Friday, 22 August 2008

Deja Vu

One of the sites that has recently made it to my bookmarks is The Daily WTF.
Reading it gives me a nice sense of job security...

One of the recent stories on there was an app that was running slowly due to a DB with no indexes or Primary keys

Same thing happened at my last company - a dev working on his own with not much DB experience, no senior guy reviewing his work and no performance testing ( that was what customers were for )

Customer complains the program runs like a dog, senior guy looks into the problem and rocks back and forth on his chair laughing like a maniac and pointing at the screen when he finds out the cause.

The small lesson learnt was that performance testing would be a good thing to do.

Another solution would have been to impose a formal code and design review.

However, the main lesson I learnt was about communication - if the senior guy had taken a moment and some interest in what the other person was doing it could have been picked up before it was shipped.

( and I wonder if a devious company could ship their DB like that and when the customer complains about the speed then perform the indexing, ship V2 and hey presto, great increase in speed and a happy customer.... )

Friday, 15 August 2008

Quality Testers Crisis ?

Some of the blogs I've been reading recently seem to have a common theme.
Over on SQABlogs, Peter Nairn was having trouble finding good testers.

Down under in Australia, Dean Cornish seems to be having exactly the same problem

Linda Wilkinson was also getting depressed with the resumes she was reading

Steve Rowe thought we needed a better way to test and in response James Bach thought we needed better testing bloggers ( here I am ! )

On the UK Test Management forums there was a topic posted wondering if there were enough testing resources to cope with the dark side of SOA

Last month I found another blog wondering about the state of the testing industry and thought we needed a better understanding where we came from
I provided him with a link to Lee Copelands Nine Forgettings talk - which as I pointed out in a previous blog is a talk he has been doing for at least the last 2 years

On the other hand, over in Austin there doesn't seem to be the same lack of resources and on TestingReflections Antony Marcano thinks the developer-tester-analyst roles are getting blurred and competency in all three will be required.

From my personal experience as a developer I found it hard to break into the testing industry but persistence paid off.

Interesting times to be a tester for sure

Monday, 11 August 2008

Testing at the Speed of Light

Two contrasting reads for me this morning

First I read that the Large Hadron Collider Begins Testing - subatomic particles smashing into each other at virtually the speed of light creating between 600 million and 1 billion collisions each second.
I'd love to see the test plan, test cases and test data for that beast !

The stats are just mindblowing - as are the pictures of the machinery involved, some awesome ones can be seen here

Then I read the latest entry of QA Hates You ( 'hate' is such a strong word though ) with yet more examples of how small details are missed out.

Seems we can track 1 billion subatomic particles travelling at 186000 miles a second but checking for a missing 'www' is too hard...

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Forgotten the forgettings ?

The agenda for the next BCS SIGIST in September has been announced.

The opening keynote is by Lee Copeland - "The Nine Forgettings"

It's a really good talk, I know because I saw him do it at the SIGIST in September 2006

Does this mean that Lee is short of material ?
I doubt it, I'm sure he could talk for a week and not repeat himself

Could it be that the message is still valid 2 years on and nothing has really changed since then ?

I know which my money is on.

If you can't make it to the event then a video of it is here

( or a PowerPoint can be found here )

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Cabbages and Kings

On the BA site, if you decide to register then you are presented with a plethora of options for the title you can choose from
Admiral, Air Vice Marshal, Crown Prince, Her Majesty, His Holiness, Marquis, President...

Now I don't mix in such circles but I'm finding it hard to picture a Crown Princess logging in and entering her email address and choosing a password. Perhaps they do, if anyone can enlighten me then please do so.

It did make me wonder where the list came from - was it really a spec to have all of these or was it the developers adding some gold plating ? Or having a joke ?

There's no consistency between the airline sites, the Crown Princess wouldn't be able to use her title on the American Airlines site but AA does offer the options of Speaker and Swami which BA lacks. AA also offers a 'Eur Eng', BA offers a 'Eur Ing'

Just plain old Mr for me

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Community Service

No, I haven't been in trouble with the law and been sentenced to do some time serving the community.

I have been giving something back to the tester community and trying to repay the help I got when I was making the career change from developer to tester.

I'm now helping Rosie Sherry with the Software Testing Club, it has been running for a while and recently the numbers have been increasing rapidly so she needed some help. I try to keep the signal to noise ratio high and make sure the request for ISEB materials and one line vague general questions dont get in the way of interesting discussions.

The Club also has a group on LinkedIn and this has a regular supply of new members that need approving with the occasional spammer that needs removing.

It has made me wonder what all these tester are looking for though. Only a very small proportion of the members join in or start discussions - unless there's a free Fail Whale T-shirt to be won in which case everyone wants to join in.

Also met up with four London based testers via SQA Forums, nice to put faces to names and swap stories about bugs