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Showing posts from October, 2015

Euro Stars Oft Ware Testing

If you give yourself some space you can usually find another perspective. I'm British, and so European, but wouldn't call myself a star and I rarely look at warez these dayz.  I am speaking at EuroSTAR next week, though: . Image:

Practitioner Makes Imperfect

I love listening to people who know and care about something and can communicate both that knowledge and emotion in an accessible way, without patronising and without compromising the message. In the tweetstream  GeePaw Hill Riffs on MVC ,  Dave Rooney captures Michael D. Hill  talking about the Model-View-Controller  pattern for system architecture but also about the dangers of rigid adherence to such things and how expertise and experience will build on and blur and bend any theory to suit the context. One extract: [Experienced developers] have ... seen enough solution-variety to realize 3 key insights.  first, "there's no one way". or if there is we don't have it. that's key because it frees the mind.  second, "code tells you". that is, the code is the best & most direct expression of the design, and as such reveals its merit or lack.  third, "it never ends." code is never done, always in progress, always *changing*. we

Own Goals

We're used to talking about delivering what the stakeholders want (or perhaps what they need, to the extent that we or they understand either). You'd generally hope to find at least one stakeholder engaged directly in a project - if not, it's likely doomed - and sometimes more. These stakeholders are known, their role is clear, perhaps a Product Owner and domain expert, and they are given the opportunity to state their requirements in some way. And if they aren't, the project is probably still doomed. Some stakeholders exert little influence even when directly engaged. They are present and visible but quiet, or even silent. (Often until quite late on when they reveal that they really wanted something else and, at this point, the project is doomed.) The reasons for this are many and varied and include that they are shy, they are out of their depth, they suffer from impostor syndrome, they don't get on with someone else on the team, they doubt the value of the p

What Did You Expect?

On a whim, with hardly any forethought and with even less expectation that it'd turn up some gold, at the last Cambridge Lean Coffee I asked whether it was possible to quantify user experience and whether any of the testers there had tried. Some of the things you'd expect were suggested, including A/B testing, wireframes, and putting the thing in front of a handful of tame users. Of those only A/B testing quantifies in any meaningful, statistical sense (the other approaches described were essentially qualitative) but has a significant flaw in that possessing the data about user behaviour without understanding the intent behind it is only half the story. To the extent that I'd given it any consideration as I walked to the meeting that day, what I'd been wondering about was the possibility of rating a design before it gets in front of users. There are many toolkits that provide sets of components to be used in building a user interface and it might be reasonable

Food for Thought

I've had a nice reaction to Only Kidding , a post about how I try to help my kids experience wonder, take control and look for scope in the world around them. So here's something else that we've been doing recently which I like to think is fun, thought-provoking and stimulates creative problem solving. I'll say something like this to them: I've got a problem; I'm on one side of the river and all my toys are on the other. I want to get to my toys ... but the only thing I've got to help me is food . It's always food. And then it's on them to come up with suggestions. Answers to that one included: make a raft out of breadsticks glued together with Nutella throw bread into the river until it absorbs all of the water make a dam out of sausages use half an Easter egg as a ladle to empty the river throw piles of chocolate into the river and use them as stepping stones We've established a few conventions as we've played, for exampl

Cambridge Lean Coffee

Yesterday's Cambridge Lean Coffee  was hosted by Chris George  at Cambridge Consultants . Here's a brief note on the topics that made it to discussion in the group I was in. Can you quantify usability? Do you try? different for specialist, small-scale products vs consumer, large-scale products? do you really want quantification?  Is Design Metrically Opposed? Rocket Surgery Made Easy suggestions included  a/b testing, putting design or prototype in front of users How to manage bug backlogs alongside sprints? very dependent on the context you're working in don't separate the bugs and other stories the tester should be trying to illuminate knowledge of the product ... including project risks (like two managers with different goals) to the product What makes you laugh when you're testing? the discovery of the unexpected thing that exposes assumptions were made ... examples included a configuration option which was only used in reporting the