Arkisto: March 2014

Don’t! You’ll Break Everything!

27. Marchta, 2014 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

I was sitting in a train one morning, on my way to Tampere from Helsinki. The sun was shining so bright that reading my e-mail was impossible. Luckily for me, there’s this entertaining feature in trains: You get to listen what other passengers are talking about.

On the other side of the aisle, at a table spot, was a group of commuters. A man was engaged in a quick telephone conference and was occasionally talking with his colleagues who were sitting opposite to him. After the conference call ended, he plugged out the net stick and started to pack.

At once his female colleague perked up:

Don’t tell me you just went and plugged out the net stick?!?! Do you have any idea what it can break? The VPN and e-mail apps. What about our ERP?!?! You need to turn off the connection from the menu and then turn off the machine!

I cannot help but wonder, why the hell do consumers and clients even need to worry about that?

“What if” seems to be missing from the vocabularies of many software developers. For that reason: Testing.

Unnoticeable, but apparent when gone

14. Marchta, 2014 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

On Tuesday I felt powerful. Strength ached in my shoulders and a shining kettlebell beckoned to me from the corner of the living room. My muscles felt sufficiently warmed up after working on my car, so the training session could start. Right at the midswing of the first workout a fleeting notion sparkled in my mind.

Would it not be prudent to start with the smaller 10 kilogram kettlebell? Just for the sake of warming up.

But it was too late by then. Pain radiated from my lower back and I could feel it all the way down at my calves. Well, hooray.

After two days of painkillers and several cases of stretching I could return to work. My back still hurts and I cannot work while in a sitting position.

I cannot help but remember last Monday, when everything was still in order. How little did I value my painless back at that time! People have an odd habit of not noticing things that are fine.

One learns to appreciate health only when one is in the danger of losing it.

Software projects run by people work the same way. When everything is going smoothly, no one notices.

One learns to appreciate testing only when one has tripped painfully due to not having it.

A sample report ruins the fruits of your labour

9. Marchta, 2014 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita
Comments: 2

I often go to MRoom for a haircut. This barber service is aimed at men and based on a membership, which makes it a fantastic perk in the world of dull and gray barbershops.

It is a nice experience to go to the MRoom. First, you flick your membership card. Then, they hand you a soft drink or a coffee. After fastening the cover, the next step is having your hair washed. The service also includes a relaxing scalp massage before the operation.

Haircuts for men are challenging. The instructions are simple, just like the clients:

Trim from the sides and thin out from the top

Therefore, there is a row of paintings on the barbershop’s wall. One can find numbered hair models on them, so all the client needs to remember is the number he wants. The barber handles the rest.

After the haircut comes the end report. The end result is inspected from the front and from the back. The barber tells that a 9 mm blade was used to trim the sides, and that the same blade was used on the top. Stripes were applied and this time the hue was number three. The scalp seemed a bit dry and a conditioner would help with the itching. The end report tells well and punctually what the barber delivered to cater for this need.

When it comes to testing, the client or the employer very often asks for a sample report. This sample report in testing should be based upon a report from an earlier work. This would be because that way people would allegedly know better, what is happening. The notion is absurd.

What if, in junction of your barbershop visit you would receive a report of what your neighbour, Jane or John, was sent?

That, if anything, is best suited for totally derailing your expectations. A sample report has nothing to do with your actual need. As a worst case, it can ruin the results of your test case before you even get to begin. Be very careful with this demand.

Always discover what your client really needs and make sure that you respond to it.