Arkisto: March 2015

Once Upon a Time there was a Software Tester who…

23. Marchta, 2015 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

…was good at hunting bugs and excellent in writing reports. He tested all day long, from the rising sun to the setting sun. He knew everyone very well in his work. Then one day, the tester’s colleague came to work, eyes ablaze and metaphorically on fire.

The colleague told about a training that had shook off decades of dust from his shoulders. The colleague understood what ingredients truly got testing gurus reborn! He had become a Protector of business and a Hero of software developers. A True Expert and a Guru.

Do you have what it takes to take responsibility of success? If so, then I invite you!

It is enough that you dare take the first step from mediocrity towards permanent increase in level. Discover where the tester’s journey towards the heart of expertise starts! Come attend Testaaja 3.0 training in April!

We Turn Testing into Art

19. Marchta, 2015 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

Art is never flawless. Art gives birth to pieces, which are the channeling of the artist’s inner thoughts into a concrete embodiment. These things and various forms of art currently number nigh infinite from the early cave paintings, the temples of ancient Egypt to the modern audiovisual product of spirit. All the forms of art are connected by a single factor:

Art arouses emotions.

The artist almost always has a steady current behind his works, although the surface might look like a rapid. That underlying current is the Feel, which the artist wants to embody in the work. It guides the brush on the flax canvas, the ball-point pen’s path over the paper and the dance of fingers on the keys of a piano. It steadies the steps of a dancer and keeps the orchestral conductor’s baton in a fluid motion. Who knows, maybe it guides the poet’s hand to the booze bottle on the pay day.

The Feel is the whole, which reflects the tiniest speck of light from the surface of the art piece to the appreciator’s eye and through it and the neural pathways to activate and tickle the emotions lobe in our brain. We do not find or even try to find insignificant flaws in the Feel; only the whole matters. We either enjoy that whole or we don’t. When a piece of art arouses a Feel, it has done its job.

Forget useless statistics of the number of bugs, of the product’s maturity, pass-fail ratio or fulfilling the requirements. Try to sometimes find the Feel from the nooks and crannies of your project. Maybe the purpose of testing is not to produce a flawless product, but rather, a product which channels the designer’s, architect’s, coder’s and the artist’s spirit’s deepest product: The Feel.

To Thank or to Accuse? That is the Problem.

16. Marchta, 2015 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

Raimo is having an evening walk on a Sunday when the sun has already set. His path goes along a bike lane near a nearby Prisma to where the car dealerships of the city reside. When next to the Porho car dealership, Raimo notices that the gate must have stayed open. Being a curious guy, he takes a peek inside. The yard is filled with brand new rides, and the Mercedes right next to the gate has its doors unlocked. Without further ado, a new car and… floor it!

A crime took place, when an opportunity made a thief.

I encountered the same story last week numerous times. I read a bunch of articles regarding Tekes and its IT-security hole. I have to admit, that I am a bit angry.

Three employees of a Helsinki based IT-firm had encountered a security hole in the Tekes system when they were leaving their firm’s application. Due to the vulnerability, the guys managed to download themselves the service’s application database, which is roughly around 8300 applications. The next day, the guys notified Tekes of what they had found, but it did not help. The police collected them and now all three are facing charges of aggravated fraud.

I find it useless to explain that this dreadful crime is somehow the same thing as stealing a car. When an expert of testing notices that something is amiss, the only way to learn the depth of the severity is to explore it.

With IT-security holes, the first thing to do is to check what can come through the hole. A lump of bits can be useless trash, or extremely valuable business secrets. It is important to realize that with the software, the only way to know for sure is to look at what was downloaded.

Google thanks skilful testers with money prizes of over one thousand dollars. The most talented ones get a work offer instead of a police raid. Makes me think, could Tekes – whose purpose is to advance Finnish innovation and business – have been able to figure out a better way to react in this situation?

For example, a public thank you addressed to the three people and their firm could have supported the business better than any product development grant. You could have done away with the information leak with a couple of NDAs. There are plenty of ways, when you loosen up the tie and let ideas come.

The first thing to do is to decide whether a thank you or an accusation is in order. Ah, that is the question.

A Race Horse’s Worldview

16. Marchta, 2015 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

Humans have a weird and deeply rooted desire to cling to the past. It is easy to create routines around the past and to hold on to them. It creates a wonderful sense of security, when you never need to consider anything new, while things keep on going at their own pace. Or do they???

The problem is that when the same routines get repeated long enough, the efficiency of the work starts to crumble. And I am not talking about the worker’s own efficiency, because our country is filled with awesome people who are dedicated to their work. Thanks to them for that! What I am talking about is about the efficiency of work and its results. When you repeat routines day after day, from a week to the third, and from a year to the fifth, there is a kind of racing horse effect going on.

There are blinkers in the bridle, which restrict the field of view. Some blinkers cover the entire field of view to the sides and back, guiding the horse to concentrate only on what is going on at the front.

For a race horse’s desired results this is sure to help, but in a modern software project a narrow field of view is detrimental at the least. And in addition: With blinkers on, performing in an adopted manner and on a set of rails, it might be impossible to notice that detriment.

Stop for a moment. Evaluate the activity of your own and that of your team. Question the practices that have been going on for years and revolutionize your worldview.

As an example let me give one practical challenge: For a time period of one week, measure the number of bugs you report. Split them into two categories: a) ones found with exploratory testing and b) the ones found through test cases. Trust your own feeling in judging whether any of the bugs could have been found without running a test case for hundred times. What kind of results do you get?

Is It Worth Fixing a Bug?

10. Marchta, 2015 | Kirjoittaja: Antti Niittyviita

I have encountered different kinds of attempts to classify software bugs along the years. The attempts have concentrated on severity, effect, priority, risk and repetition to name a few.

Often the classification has been twisted to so many knots that no one keeps up with it all. In big projects they hold big error meetings inspired by this subject matter and even have a title of an ‘error manager’.

By far the most simplest classification is of course either or. The bugs that need to be fixed and the bugs that aren’t fixed. But what is the most sensible support to decide that? Since gut feelings and hat standards are not always enough, I drew the picture below.

Every firm has a story, values and their own mindscape. When those match the audience, you start getting sales.

If marketing is well taken care of alongside communication, then the renown of the firm will depend on unbeatable promise which will also be backed up by the sales. Everything should show just why is this firm important and why is their product important.

You can only succeed if thinking, communication and action are all in line. That is why there is a single question that crystallizes the importance of bugs:

Does this bug endanger the things that we stand for?