Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2013

Isn't it Knobvious?

One of my favourite posts of all time, on one of my favourite blogs of all time, is Customer-Driven Knob  at Abakas . Its message: don't expose a control to the customer unless (a) it is motivated by a customer requirement rather than an implementation detail or flaw and (b) it is clear that the customer could make an informed choice about its use. The Dev Manager has been alerted to its existence on more than one occasion and this week he showed that he does occasionally listen to what I say by pointing me at Checkboxes that kill your product  by Alex Limi, who does Product Design Strategy at Mozilla . It starts: Firefox ships with many options that will render the browser unusable to most people, right in the main settings ui. and it ends What about the product that you are building? Is it time to take a fresh look at what kind of options you include?  I think we all know the answer to that. Image:


A good report is knowledge shared clearly, correctly, comprehensively, consistently and concisely . As testers, we spend a lot of our time dealing with reports that lack some or all of those and it should be important to us professionally, and also in our selfish interests, to maximise the signal/noise ratio of our own writing. But it's easy to forget to think about it and even when reviewing reports before submission it's easy to not notice issues, given the full context of the situation is usually uppermost in the mind at the time. Here's a few of the common traps I've fallen (and fall) into: "In a meeting it was decided that we should ..." Meeting with who?  Were there alternatives, are there minutes to link to? "It all goes wrong", "It just doesn't work" In what way, what do you see, why is that unhelpful? "It is not possible to ..." Are you sure? Just what did you do to try to make it happen? "We observe A,

Signal Failure

Flicking through a blog the other day, I was impressed by the author's insight, the breadth of material, his interest in the semantics, theory and practice of testing. I chuckled at the sense of humour and I adored the modesty and humility he displayed. And then I noticed that of the seven images I could see on the blog's front page three ( 1 , 2 , 3 ) were record sleeves. I was distracted by this, my train of thought moving away from the content and onto the relevance of my observation and speculation about the author's interests: is it significant that there are so many record sleeves here? Will I have a look at the archives to see what images were used there? Is this chap a record collector? Are these records personal favourites? Why is he using images on every post, anyway? What value do they add? What was this blog about, again? And then I remembered that it was my blog  and that I had started off scanning for typos. The signal I was giving out, from an aggr