Arkisto: March 2013

Opinion, the Tool of a Professional

20. Marchta, 2013 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

You either like Picasso’s art or you don’t. It is a personal opinion. You can bring up your opinion very quickly, since it does not require long background research or compiling a list of sources. This is why an opinion can be an effective tool. Yet, it only becomes useful in the hands of a professional.

The professionals of Art evaluate Picasso in a different way from other people. They see that Picasso has left a permanent mark in paintings as a form of art. Picasso succeeded in changing the game. This view is supported by the professional’s huge expanse of knowledge and experience. This is why the professional is trustworthy when it comes to their opinion.

The professionals of software development and testing have a similar backrest. They have massive amounts of knowledge and experience. The professionals of art and software are divided by one significant factor, however. That factor is courage.

Fortunately, courage can be learned.

Your opinion does not matter if no one can hear it. That is why you should start learning today already. Get yourself the courage to voice out your opinions.

All Boats Leak

20. Marchta, 2013 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

There will always be defects. There will be failures in business. Processes will feel like molasses. Every business, plan and organization will have leaks. In the same way, every software will have bugs. There simply is not something called ‘perfect’.

People often think that the most important goal of testing is to improve the quality of the software and the development. This is why people ask the testers:

Have the bugs been caught? Has the quality been good? Are you sure that our boat is not leaking?

For the business, they are often the wrong questions. The most important is forgotten in the shadow of non exact talk about quality.

Everyone in the same business are in the same boat and fight for the same goals. Maybe that is why testers should look for answers to the question:

Can we reach our destination with this boat?

You get what you measure for!

5. Marchta, 2013 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

An economist is an odd creature who requires numbers in order to compare things. For this reason, the economists have invented a bunch of exquisite measures, which can be used to measure, for example, financial performance.

A rumour tells about a business, whose customer service staff left calls unanswered. This was because the board had decided that the lower the number of open tickets was, the better bonuses the staff will get. And if you don’t take new support calls, then you surely don’t leave them open!

That did not go quite as planned, now did it?

In software projects people often measure, for example, test wholeness, maturity, the total number of discovered defects, the number of open tickets, implemented requirements etc. What makes measuring challenging is that no one has yet come up with clear definitions to these measures and that their description changes from one project to the next. Furthermore, a software engineer is just as competent in maximizing how well follow the incentives.

A rumour tells about a business, whose software testers asked the developers to leave defects in the software. This was because the board had decided that the more defects the testers discover, the better their provisional paychecks are. The developers too received bonuses for defects that were fixed.

You need to acknowledge the risks of measuring, in all areas. Including when you measure software testing.

Think closely how to measure the efficiency of your testers. Wrong measures guide their behavior to a wrong direction. If you attach financial incentives to the measures, the risk of wrongful behavior increases.