• 09 Sep 2013

    A positive approach to quality management – Keep it simple!

    Another year has gone by and we have regained our ISO 9001:2008 certification!!

    Within the first quarter of the new year I was filled with apprehension as my thoughts return once again to the looming ISO audit in May.... ekk..... why does it come round so quickly..... must be something to do with my age, but time does seem to gallop by at an alarming rate these days. No sooner has the certificate plopped onto the door mat it seems like we are off again preparing for the next review.

    Although the process is a continual one throughout the year the inevitable happens and the paper work and systems need updating to reflect the numerous changes that have gone on. Sleepless nights, endless paper work and numerous meetings to review return and the inevitable deluge of last minute panics ensue.  I must say that despite the pressure that any audit....even ...

    Category:
    • Quality Assurance
  • 03 Sep 2013

    Severity vs Priority – Get Triaging

    This topic is frequently discussed in blogs, with a great many variations on what is right and wrong, the pitfalls, and assumptions.

    In brief, the severity of a defect is extremely hard to identify unless the cause of the symptom has been fully explored and implications considered on a wider level.  Severity is very subjective; for who is the symptom severe?  How frequently? What are the risks to data, security, reputation etc.?  How can severity be fully determined by looking at a symptom?  A severe symptom may require a very easy low risk fix, or a minor looking symptom may actually be masking an extremely damaging cause that has dire consequences elsewhere.

    Priority is simply identifying which defects should be fixed or investigated in which order, but according to whose needs? 

    The key issue is the Triage process.

    A tester or developer may raise the defect on a tracking system ...

    Category:
    • Testing
  • 19 Aug 2013

    The importance of version control when releasing software

    All good software development suites have mechanisms for effectively controlling versions through development.  However, when software is released to the customer it is crucial that the version of any given software can be easily identified.  Versions are often displayed on the front end of software, making it easy to identify for any user or support party.  However, there are inherent problems with this; is the display of the version correct? Is the updating of the display a manual process open to error?  I have seen and rectified situations where well meaning procedures are set up whereby version numbers for deliverables are documented in release notes, but then either not displayed on the front end or procedure relies on the customer to update the display of the version number, most notably with CMS web solutions.

    There can be no substitute for having version control automated and written within application files.  If ...

    Category:
    • Testing
  • 12 Aug 2013

    Tips on customer demonstrations during software development (Part 2)

    This blog post is a continuation of the original post with the title: 

    Tips on customer demonstrations during software development (Part 1)

    Preparation

    It is crucial that you know the functionality that you are demonstrating very well.  If you don’t, then it’s better to have someone else do the demo.  If you do not have confidence in showing people around a functional area then you clearly send signals to the customer that they should not have confidence in the deliverable and/or development team.  This may sound obvious but in an agile arena especially, you may not have had much time with the functionality before the customer gets their first glimpse.  A demo should be well structured, planned and rehearsed.  If you are not in the position of being able to answer technical questions resulting from the demo then ensure a suitably qualified colleague is.  Arrange for notes to be taken ...

    Category:
    • Testing
  • 05 Aug 2013

    Tips on customer demonstrations during software development (Part 1)

    Having been involved in Software testing and UAT support for over a decade I have often found myself in the position of giving a demonstration to the customer. Be it at the end of an 18 months waterfall project or 2 weeks into an agile sprint, the importance of getting a demo right cannot be under-estimated. But what makes a good demonstration? This is the first part of a 2 blog series discussing the key fundamentals that I stick to.

    Test Data

    Developers and testers are very used to entering data that is a means to an end, where the content is not relevant.  And on some occasions, it has been known for us to entertain ourselves with amusing test data.  Not only may the customer not share your brand of humour, but more importantly, they are viewing the demo from a real world business perspective.  Therefore, extra care and ...

    Category:
    • Testing

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