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Showing posts from October, 2013

How-abouts and What-ifs

Happenstance. Ideally, I wouldn't have been reading two books at once. But I'd already started the one when the Dev manager chucked the other onto my desk as he stalked past, wild-eyed from some meeting, en route to the kitchen for a caffeine salve to the throbbing vein in his forehead. Intrigued (with the book not the vein, I've seen that plenty of times now), I started flicking through it, got hooked and then alternated between it and my own over the next few days, seeing the connections that both made to the, ah, idea that ideas (or lack of them) can be a problem. The Dev manager's book , Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, talks about consequences of an insufficient grasp of potential outcomes. Taleb's domain is financial markets and the instruments that populate them and he attributes the false confidence of many traders - and the population at large, by generalisation - to a lack of understanding of first possible scenarios and second the abil

Plain as a Pikestaff

Honestly? I usually find non-fiction books hard work but I'm reading The Complete Plain Words like a thriller (see also Long Time Gone ). I've only just started but I love quotes like these on clarity: What appears to be a sloppy or meaningless use of words may well be a completely correct use of words to express sloppy or meaningless ideas.  Mistiness is the mother of safety. We need to choose the right words to make our position clear. If we don't, the words will make clear our position. Image:   Sounds: If I Could Only Remember My Name  

Migrate Idea

Of course (of course!) we were delighted to be asked to provide test support for an internal project which was upgrading an important and widely-used application and rationalising the data associated with it. Of course (of course!) the many application instances are intended to be standardised but, despite best efforts to be consistent, over time we've built up a load of special cases, workarounds, emergency patches and so on, all of which make this kind of migration task more difficult. Of course (of course!) the deadline was both close and ambitious but there was enough time for us start to write automation to obtain a client-side view of the data and configuration on each instance (via an API) to provide an initial audit and then agree policy for migration with the various stakeholders based on that. We then extended the test code to generate an expectation of the equivalent client-side view for each server on its migrated instance which we'd check (via equivalent API)

Reclaim the Bleets

I have seen the look in a colleague's eye: "blah blah tester bleating on again". I have read a series of very short blog posts by Michael Bolton. Between a blog and a tweet. Blog. Tweet. Blog/tweet. Blogtweet. Bleet. Bleet? Bleet! I have a dream of testers blurting bleets with a tool called Blitter (or is Bitter better?) in, ooh, just 512 characters. I have a feeling that it wasn't implemented in this iteration. I see DIY bleets in blogs instead! I say: Testers, let's bleet ! Image: P.S. Other attempts to portmanteau blog & tweet .

Do the Right Thing

80-20 is greaty-plenty in implementation. If a good 80 is chosen. (And it gets implemented in the 20.) A good 80 is probably a consistent 80. An 80 that hangs together. An 80 that delivers benefit. An 80 that doesn't just happen to be a collection of the bits of the right thing that it's hoped will take 20 to build. When you're working on an 80/20 project, also look for an 80 that won't detract from what's already there and render the result of the 20 no more than a non-eventy. Image: