Isaac Newton’s Christmas Land

December 24, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

I was planning Christmas shopping three months ago. I was planning the very same thing one month ago still. Finally, I made good on the plans in some three hours before the closing time. And I was not the only one up and about at that time. Most of the evening was spent waiting in queues and parking lots.

Christmas is a time of peace and quiet. Yet, yesterday I was presented with the opposite. Horrifying hurry and ruckus is what it was.

What often happens is that the peace and quiet is scary. That is what it is on holidays and in projects. We fill our time with lies of seductive speed, and if that’s not enough for us, we further boost the sensation by a pan full of coffee.

We do this even though it is apparent that the greatest insights of life emerge from the empty space known as silence.

Isaac Newton first had to sit under the apple tree.

Now that the Christmas is upon us, I bravely suggest the following experiment. What if you would put your earphones on and dedicate spending the next four minutes with Alan Watts? And even if you were an engineer, you could silence your thoughts and just concentrate on how it feels like?

Katri Helena and Juha Vainio composed a piece called Joulumaa some 40 years ago. If you happen across that classic today, I suggest you think of one question after Alan Watts. What does that piece really tell of?

Merry and peaceful Christmas, dear reader. We shall meet again next year.

The Most Important Purpose of a Contract

December 20, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

Last week our Jaakko was presented with a client’s working document. It was one page long and also practically served as a contract for the job.

I was left with a bone in my hand.

I, on the other hand, received another working document at the same time. It was 76 pages long with attachments. The end goals for either are not different. Only the client was.

I bet it does not take long to guess which of the jobs gets a faster start. It is quite plausible that in Jaakko’s project the first results are already presented by the time I have even finished with the document’s pages.

At times it feels like the most important purpose of negotiations has been forgotten in businesses. The purpose of negotiations is not to provide a contract, but to start the cooperation. Preferably while the results of the cooperation could still be said to be fresh and useful for all parties concerned.

If the most important result of a negotiation is cooperation, then what is the most important purpose of a contract?

The most important purpose of a contract is to pave the way back to the negotiation process.

A Deer in the Headlights

December 9, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

I was driving from Haaparanta to Oulu in the darkening evening. I have to admit that as a city-born person who has not driven many long distances in the dark my senses were wired up to the extreme. Someone could even say that I was tense.

While driving, I had a little thought experiment and suggest that you do the same. Imagine that you are driving a car. In the dark. No headlights. No street lights. No nothing. Just darkness. Afraid? No, you are not permitted to stop. You just need to keep on driving.

You know that you are driving and that the car is moving. You might even see how fast the car is going by looking at the speedometer, but you have no idea as to where you are. Not at least before you have crashed or driven into a ditch. Where are you going? Is there going to be a crossing? Are there going to be turns, or obstacles such as other cars, pedestrians, children, reindeer, moose etc. Should you lower the speed? Or turn the wheel?

Very few drive cars like that. They want to at least use the headlights, preferably even the high beams. Yet, many software projects drive in the misty night either completely dark, or with parking lights on, at the most they employ the headlights. I would call them foolhardy!

The mission of software testing is to provide information not only about the current state of affairs, but also of the dangers lurking ahead. The more different areas of testing you add to your software project, the more vital information you get. In your mind, are the headlights of your software project sufficient?

Of Birth and Prevention of Defects

December 7, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

Where do bugs come from? To most it is clear that bugs are born elsewhere than just on the keyboards of developers: A specs that falls short or is obsolete, misunderstandings between the client and the executor, unpredictable mismatches between different parts of the system are some examples.

But to great many of us it is a bit more difficult mind leap to make in order to understand that many defects have more than but one origin.

An inadequate specs is not the sole reason for why a feature gets coded wrong. The other possible reasons are hurry, due to which suspicious parts remain unverified, especially when the all-knowing oracle, the expert who knows everything about that part, is unable to be contacted the moment people wanted to get answers.

The final change before a bug emerges might be trivial, but when piled on top of all the other lines of code who work ‘almost right’ it might be the famous straw that breaks the camel’s back.

