Monday, December 30, 2013

Year-end Memories and Thoughts

Year-ends are tough for me. While listening to Trans-Siberian Orchestra this morning I indulged into daydreaming. I was thinking about my family back in Russia and reminiscing about things that happened over the years. I remembered the loved ones that passed on – my grandmother whose birthday was right before Christmas and one of my first bosses in the US who was like a father. It is nice to be able to slow down and unwind over the holidays. It could also be quite unpleasant when some daunting memories surface and make you feel sad. The hardest ones are of me growing up in Siberia.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Look at the Relationship Between Testers and Developers

I believe that one of the important things in the work life of a tester is to have a good working relationship with developers. This will not only make a tester's job and bug advocacy process easier but will also give him the ability to exert influence on quality, promote positive collaboration and learning opportunities.

Roy Osherove interviewed James Bach on “The Role of the Tester” where Bach talks about this. He says that:

‘…developers are the people who create quality; they make the quality happen. Without the developers, nothing would be there; you’d have zero quality.’

After all without developers on the project us – testers – will not have a job!

In the last few years I have worked thoroughly integrated into Agile development teams as a lone tester. I tend to gravitate more towards developers as opposed to testers as I feel that it helps me expand my domain knowledge and technical skills and…be a better tester. Plus programmers are WYSIWYG. I prefer it when people do not beat around the bush when working together.

On occasion I hear and read stories about the challenges and conflicts both sides have experienced in the workplace, as well as tips and recommendations on how to handle difficult situations and work on improvements from the tester’s viewpoint.

I thought it would be interesting to find out from developers what they thought about testers and their skills. I conducted a very unscientific survey of some developers that I have worked with and whom I also consider professional mentors and good friends.

The replies were pretty refreshing. I hope testers find them useful and take them into consideration in how they go about their work.

Here are the results:

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Road Trip and Using Mobile Apps

Memorial Day Weekend my family took a long road trip deep into Tennessee. As I was packing I contemplated which devices to take with me and what apps I should play with as a real user on the go in various locations, with different connectivity signals, trying edge use cases and checking for information and other data. 

In addition I wanted to use the time to catch up with my Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds, listen to downloaded tutorials, read books, and take care of banking and finance as well as do a little bit of online shopping. We drove so that left us passengers with a lot of free time where things got mundane and boring pretty quickly. On top of it I had to keep our chauffeur engaged and awake and our son occupied so he would not whine.

As we got into our first long stretch, I started using all kinds of mobile apps. Some I have been using on occasion, others have been either recommended or stumbled across during my daily technology news discoveries. 

We had 3 phones and an iPad at our disposal with a bunch of apps on all 4 devices.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Facebook Home Android app flop

Many of you may have heard that the new Facebook Home app for Android has been a dud. Here are a couple of articles by SFGate and Business Insider.

The San Francisco Gate article caught my attention as it talked about a theory raised by Josh Constine from TechCrunch as to why this may have happened. Lack of “droidfooding". The Android app was essentially created by iOS developers who didn’t understand how Android devices work and did not realize how "important widgets, docks, and app folders were to Android users, and that leaving them out of Home was a huge mistake".

If that is true, then it makes me wonder how the Facebook’s product management and testing (including Usability/UX testing) works. Despite the fact that most of the Facebook employees are reported as iPhone users it's quite possible that some folks from the in-house Android UX experts and test teams voiced their opinion about obvious differences between Android and iPhone devices interfaces and the potential impact on the users and business. The sad part about this story is that I can relate to what happened. I too was in a situation when I worked on a native app project that looked like a web site. My reasonings and sentiments were shared by others. Decision makers on the project took all the UX feedback and research information into consideration but moved forward with the release of the app without incorporating much of the feedback. Results were similar to the Facebook app. It hurt but there was little I could do.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Improving the World One Bug at a Time

Like many of my colleagues I appreciate humor and jokes about software testing and testers. I got a chuckle out of reading the Software Testing Humor – Jokes posted by TestingGeek and Bumper Stickers for Testers by Harry Robinson.

My favorite bumper sticker is "A good tester has the heart of a a jar on the desk". But I think that I probably get motivated by this one -"Improving the world one bug at a time". It makes it even better when you find a bug in in the wild and help with a solution.

An anecdotal story happened to me a few months ago. I had to help my mother buy a kitchen appliance with a credit card. One would think that it's easy. It usually is unless your parent lives in Siberia and is terrified of using that "plastic thing" issued by a foreign financial institution. There was no other sensible option however so we agreed that she would visit a few local stores where a card was accepted and the price was reasonable, and then would let me know when and where the purchase would be made.  Once she found a store I alerted my bank about the upcoming transaction to hopefully avoid any surprises and alleviate stress for my mom. I called her on her cell phone before she walked into the store to calm her down and told her to call me right away if anything comes up.

To my bewilderment I got a call about 15-20 minutes later with my mother sobbing on the phone and a sales clerk and the store manager trying to calm her down. The credit card transaction was declined. There was no response code to explain why. This didn’t make sense. We tried to run it again while I was on speaker but it failed. My mother was inconsolable and needless to say I felt mortified. What could have happened? The store manager was trying to be helpful and called the US bank’s Russian subsidiary representative in Moscow. They talked, tried to process the transaction again and got the same results. I was actually amazed how nice and professional both ladies were at the store.  I don’t want to sound facetious but I don’t remember customer service to have been any good in my old country. I had been cursed out by sales clerks on many occasions back in the day.