relevancy is driven by our site content, no matter who is creating it. And that content requires as much, if not more, strategic planning and consistent oversight as do our social media initiatives.

The goal of any site development is not to provide quality, usable, and relevant content for users on behalf of the client. The goal of any contract work is to separate the client from its budget, as much as possible and as easily as possible. And grafting in a Twitter feed dependent upon a site that fails daily? Easy and expensive.

(Link seen on the Twitterverse.)

Celebrate the Essence of QA

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 by The Director

It’s afternoon. Surely, you still have a fresh pot of coffee in the company’s kitchen.

Just remember: Coffee improves your throttling grip.

Remember What We’re Here For

Monday, March 1st, 2010 by The Director

A quick reminder courtesy of Conan the Barbarian about job satisfaction in QA:

Click Upon Product Launch

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 by The Director

Sorry, guys, despite our best efforts, they’re going to launch the product with a handful (King Kong’s hand, natch) of critical issues that only QA (and those who deviate from the happy path) would find.

Here’s a button to press for final launch.

And may God or your preferred deity have mercy upon your souls.

Looks Like A Nervous Breakdown To Me

Monday, February 8th, 2010 by The Director

An interesting metric to use for your Web design and development estimation efforts: Time Breakdown Of Modern Web Design.

QAHY To Go

Monday, February 8th, 2010 by The Director

It’s not actually a printed medium until you print it, but the Software Testing Club Magazine is now available in PDF and features a classic QAHY post.

Thanks, guys, for including me.

A Conservative Approach to Spelling

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 by The Director

Is it always i before e except after c?  This error message from GoDaddy tries a conservative approach:

I before AND after e.
Click for full size

Well, that particular developer left nothing to chance and put an e on either side of the i.

And nobody else looked at the error message.


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