Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Bahhh ! or Moving to Islesbury

There were 2 different meeting rooms booked for the whole day.  If you were invited in the upper floor, you could stay. If you were invited to the lower floor, the HR boss asked you to sign a contract where you were promised a pay-off if you accept that they just fired you and if you also accept to stay in the company for another six months to perform a proper knowledge transfer to the new guys that are taking over our jobs.

What happened?

One year before this "shock", we understood messages like how much the offices of Davenport (town anonymized) is going to be strenghtend by the management.  At that time we had a lot of contractors and the management was worried because too much know-how was out-sourced, so they wanted to in-source again. They needed our help in seeking new talented people, not in Davenport, but in Islesbury (anonymized). Although this seemed kind of odd, we were supporting the idea to in-source. Several developers and testers interviewed a lot of Islesbury applicants and identified the most talented ones. Then they recommended those to HR and HR hired them. After the hiring process was complete, almost all engineers from Davenport got fired. Mere chance? Well, they still needed us for the next 3-6-months for the proper knowledge hand-over from Davenport to Islesbury. That's why we got this pay-off to make sure we all do a proper knowledge-transfer. Well, that’s a long story told short. Hardly anyone understood what was going on and why. Many talented, young and middle-aged engineers (who came from all over the world) were affected by this mass-layoff. These weren't rotten eggs but really skilled people. Officially, the reason submitted to us was “digital tranformation”. What a bummer! We are all software developers. Did they really expect us being unable to adapt?  However, most of us signed the contract and did a proper knowledge-transfer to Islesbury engineers. Others were disappointed and didn't give a tinker's damn about the pay-off. One didn't even show up in the office anymore.

Anyhow, at that time I was asking myself a lot about the meaning and success of such operation. Does the moving from Davenport to Islesbury really make any difference? They removed all the cows and hired much more sheeps. Did anyone do the math or was this just a personnel vendetta between managers that were at war with each other?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Function Talks

Visual Studio has this great built in feature that - on hovering over a method - immediately shows how often this method is used by other methods. When you develop code, you simply cannot ignore it and it actually makes you keep your code clean. If you see a method with zero references you just want to get rid of it immediately. Now that I use only the free version (Visual Studio Express) it is NOT included and I really miss it.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The truth about agile development and scrum

James Whittaker in his book "Exploratory Software Testing" (page 148) stated: "As testers, we must simply get the most work done that we can in the amount of time allotted to us".

Unfortunately, it's very popular to squeeze testing time when deadlines are near.

Years after I drew this cartoon, I worked in a project where we regularly had a burndown chart that looked liked the one below.
Hardly anything was delivered to testers until shortly before the sprint ended. We were thrown a huge bunch of completed tasks over the wall.

You might guess what happened next. Some testers felt the deadline pressure, too, hence probably didn't really accurate testing anymore and simply closed the tasks after a very quick and dirty smoke test (if at all); and all this just just to look great in front of the PM or to however one had to present the results. That's what obviously happened here. Dare those who work with testers who give a shit on deadlines and simply send back for rework all your half-baked features.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Rainy Spring Season

I have to apologize. This is the second cartoon in sequence without a direct relationship to my daily work as QA manager. Actually, there is a relationship, but it is not so obvious. I promise, the next cartoon will be again more focusing to IT again.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Testing the Count Down

We had this announcement where the big boss stated that he would give us 90 days to change. OK, but change what? No satisfying answer was given to us when we asked what exactly they wanted us to change. So we continued doing our jobs as professional as always and I can tell you, we all worked very hard for the success of the company and to make our customers happy. Some of us even got a daily email with a reminder saying "80 days left", "79 days left"...etc. After the 90 days were expired, nothing happened. At least, we didn't notice anything and the emails had stopped.

I have no idea what was the original purpose of this announcement and the following up emails and I doubt that professinoal engineers can be impressed by such statements. Anyhow, this story inspired me for the cartoon, but if you are a software developer or test engineer then you probably draw a relation to a typical situation in software development.

A funny fact in programming is that arrays start at index 0 and not 1 for many popular programming languages (eg. C++,C#, Java, Perl, JavaScript) and the last position in the array is indexed as Array-length minus 1. This fact sometimes causes troubles and confusion and it isn't a rare scenario where developers introduce bugs because of that.

Consider the following piece of code which would cause the program to skip the first element of a list. It starts reading at position 1 (which is actually the second) instead of 0.

The correct code assigns variable i with value zero.

OK, so what? Blackbox testers usally don't look into the code of developers but you can see such patterns if you compare the total number of items in a list with the total number of found items stated in the header of a list. For example, you believe the label "100 items found", but when you count the items you see only 99.

For those who are curious why programmers start counting at 0 and not 1 I have the following explanation. In C, the name of an array is essentially a pointer (reference to a memory location), and so the expression sListElements[i] refers to a memory location i-elements away from the starting element. This means that the index is used as an offset. The first element of the array is exactly contained in the memory location that array sListElements refers (0 elements away), so it should be denoted as sListElements[0].

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Bugs at the bar

I must admit, the cartoon is still in kind of a draft mode, since you still see the outline of the pencil.., I will correct that later.

Friday, January 1, 2016

After Lunch Atop a Skyscraper

The original picture showing construction workers sitting at lunch at the RCA building was created in September 29, 1932. Many parodies exist and here is yet another one, 84 years later, although I must add that this photo here was shot by myself from the Empire State Building in 1997. You can see its shadow. The birds were drawn at Sylvester 2015/2016 and the only "stolen" part here is the structural steel work and the cable on the right.
And what does this have to do with TESTING? Nothing, but these 11 testers mark my QA team spread all over the world, and although they are sitting high above ground, they've got wings and I hope they use them to overcome all following challenges and ups and downs we may face in this new year 2016.