The autopsy of fixed bugs, also known as post mortem, can be an useful working method, when trying to figure out what parts of processes in the software development ought to be improved. Because the resources are limited, it is not possible or even feasible to try and fix every area. But if there is an area which repeatedly spawns bugs, then it is definitely worth investing in to take care of that area.

A person with human flaws is always a part of why a bug gets birthed. But the person is not solely to blame for it. Even when a single professional is involved with creating many bugs, the situation will not get solved by playing the guilty game.

That, which is needed is for that person to get help.

Slapping someone with a guilty card will only result in defence reactions and stress. Figuring out the complete picture and fixing the factors involved messages that even people are permitted to learn from their mistakes.

After receiving the right feedback people are a self-repairing system. This ultimately leads to the birthplace of bugs becoming more silent.

Looking for a Purpose

December 2, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

Nothing in this world is void of an use or of a purpose. A flower blooming towards the sky in the meadows is nothing more but a flower. It lives for its beauty, because it itself is beautiful. A river splitting the firmament does not experience itself to be useful nor useless, because it is merely a river. It need not be anything else.

A human has evolutionarily hardcoded special habit of trying to categorize the surrounding world in relation to itself into boxes of beneficial or detrimental.

That, which you categorize in relation to yourself more or less useful, does not necessarily match how the other people think about it. You value processes that produce software to your client in planned schedule too much. You are quick to judge practices, which have once permitted a defective software to enter production. When everything goes wrong you look for the guilty party and swear you will design the execution to encompass more next time. None of this matters a whit if you cannot understand those who think different.

Often, these people who think different include even your client!

Does the flower in the meadow have a planned schedule for blooming? Has it planned beforehand to pollenate its seed to increasingly wider areas? Does it avoid becoming fragile to the last, even though the last rays of the summer have already fallen beyond the horizon? By blindly following its own values the flower could never be successful.

By following your own values, never questioning them, you will never be successful. The condition for success is to question the past, and the factor that does the questioning is the testing, whose results give you the fast response for the work you have done. By reacting to fast response will you be at your best.

You have erred in thinking that the purpose of testing is to ensure that the software works within the allotted time. That is the purpose of checking. The purpose of testing is to question the plans you have drawn, and the work you have done for them. The purpose of testing is to question your values! Testing on its purest is a legion fighting for the values of your client, so that you can reform yourself for the better.

The values your client asks for is your lifeblood. The best you can do for your business is to open your eyes to see the world through your clients’. The eyes, through which a professional tester looks at the world.

Where is the Junkyard of Concepts?

November 23, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

I could not fall asleep in the evening. I kept pondering how the concepts molded by the past keep turning sour faster than we can comprehend.

Jesus is a concept with a a lot of historical charge. Similarly, it is not a coincidence that in Germany, a child called Adolf is very rare. Money is also a concept. How does it feel like to you when money is being talked about?

The bearded man in the picture is showing a universally known concept with his hand. Let me offer a few ordinary examples of concepts, whose transformation will eventually topple even large companies.

Strategy and tactics

We often feel like we work on empty, hollow, barrels in workshops. They are structures that exist beyond us.

Actually, the question is more and more about handcrafting and story telling, whose highest form is to show.

One could even call it art, because the content filling the structure is always subjective. The effect resides in another person’s experience of it despite the structures.

Sales

It is no longer a question if I get to hold my practiced sales speech in front of a person. It is more often the question of if I dare and succeed to form a bridge between us, so that something valuable could cross it.

So that the person, who just a moment ago was a stranger, could get an opportunity to return the service I gifted in, let’s say, euros.

Marketing

We skip the ads whenever it is possible. We install an adblock in our browser and even news letters are mainly an annoyance. Marketing has nothing to do with who shouts with the loudest voice.

Actually, the question holds true for everything we get around to doing:

Do I produce something useful to you right now, so that it is worth your while to sacrifice your time and attention for me?

If we cannot let go of moldy, stuck, concepts in time, someone else will sweep past us before we even know it.

What does recognizing this mean for the tester, the developer, the entrepreneur or even the boss of a listed company?

You Aren’t Doing Stuff Right, I hope?

