Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quality Artifacts Everywhere

Recently I came across a situation where I observed defects, tasks, and even stories that were documented in multiple places (Google Doc, Issue Tracking System, Complex Stories, Wiki...).  How can a team evaluate quality when there are so many lists?  I looked a little deeper and even found single defects in the issue tracking system that were a list of defects.

I am right there with the next person for not entering an object into an issue tracking system if I do not have to.   Once an issue artifact is created it must be managed through to a resolution.  My guess is you have no clue with respect to quality of you have lists buried within lists within other lists.

If you have 100 defects and 100 tasks left to complete in an iteration, then you can evaluate when you are near done.  If you have 5 lists buried within the 100 defects , 5 lists buried in 100 tasks, and a Google spreadsheet with 75 more ideas, how do you ever know you are nearing done.

As much of a pain in the tail as it is I recommend two approaches.

One if you find an issue and do not want to put it into the tracking system, then fix the issue immediately and verify that it is fixed to your satisfaction.

The second is to enter the issue into the issue tracking system.

My final recommendation is to settle into a specific process, follow the process, iterate on the process, but do not create numerous processes within processes.

Keeping it simple helps to keep the team on the same page.

Happy Testing!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Do you have what it takes to argue?

I watched Jon Bach's keynote at CAST 2013 this morning.

As usual he has a fantastic way to deliver information and the topic was on the money.  I agree that we should have more arguments.  The one challenge I have is that I may not have all of the skills to facilitate a sound argument.

I have a spouse who typically cannot lose an argument.  Her brother who has a law degree is equally as acute.  Between the two of them they help sharpen my argument skills, but I am lacking the ninja tools to win consistently.  The Software Industry is full of extremely sharp people and many have the chops to win an argument.  As Jon did for his keynote I thought I had better do some research.

The first site stated that the first thing you should do is select the strongest side of the argument.  I am not sure this is the right advice unless I was wanting to be a debate champion.  Normally the arguments I find myself involved in are because I believe in a certain concept.  So for starters my position may not be the strongest side.  So I think my take away from this suggestion is that I need to always be prepared to persuade the other side that I have a very compelling position.  So I need to reflect more frequently and build out the key list of bullets on my position.  I need to have these points stored in the part of my brain for rapid recall.

Another site talked about sneaky tactics.  The points on this link were pertinent, but I am not sure I am clever enough to be sneaky.  The two points I think I need to add to my skill set is not diluting my position with weak points and consciously concede valid points to the opponent.

Let's face it; the best way to win an argument is to avoid it altogether.  This position is not what Jon was advocating in his key note.  What I take away from this statement is that if you do not have acute points to defend your position perhaps it is time to agree to disagree then go fill your arsenal with more context.  Live to fight another day may be more applicable.

In a couple of weeks I may have the pleasure of visiting Rice University.  I stumbled on this gem.  The first bullet point is "Drink Liquor".  Jon Bach probably would not support this position since he kindly provided me his drink tickets at STP in Nashville.  Thanks Jon!  I got a bit of a chuckle when I read this point, but I think the underlying tenant is that you need to have an element of confidence when stepping into the argument.  I also concluded from this post that humor probably can also help in a good argument.  I think for me my confidence grows by having more information, "context".

I am the type of person who just puts stuff out on the table without necessarily thinking first.  I think I should learn to take my time, stay calm, and apply logic.  I am certainly not afraid of a great argument as long as the TRUST is there.  Jon referred to this as being in a safe environment.  I will probably continue more thinking and research on this topic.  I think I have some arguments coming my way, so preparation is probably a good thing.

Thanks Jon for sparking thought on this topic.  The next time I gather with testers I think we should have some exercises that improve our arguments skills.  I am going to have to give that concept a bit more thought.  Stay tuned ...

Happy Testing!