Arkisto: August 2010

For Whose Benefit is Quality Assurance?

17. Augustta, 2010 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

Subcontracting software development and buying software solutions there is a custom set in stone that you are to buy both software development and testing from the same supplier. One potential reason for doing it this way is that it might feel arduous to cycle two suppliers in one project. Because, well, it also doubles the workload of project management. On the other hand, that might be seen as a benefit for software development: It would be more agile if the development and testing were to come from underneath the same roof.

Yet, often when one rationalizes this they forget the hard truth, which is revealed in an old Dilbert-strip in a funny way.

We have asked before, for whose benefit is testing when the supplier is also the tester of the product?

The problem space is not singular. A new article in Kauppalehti handles the failure of a cash register system project by Solteq. In this project, the testing was neglected in a very serious manner in every stage of the delivery chain:

The supplier is guilty, because it did not perform system testing in the product environment. On the other hand, the customer is guilty, because it did not look after its own interests by taking care of adequate lengths to quality assurance. In addition, the customer made its first inventory only half a year after the cash register system update.

An experienced testing expert would have used a few days’ work to make a safe plan on moving the system to the producing stage. If only the customer or the supplier had had the insight to ask a quality assurance expert about this, everyone would have spared a pretty penny.

Earlier, we claimed that customers of software projects should get themselves a quality police to look after their interests. In Solteq’s case, the court ruled that the system project supplier is in full accountability of the failure. The court also ruled that the supplier is to pay amends for both the project’s costs and the estimated losses for the customer. All in all, a software bug ended up costing 560.000 euro for Solteq instead of 8000 euro.

It was a bold move by Solteq to take this public. I believe that they have learnt their lesson, and that their quality assurance will be at a whole new level from that point onwards. Which is why I can recommend Solteq.

Becoming smarter due to the court ruling, we also correct the earlier claim:

Customer and supplier: Always ensure together that the quality assurance is made professionally and objectively. That, if anything, is for the benefit of all!

Google and Library

9. Augustta, 2010 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

This week Tietoviikko told us about Google’s ambitious project. Google plans on digitizing all of world’s approximately 130 million books. So far I don’t know what the logic for making profit is in all that for Google, but it undoubtedly revolves around money trickling from consumers to Google, and from Google to producers. Do you, dear readers, have any information about how Google plans on using that library?

I suppose it should have to be a relevantly robust system, which can supply to millions of users a) All the world’s books’ library data (page numbers, writers, ISBN-codes etc), b) the texts of those books, c) a good user interface for browsing book data and reading them, d) payment systems for both consumers and producers, and e) links between these informations. There’s going to be more than a few bits moving around and the testers are going to have a broad area for hunting critical bugs.

Yet, at the same time in Finland: Last week, Tampere-based Aamulehti had news: “The library’s new web pages do not still work.”

After a few hours of use, the server could not handle the stress and keeled over. Traditionally this has meant that the look and structure of the new page is good, but quite slow. They also remember to say that the pages function, but very slowly.

The first comment in Aamulehti’s article summarizes everything neatly:

I could recommend a tester-oriented approach with all the warmth in the world. Sure, making thorough testing takes workhours, but at least the makers have a certainty of how the developed system handles in the real world.

Sender: Also a pro. | Fri 6th Aug, 10:37

I could not put it any better than that.

The summer holidays are about to be over, but the warm weather keeps on going! Try to keep it together in the office!