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.

Funky tester

People getting into testing now, are having an easier job – not least because there is a lot more discussion and information around the benefits of testing. And a general acceptance that testing has lagged behind modern development approaches, to extent it was covered in other ways. Continue reading

Never underestimate the power of coincidence

Coincidences are noted after the event, not before

When projects go well, people immediately self-congratulate on the project process, that delivered so well. Our lives are a series of coincidences, that we can choose to misread – either in some abstract form (this must mean something!), or to justify current course of action(s). A project that has done well, may well fall into this category – in IT, we often mistake luck or chance, as direct result of actions we have taken. But it is not so simple – when things go right, it is largely because of direction we have taken, no due to individual processes and/or actions. To analyse too far, is to end up in a downwards spiral of self-absorption.
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The idea here is that users describe characteristics of their search target, instead of relying entirely on content keywords. The easiest way to get an idea of what it is doing (or trying to do!) is search on your name/company and add 1 or more words to give it a little focus. For instance I searched on jaffamonkey qa, which generated result below.

Classipress Child Theme

UPDATE!(20/09/2011) Currently updating this child theme for classipress 3.1.4 compatibility. Numerous functional improvements around proximity searching, improved FB integration, autocompletion on City field, and georss feeds (great to quickly generate mashup maps). Contact me via email for further details, or via TwitterThis child theme will ready for release 30/09/2011


I recently completed a Classipress child theme, with extensive customisations. Built on WordPress, Classipress Theme, Googlemaps, and Facebook/Twitter API, and custom proximity search. It is a fully featured classified-based Classipresss child theme, with numerous features including:-

  • Compatible with Classipress 3.1+, including current 3.1.4 (updates continuously provided at no extra charge)
  • Customisable homepage
  • Search Results Page template (with result mashup map, with clickable markers)
  • Users can signup using their Facebook login (far better than the one with CP!)
  • CSS3 styled (less images required in design).
  • Uses Modernizer script, which allows for multiple browser compatibility with newer HTML5 and CSS3 features.
  • GeoRSS which means you can generate global mashup maps on the fly!
  • Addtional search result template
  • Customised improved form, with calendar selection.
  • Additional proximity search functionality, which you can choose to use instead of CP’s own.

Template works with both latest version of Classipress (v 3.1.4), and WordPress3.1+). Free upgrades to this theme with every new Classipress version.

Would suit any classifieds site and is perfectly geared any type of classifieds site, where location/proximity are important factors. This system is easily customised (by either yourselves or us). And can be easily adapted for real estate, hotel, or holiday site.

Check out the current demo at http://storeitlocal.com, as (in WordPress-speak) a picture is worth a thousand words 🙂 Out of the box price is $50 (no licence limitations). Customisations can be done, charged on per hour basis.

Contact for payment details and link

Waterscrum & Scrummerfall

These two terms have been around a few years – largely to describe what was happenning within companies trying (or struggling) to adopt Agile/SCRUM into their software development process. “Scrummerfall” was negative term conied by Brad Wilson in 2006, to describe when waterfall was embedded in SCRUM methodology.

“[Scrummerfall] This often manifests in what I call the One-Two-One pattern: one week of design, two weeks of coding, one week of test and integration.”

Notice glaring omissions such a project plan, business acceptance? This is result of people clinging on to old ways of doing things, resisting change with no logic beyond not wanting change.

Waterscrum is a more positive term, as it addresses what Agile/SCRUM nods to, but not fully integrated into the overall project management. Business Acceptance was part and parcel of Waterfall – the advantage of Waterfall was fixed periodic review points – gateways of approval that HAD to be performed.

“[Waterscrum] refers to the notion of using Scrum as a process in an organization that uses waterfall-based checkpoints to manage risk.”

One of my main whinges about Agile, is largely down to assumption of engagement from business, which in reality is largely management adopting the buzzwords, then never turning up for Sprint meetings or “Show ‘n Tell” sessions, then complaining a lot further down the line that they didnt get what they wanted. Now Waterfall wasn’t perfect – it was a slow process in comparison, but the business objective benchmarks were very clear, as was testing remit. I wouldn’t advocate Waterscrum as general method, but ideal maybe for larger companies/corporations who are inherently slow to change and adapt. And also a lot easier environments for projects to get lost with nobody noticing. The misconcpetion of Agile amongst the business is that adopting these methodoliges that have been sold hard, somehow means everything will be OK. It won’t – the process of acceptance is the same, but in Agile/SCRUM it demands even MORE time from the business not less.

Agile can be scary for some, as it forces you to admit you don’t know everything. But every developer and tester knows that is the way to learn, improve and adapt. Unfortunately business has not moved as quickly with the times, in software development. The ability to provide the appearance of control is a fast track to upper management. How many times have you heard senior managers saying things like “It will be OK, they are working Agile now”. Cue sighs of relief from a bunch of people who could not even list basic Agile principles. A lot of business is strategic subterfuge, and politics. But to do this in software is perilous, if what you actually want is software that works and does what either the business or the client wants. Software is tangible evidence of failure that business politics cannot brush over easily.

It is easy to forget that the origins of Agile and SCRUM were not geared for large scale projects, or projects with overbearing business drivers. They originated from XP (Extreme Programming), which in turn evolved from open source development (small teams, working in intense fashion).

Protect us from pointless causes

19a-17_woman-big415I am getting a little sick of people chasing ridiculous rights.  Though obhorrent to be beaten up for being fat (though i agree with comments that there is probably more to this story – bleedin’ media!), running a campaign to follow a US city’s example, and introducing ludicrous rules to accommodate fat people is way overboard.  Medical conditions aside (and they are a very small percentage), being fat is result of not moving around enough to shift the calories you are intaking.  And these fat grown-ups are unfortunately producing fat children (who are subjected to the same poor diet, and lack of movement)  My favourite comment on this story sums it up for me …

“You have the right to be fat, the right to be sick, depressed and unhappy. You don’t need a law to do that. The question is why would you want to be?” MF, London

To suggest that restaurants, pubs clubs are obligated to accommodate obese people is a very sad joke.  The abuse is disgusting, but I am the same as most people on the tubes in the morning – ocassionally cursing the person who takes up 3 peoples worth of space.  Instead of putting so much energy fighting for your rights, put that effort into not being fat – it is unhealthy you know!

Protect us from abuse, says woman beaten for being fat | News