Arkisto: February 2011

Well Planned is not Halfway Done

17. Februaryta, 2011 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

The story I borrow just now tells of an Ukrainian lieutenant, who sent a small scouting force to the Alps. A strong blizzard caught them by surprise, lasting for 2 days without a pause. The lieutenant was already certain of heavy casualties when the group failed to return on the second day. Yet, on the third day – to the great surprise of many – the force returned from the mountains and they were even unharmed. What had transpired? How did they survive their ordeal?

The hottest topic this February has been about a burning platform. Especially a platform that is Nokia. Stephen Elop’s letter to the employees told hard cold facts. It underlined that they still do a lot of things wrong in Nokia.

Chinese OEMs are cranking out a device much faster than, as one Nokia employee said only partially in jest, “the time that it takes us to polish a PowerPoint presentation.”

The same problem haunts a big chunk of Finnish businesses all the way from product development to testing. A big part of working time is spent on planning, tuning and running the numbers in Excel sheets. From the perspective of getting results, time is spent in useless toil.

The Ukrainian scouting force survived a rough situation by acting fast. The situation had seemed desperate for the team until someone had discovered a map from their pocket. After that, the team acted. They set up a camp, waited for the storm to end and finally made their way back to the base. The most interesting tidbit in the story? The map was of the Pyrenees, not Alps.

If the team had stopped to refine their plan, their survival strategies and then started to document it all, they would have frozen to death. Instead, they decided to calm down, take a look at their situation and then get on with it. The moral of the story is of course that even a bad plan is enough.

In testing business people often imagine that a good test plan and an accurate test spec are the secret to success. The bosses have liked the fancy Excel reports and the software has often managed to become complete before the deadline, thanks to development gurus. Which is why many testing experts become set in their tracks. They imagine that success is all thanks to the plans and specs, and start devoting more time and effort into these things.

When the railroaded expert devotes more and more time to planning and excel-exercises, a competitor that looked like an amateur overtakes them with seemingly no effort!

When one starts putting in effort, several routes get explored all the way. In the same amount of time, the so-called smart ones have barely had time to get prepared for their first trek.

Truly successful people succeed because they take off their tie, roll up their sleeves and start working! This is why well planned is not halfway done.

Bad Quality Costs each Day

2. Februaryta, 2011 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

If you cannot use ’money’ as a unit of measurement for measuring software development, then what else is there that would suit it better?

Let us presume that you have a software product and one software development team, 10 people strong. The product needs to be updated four times a year to the next version and installing the updates for the clients has to succeed without any issues.

Every delay caused by a defect in the production phase delays the entire project for 3 days. It requires the working efforts of the entire development team. With a modest billing of 50 euro per hour, the delay costs 11000,- per. In addition, it postpones the start of the next development cycle and forces the installment team to twiddle their thumbs. And the meter just keeps on ticking.

Every serious client reclamation keeps your support team occupied for 2 hours, which then takes 3 days in the form of development and testing the fixes. Cost: 1200,- per. In addition, such instances dull your business’s image!

Every new client, who has grievances during the insurance period keeps your installment team occupied for 5 days extra. Cost: 1900,- per.

For example, 15 needless client reclamations in a year, 3 delays caused by defects and 4 reclamations by new clients during the insurance period cost you a total of 58600,- in a year.

Sensibly built testing always pays itself back.