It’s not like the good old QA days …

I am starting to think those of us who grumble about misuse of term “QA” (Quality Assurance) are maybe in the realms of grumpy old men/women. I now beginning to realise that yes, people use the term far too loosely without thinking it through. But more is expected of the tester these days, than simply testing – and those expectation do fall within the realm of Quality Assurance. Quality Assurance and Testing used to be distinct areas, though testing came under the overall remit of a QA manager, as it’s a quality gateway task. Continue reading

Steampunk testing

Sex sells, that is a stock sales phrase, and it works – regardless of male/female, heterosexual/gay, we can all succumb to something that appeals to our passion side.  In testing?  Well, the technology world has transformed away from the realm of socially defective loners, to must-have accessory to your life. Most of what is sold, of course, we don’t need.  When fashion entered tech, it trivialised it as well as using it very effectively, for sales and marketing. Continue reading

Quality Assurance

Let me set something straight. Quality Assurance (QA) is about improving the process that is used to create the end result. In other words (in software development) the project lifecycle and all it’s inherent processes. The wikipedia defintion is not that bad, so there is no excuse for rebranding of QA as purely about testing (though testing processes do come under QA remit). To misunderstand what Quality Assurance probably means you don’t really understand what testing is about either. In other words, leave it to the experts. I realise saying we need to QA this product sound vaguely more exciting than we need to test this product. Reason being is that most people don’t get what it is anyway. Mysterious – hence, cooler.

Consultant or Consultancy?

Why choose a consultant over a consultancy? I operate as an individual consultant, with multiple skills, and extensive network. I can provide my consultancy alone, or if needs be, utilise my network and partnerships to widen the skills and resources I can provide from a client. This is all on an as needs basis.

As an individual, I am more motivated to streamline bloated or ineffective QA processes. Many companies I deal with cannot afford entire teams, not need pragmatic measures, not expensive ideals. As an individual, I am more transparent in my actions and behaviour. If more resource is needed, it will be justified. If additional tools are needed, then I will demonstrate and promote them, not just fill in a request form.

A consultancy has people to retain, and a full business to run. If they don’t have resource, they will usually bring a contractor on board, who flies the consultancy banner. Because they sell themselves as an entire Quality Assurance and testing company, you can be guaranteed on a instant price hike from outset. Once established, they won’t want to leave, unless they have to. The nature of consultancies is create paranoia that you aren’t doing everything you need to.

The question is are you going to put your faith in a consultancy, where resources and longevity are primary motive. Or the consultant, and one who is driven by new ideas, desire to learn and is adept at approaching even the most budget-tight projects with positivity and pragmatism.

I ask this question, at the risk of also being a “fear pedlar”, but I hope, in more positive fashion. Are you looking for someone who tells you what you want to hear, or someone who tells you what you are afraid to hear?

Are we there yet?

You Are My Bot

Since when did programming language become a fashionable label? I mean, its all code and approach; no magic wands.

With all the meetups and new course the development world is buzzing with activity. But something strangely familiar and stagnant about it already. Meetups preaching largely to the converted, numerous testing and development courses that attempt to each sell themselves as THE course, older school who don’t want to move forward themselves but latch onto modern thinking as a sales and money-generating tool. The early-birds, which save you little except committing to something you may not even be able to make. Oh yes, mix with the higher echelons of technology and define your future. Though you are not defining yours, you are defining theirs. And you think the web 2.0 mentality has gone – “how can I make you make me money?”. Whether Google+ or a well-meaning group set up for enthusiasts of a particular area of technology – ultimately the individual will pay the price for a small section of people’s success, because the entire model of professional networking is wrong.

You Are My BotFinally, I am moving jaffamonkey away from simply a contractor company, and starting a “hub” of my own focused on my two areas of Quality Assurance and WordPress. Though I have to be cautious about labels such as “fashion-free” and “no Nathan Barleys”, as it is easy to slip into an ironic kudos area. But this is very much what I want from it. Take a look at Shoreditch, home to the beautiful people of technology, where Google has set up a base. There is nothing special here – people with ideas are everywhere, but because of the vacuous recent movements in technology (putting it in the realms for those who wish to affiliate rather than integrate), there are many very weak ventures of little use to anyone except those who benefit from short-term gains. Sounding familiar? Are newer generations simply getting trapped in same patterns as those they purport to rebel against? Of course they are.

When things move into a fashion zone, they automatically become part of something that is ultimately disposable. The fashion-ability determines its duration. Little consideration is made of the technology or approaches, and rarely shared. What underpins software is code, and code has evolved slowly in comparison with everything else and with good reason. It ultimately has to work, and lessons learnt over the decades have evolved to the point we are now. But now, people carry their programming language(s) like some kind of fashion badge. When it’s irrelevant. Instead of nodding towards vacuous networking, pro-actively mix with other people. You can always find an audience who will agree with anything you say. But finding a vibrant audience with questions, opinions and disagreements is far more valuable. The new “hub” will be open soon, and focus on enabling and connecting people. Not all ideas may succeed. but they can all help with our education in an atmosphere of mutual support and communication. Watch the blog …

Change is a good as a rest

Web Design

Though still happy in my field of Quality Assurance, I have decided to use my skills in other areas, building a WordPress website design and hosting service. Assisting me in this venture is prolific web designer and artist, Claudia Feigk.  WordPress has long been a favourite of mine, and I have done extensive development and integration work on various WordPress projects. I have always made efforts to improve technical and programming skills, so WordPress seemed a natural choice as basis for a business idea.

We are a start-up with several pieces of work in pipeline, and a couple deployed.  What you can be assured with is that our pricing model is very fair, as we follow an approach of using open source, so what you paying for is development time.  This makes the whole process a lot clearer for the client.  They are paying for a product by skills.  This frees them up to take any future options they want regards further development and support. Established open source provides great platforms to develop products.