November 7, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

I visited Clas Ohlson this morning. Great Scott just how much stuff they have on the shelves that is used to organize stuff! They have memos, baskets, lids, notes and boxes. If you cannot organize a home or an office with these, then nothing can help you do that.

That familiar big glass-fiber bag you might now from Ikea stores gets filled pretty quickly and in fact, the amount of weight you’re carrying around just increased by around five kilos. That just means more things to organize, right?

Leading the testing often drives you into a trap familiar from indoors decoration maganizes. As years roll by, stuff accumulates continuously. There are test cases, test sets, bug descriptions, reports and work strategies.

Organizing frenzy is easy to understand, since the notion of order feels beautiful. However, organizing is often the wrong path towards fulfillment.

Outside examination reveals how the gang runs their processes and tools instead that the team would concentrate into the most important results of the job.

If you have ever moved, you will know this: You can easily send over a trailer’s worth of useless or non-functioning stuff. And the feeling afterwards… what a relief to get rid of useless junk. In the working life we don’t know how to do this, however, and we are often afraid of the decision to toss all the used junk.

Abandoning the useless is one of the most important arts of our job.

It pretty much does not matter what field you are an expert in. This concerns you: You will drive yourself to trouble if you get focused in mainly organizing stuff and doing the right thing. Instead you should learn how to choose.

Doing things right is only the second most important thing. It is more important to learn to do the right things.

It is Wonderful to Spread Gospel

November 3, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

Software business grows explosively. If we read and believe even a part of previous year’s #softwaresurvey2015 results the trend is becoming clear. The business easily doubles by the year 2020.

Doubling business field, accelerating development methods and introduction of automation promise good not only to the developers of the software products, but also for the testing.

Taking a step back, we are presented with a marvelous big picture and a noble scene. We are at a revolution, the results of which will make 8 billion people enjoy the net alongside the items and environment.

Right now it is a pleasure to be an expert on a field, whose revolution will change the world.

P.S. I invite you to forge success stories. If you ever get inspired by the thoughts in our blog, it might be that the next Tester 3.0 training will change the flight altitude of your career as well as your life’s.

Back Towards the Front

November 1, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

I am yet to meet a single software project with unlimited money and time involved. Have you?

Project budgets are usually pretty thin, the schedules become tighter alongside the profit margins. The projects ought to be kept profitable and at the same time they should be done fast and well. Otherwise, everyone runs out of work.

For some mystical reason, in the world of finite resources the projects do not understand their limits. This is often seen as a strange habit of making work, which might have once worked but for which there is no sensible basis anymore. That is when money and time gets wasted.

Too often the people driving the projects do their work facing backwards. By seeking the answers of tomorrow from yesterday. The truth is that life happens back facing towards the front and we only keep looking at the wave we leave behind.

We start to succeed on a greater scale only when we learn to more sensitively accurate send what is going on.

A space filled with ideas from yesterday cannot be filled with new and better ones. First you need to do some Christmas cleaning and accept to abandon that which no longer serves its purpose.

What could be an idea of yesterday in your projects to which you first need to wish fond farewells?

At the Checkered Flag You are Already Late!

October 31, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

The mission of a tester is to make their developer colleagues stars, just like the map reader’s mission is to make the rally driver the champion. No rally driver would be able to shine for too long in their occupation without the professional who sits next to them, because the teamwork for brilliant results is possible only by walking in stride.

You can think of this the other way around: How good a job would the map reader do by waiting at the finish line telling the driver how the race went after it has concluded?

It is surprisingly often still these days how people forget about testing and handle it this way. Even though the tempo of the business condenses fast, the working methods of testing drag their feet behind. Performing maintenance and fixes on software has never been this easy. In a wisely primed development team the distribution of an update to the end user only takes one press of a button.

A tester fiddling around at the checkered flag starts to be helplessly late.

We have often thought how the role of testing is similar to the final inspection for a building erection project. Earlier, we fought in gigantic information systems projects to prove the first date at an altar to function.

The faster the software development becomes, the surer it is that an expert thinking in old school ways become a needless expense.

P.S. I invite you to forge success stories. If you ever get inspired by the thoughts in our blog, it might be that the next Tester 3.0 training will change the flight altitude of your career as well as your life’s.